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Perfect Pairings

The fine art of beer and food


Pairing food and booze in ways that complement the flavors of both is an age-old art. Books and online guides offer hundreds of pages of tips for pairing a wine or beer with a meal, and even beginner sommeliers study intensively for months and shell out thousands for their training.

For those whose palates gravitate away from fermented fruit and toward a cold brew, Boise's growing trend in beer dinners slake both thirst and hunger.

Sheila Francis, director of marketing and events at Payette Brewing Company, has helped pair Payette's beers with fare from restaurants and food trucks across the Treasure Valley.

"We're doing more and more," she said. "It's definitely something we're working to add more of."

Brian Garrett, owner of Saint Lawrence Gridiron, has hosted several such dinners at Payette. In one of them, each course of the meal was made with a Payette beer.

"Our suggestion was, if they wanted to drink the beer that was in the food it would be a good complement," Garrett said. Boise restaurants, like the Front Door Northwest Pizza and Tap House and Red Feather Lounge, regularly offer dinners with suggested beer pairings. The key to a good pairing, Francis said, is balancing flavors in the food and the beer served with it.

For example, your IPAs are going to have more of a hop flavor, so if you pair that with something spicy, it'll kind of amp it up, which is pretty great," she said.