Why amber ale is the perfect beer pairing for braai food

Find out why the guys from Beer Country love this style of beer.

25 Nov 2014
amber ale, beer

We LOVE beer. Not in in a sunflowers and puppies kinda way. It’s more of a GIVE-US-ALL-THE-BEERS-YOU-HAVE kinda way. Yup, this river of malted barley, water, hops and yeast runs way, way deep. From lagers and pilsners to ambers, stouts and IPAs, our well-oiled journey is a hop-fuelled rollercoaster hell-bent on uncovering South Africa’s best beers.

Our mission is to make sure you never again worry about picking the beer that may or may not start your eye twitching and have you growling like a grizzly gnawing on a cactus. Today we’re talking about my favourite beer - Amber Ale.

This is why

A great amber ale gives you a warm, fuzzy feeling in the depths of your soul. It’s like getting the girl and riding off into the sunset. These ales can be anything from light amber to deep red - a colour they get from the malted barley used in the mash. Lightly roasted or caramelised malts give you lighter colour ales, while the heavier malts start you on the path to the dark side.

It’s no joke when they say sugar and spice and all things nice, and ambers are chock-full of flavours from light caramel to burnt sugar. Throw a hop-profile on top of that, which can be anything from a tropical nectar kick to a citrus uppercut, and you have a knockout combo. American ambers tend to be hop-forward (aromatic, crisp and bitter) with a malty backbone, while the English versions put the warm malt profile front and center, which rounds the corners and makes for a slightly bitter finish.

Try ‘em like this

Ambers pair perfectly with most food cooked over the coals. But for some next-level beer pairing, try them with bon-fires on the beach, Johnny Clegg tunes or dusty Karoo landscapes! Yup, not only is it tasty, it’s versatile. As for the braai, I’d recommend some serious BBQ ribs, the kind that make your guests scream, “Holy smokey baby-backs Batman!” Wash ‘em down with a tasty amber and see how the sweet, roasted malts in the beer play perfectly with the thick, smoked caramelisation of the ribs.

Get ‘em here

These tasty beverages mean business while not taking themselves too seriously. Internationally they have names like: Ambergeddon, Red Hoptober, Fire & Blood, Ginger Twin, Red Rock and Hello-my-name-is-Amber. Locally get your hands on some excellent offerings like: Devil’s Peak Woodhead, Jack Black’s Lumberjack and Citizen Alliance to name a few.

Get your tickets to the Cape Festival of Beer NOW, and check out all the amazing beers under one roof. Alternatively, order a case or three online.

Homework assignment:

Round up a few mates, get your grubby paws on a bag of firewood, a rack or five of smokey BBQ ribs, and a solid selection of different amber ales. You know what to do next…

Beer-word of the week:

Mash: The first step in the brewing process, where milled grain (malted barley) and water is combined and heated in the Mash Tun, allowing the enzymes to convert the starches in the grains to sugars, and giving the liquid (called the Wort) it’s colour.

Written by: Beer Country, two of the thirstiest guys on the planet - Greg and Karl. Follow their fire-side journey as they crack open the brew culture of South Africa, discovering awesome beers and cooking great food along the way. This hoppy adventure is coming soon to a TV near you!


Read more on: beer


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