Japanese food and beer pair beautifully together! Getting the right pairing can enhance flavour, creating an experience which sparks joy and takes you on a food journey. As a general rule, delicate flavours used in Japanese cuisine usually pair best with light and crisp beers.
Three of the most common Japanese dishes to consume in the UK include sushi, ramen and chicken katsu. Therefore, we have gone into some more detail for each of these dishes, helping you decide on the perfect beer to pair with each!
What Beer to Pair with Sushi?
Sushi is a simple yet delicate meal, so each flavour becomes very important. Therefore, look for a beer which does not overwhelm the palate. Malt-forward beers can weigh down the lightness of sushi, so avoid beers which have a bready or toasty flavour. Furthermore, a highly carbonated beer with fizz will help cleanse the palate, giving you a fresh start for every bite of sushi you take. The best beer to pair with sushi will have low bitterness, a subtle yeast flavour and a very light malt flavour. Think minimalist. For example, witbiers, blondes, light lagers, and tripels will be pretty safe!
Sapporo is the oldest brand of beer in Japan and is very refreshing. This is an excellent choice for pairing with sushi as it is light and crisp. It will not take anything away from the beautiful flavours in sushi and gives a very pleasant light aftertaste.
Alternatively, because sushi tends to incorporate a slight hint of mirin or rice-wine vinegar in the rice, a little bit of acid can work nicely in a beer to pair with sushi. If you would like to enhance these flavours in the rice, look for beers with citrus undertones such as Dos Equis.
What Beer to Pair with Ramen?
Ramen paired with beer is one of the most popular dinners in Japan! Authentic ramen consists of broth, noodles, egg and vegetables and will use high quality ingredients.
Serving Sapporo alongside ramen is a very safe choice, regardless of the type of ramen being made. It is refreshing and light to balance out greasier broths, is a great palate cleanser for a lighter soup, and pairs well with seafood ingredients used.
What Beer to Pair with Chicken Katsu (Panko Chicken)?
In the UK, Chicken Katsu has become a popular dish to order at Japanese restaurants or create at home. Authentic Chicken Katsu refers to a meat dish made with panko breadcrumbs, generally served with Tonkatsu sauce or a well-seasoned ketchup. However, in the UK, Chicken Katsu has become synonymous with Japanese curry sauce over breaded chicken rather than breaded meat.
Whichever way you are creating Chicken Katsu, you can enjoy a slightly less simplistic beer with the meal. The flavours in the sauces tend to be less delicate and will not be overpowered by more hoppy or citrus tastes. Kingfisher is an Indian lager which is crisp but slightly more bitter with citrus flavours and a sweet malt aroma. This makes a great choice of beer to pair with Japanese food, such as Chicken Katsu.