KILDARE BEER COLUMN: The art of pairing beer and food made simple in Sallins

Keeping it local

Judith and Susan Boyle


Judith and Susan Boyle


KILDARE BEER COLUMN: The art of pairing beer and food made simple in Sallins

Ballykilcavan Brewery food and drink pairings at Two Cooks in Sallins

Pairing great food and drinks is a fine art, but it doesn’t have to be complicated.

Ideally, you are looking for the elusive moment where eating and drinking together makes both the food and the drink taste like something else, something even better.

A truly harmonious pairing is more than the sum of its parts and can be almost impossible to find.

You can take solace that if you are following the golden rule of having something delicious in your glass and something delicious on your plate, you really won’t be disappointed.

Research from the University of Lisbon has shown that all food tastes better with an accompanying drink (in this study wine), and also that all wine tastes better with food.

We encourage food and drink experimentation. Beer is a brilliant drink with food. It has a vast array of flavours and textures, arguably more then wine which is essentially made only from grapes.

Beer can be made from different grains and flavoured with any number of hops or adjuncts.

The alcohol content of beer styles varies and there is the added bonus of carbonation which whooshes through the palate, readying it for the next delicious morsel.

Moreover, it’s easy to switch beers during a meal, as you are not making a commitment to a 750ml bottle.

Over the course of an evening, it’s possible to try a different beer with each course and see what works best for you.

Yet, beer has still to take its rightful place at the fine dining table. More often than not, wine lists are presented when sitting down to a meal, and the beer options are often neglected.

This is why we leapt at the chance to visit one of Kildare’s most acclaimed restaurants, Two Cooks in Sallins, for a beer-paired menu featuring Ballykilcavan Brewery’s beers.

Ballykilcavan’s beers are excellent. Their brews are deliciously drinkable.

Each beer is made from barley grown on their Laois farm, which is malted in Minch Malt in Athy.

Attention to detail and provenance runs through their beers from seed to glass.

We have very much enjoyed any of our previous visits to Two Cooks so we knew this would be a great combination.

The beer and food pairings were imaginative and very well considered

. Not only did the chosen beers make perfect accompaniments to the various courses, but the Ballykilcavan beers also featured as key ingredients in the dishes, such as oysters dressed with tapioca which had been soaked in pale ale.

It’s an absolute treat to have pairing decisions taken out of your hands and to be fully confident that you will be brought on a gastronomic journey.

Having no choice on a menu opens up possibilities that you otherwise may not have picked yourself and encourages diners to taste outside their comfort zone.

During the meal we tasted six beers including a take on a whisky sour made from gingerbread beer as an aperitif.

The six-course tasting menu included, duck, brill, lamb and an unctuous , oozing smoked egg whose silky texture was paired with cocoa beans and washed down with a crisp, long meadow IPA.

It was really encouraging to see these beers in such a setting. We hope to see more restaurants using beers in their tasting menus and offering better , more imaginative beer selections