Beer is best served cold, but not too cold that it affects its flavor and not too warm that it tips the bitterness balance.
“Serve the beer at the right temperature, ideally 6-9 degrees Celsius. Beyond that will outweigh the balance of the bitterness, going lower can numb your tongue and the taste will not come out as good as it would at 6-9 degrees,” advised Alan Sienes, brewmaster at the largest beer producer in the country, San Miguel Beer.
But warm weather and changing temperatures can be a challenge for both the drinker and the host to enjoy and serve beer at its best flavor, so many Filipinos’ solution is to add ice, which Sienes does not recommend unless “you have no choice”. “Chill the beer before you drink it,” he suggested.
“These beers,” he said, “were perfectly blended so the serving temperature gives you the best experience. It might change if you put ice; you’re also diluting the beer.”
San Miguel Foods Culinary Center (SMFCC), together with Sienes and other food and drinks experts from Ginebra San Miguel, Inc. (GSMI) and Wine Brothers Philippines, offered during a virtual event food pairing suggestions and tips for home entertaining in the holiday season.
Explore and experiment with flavors
“Holiday home entertaining is a good activity to be enjoyed once again with family and friends within a bubble of safety,” said SMFCC head Chef Llena Tan-Arcenas. “Entertaining should not be difficult, all you need is good quality dishes matched with good quality drinks.”
Drinks highlighted, of course, included San Miguel beers – particularly Cerveza Negra, Super Dry, and Premium All-Malt Beer – to showcase how “beer generally matches with all kinds of food”. SMFCC and GSMI also introduced the next best thing in gin – the new 1834 Premium Distilled Gin made with classic juniper berries infused with calamansi and Sampaguita flower.
Dishes, meanwhile, featured San Miguel Foods’ brands Magnolia, Purefoods, and Monterey.
For the five-course food pairing, Chef Viboy Miranda of SMFCC played with contrasting and complementary flavors to bring out the best in each dish.
“The balance of flavor is important,” said Chef Viboy. “Combining different flavors will level up your food game – [for example] salty and sweet complements acidic flavors, salty and sweet tempers bitterness, creamy food tempers spiciness.”
Food pairings to try
Starting off the five-course meal presented were pintxos paired with San Miguel Super Dry. The pintxos were made of crostinis with two kinds of spreads: Cheese and Pimiento made with Magnolia Milky White Cheezee Spread and topped with Magnolia Milky White Cheese and green olives, and Roasted Garlic Butter made with Magnolia Gold Butter and topped with Purefoods Chorizo Bilbao Style.
“A clean, crisp flavor profile like San Miguel Super Dry tends to complement bold and complex flavors well,” according to SMFCC.
Ginebra San Miguel Premium Gin was paired with Cream Cheese and Spinach Tortellini Style in Beetroot Beurre Blanc Sauce made with Magnolia Gold Butter, Magnolia Full Cream Milk, red onion, beetroot, and Ginebra San Miguel Premium Gin.
The second dish was accompanied with Sweet Lemony Martini – one of Ginebra San Miguel Premium Gin’s classic cocktail recipes that GSMI’s mixologist Tabitha Rice made using gin, lemon juice, simple syrup, and ice.
Chef Viboy’s Gin Chicken Confit on Squash-Potato Mash and Balsamic Drizzled Green Pea Puree was served with Woomera Sauvignon Blanc, a light and vibrant wine, which winemaker Mike Davies said was a good fit for the Philippines’ hot and humid weather. Speaking of weather and temperature and putting ice in your drinks, Davies recommends drinking white wines at 5-12 degrees Celsius and red wines at cooler than room temperature.
The light herbal notes from the chicken marinade (1834 Premium Distilled Gin and a blend of herbs and spices) is best highlighted by a dry wine with a similar light and delicate flavor profile.
Different flavors came together in SMFCC’s Mini Beef Wellington paired with the 1834 G&T (gin and tonic) cocktail.
The dish was made of baked Monterey Beef Tenderloin covered in a layer of Purefoods Honeycured Bacon and mushroom duxelles wrapped in a golden puff pastry. It was served on a bed of greens and beer gravy, made with San Miguel Super Dry and Magnolia All Purpose Flour. Cutting through the intense mushroom flavor and salt from the bacon was Rice’s gin and tonic with dried ginger slices and peppercorns.
Finishing off the meal was the rich and sweet combination of Moist Chocolate Cake in Sweet Red Dark Ganache and Cerveza Negra – a decadent brew that features a unique caramel flavor that becomes more apparent when paired with desserts. The cake was made using Magnolia’s Devil’s Food Cake Mix infused with Woomera’s Sweet Red Wine.