Stout, porter and other malt-driven beers are long-time companions for oysters – the sweet notes offsetting the briny sharpness of the shellfish. Equally they can be matched with desserts, but don’t have a chocolately beer with a chocolate dessert – they will cancel out each other and the beer will taste too bitter. Stout and porter also go well with richer foods like a BBQ lamb shoulder right through to an after-dinner plate of cheese.
The range of malt-driven beers in the Top 30 takes you on quite a journey. The caramel and toasty flavours and rousing bitterness of Townshend’s Sutton Hoo Amber Ale can offset the lovely char in barbecued burgers, ribs or sausages. On the other end of the spectrum, the slightly smoky and richly sweet Renaissance Stonecutter Scotch Ale can handle more spice and extra richness that you’d find in Moroccan-spiced butterflied lamb. Treat the complex, richly chocolate Sawmill Baltic Porter as an after-dinner variation on port and serve with a creamy vanilla dessert or a cheese platter. The hoppy India Stout from Boneface, aptly named The Darkness, will handle most foods in the same way as a rich red wine like shiraz. Go steak and pepper sauce.