Arvid Bergström is a respected writer, cook and beer sommelier. His love of cooking and flavours was evident from an early age. When he was just seven years old, he was already at home in the kitchen, and a few years later, he was regularly cooking for his whole family. Not long after, he started cooking for larger groups and began working in professional kitchens. In his student days, he gained a reputation for his knowledge and passion for beers and friends would often ask him for advice. He knew what they liked and he was able to find them the right beer and style of beer.
‘The Beer Connoisseur'
In his book ‘The Beer Connoisseur’, he combines 36 mainly Dutch and Belgian beers with 36 dishes. His main goal is to provide guidance about pairing beer with food, and to raise awareness of the possibilities. Bergström also works as a chef at the Kompaan Brewery and teaches at the Netherlands Beer Education Foundation.
Tasting beer with food
Arvid Bergström is noticing that beer is increasingly becoming part of the menu, both at home and in professional kitchens. Arvid says, “We are still in the early days, but in my work as a cook, I see that around 10% of my customers have already started thinking about how beer and food can be combined. Another 10% are open to the idea, and the rest are not there yet. But I think this is taking off rapidly. The more progressive breweries have already started thinking about food pairing and make suggestions about how to combine beer flavours and meals on their packaging. My main advice to brewers would be to actually taste their beers with food. Food pairing will continue to play an increasingly important role, and to me that seems like a fantastic opportunity for the brewing industry.”
Beer and KeyKeg
“For me, the green aspect of KeyKeg is great,” says Bergström. “KeyKeg is also very good for the beer. It protects the beer well, both before and during serving, and it minimizes the risk of contamination. The inner bag also protects it against light. All in all, this is sustainable packaging which stores the beer in a way that master brewers would approve of, and it’s fit for the best beers in the world.”
Finally, Arvid Bergström is happy to provide a few tips for food pairing:
1. The flavour intensity of the beer should match the flavour intensity of the dish.
Otherwise one will dominate the other.
2. Bear in mind the rules of combining the basic elements of flavour: sweet, sour,
salty, bitter and umami. Basically, most flavours go well together. For
example, sweet with sweet and umami with sweet. But take care with
combining sour and sour, and always taste combinations involving bitter!
3. Finally, search for flavour nuance. If there is a cinnamon flavour in the beer,
find a dish that cinnamon goes well with or that has a little bit of cinnamon in it.
Then you can create a beautiful flavour explosion. Building up the flavour
intensity is very important. You don’t go straight in with a Russian Imperial
Stout. Taste it to see what works! Tasting is the key! Following these basic
rules, you can achieve a lot.