“Every beer is worth trying at least once”- Mirella Amato We Canadians love beer. We drink it, we brag about it, we cook with it, we buy great little cookbooks that inspire more cooking with it, and we hold summer beer festivals in its honour. Surprisingly, however, when it comes to beer consumption on a per capita basis, Canada is not even in the top twenty, hovering somewhere around # 21-25, depending on who you believe, with a per capita consumption of about 68 litres per person per year. Compare that to the 158 litres per person in the Czech Republic, the #1 nation when it comes to beer guzzling. Come on Canada! Own the Podium! How much do we really know about beer? Do you really know the difference between a Lager and a Plisner; can you distinguish between a Belgian Wheat Beer and a Bavarian Wheat Beer? Do you know what kind of beer goes great with cheese? With chocolate? Is there anyone out there who can set this all straight for us? Yes there is. Her name is Mirella Amato, she operates her own on-line magazine, Beerology and she has written a fun, factual, comprehensive and eminently readable compendium of all things beer, Beerology-Everything You Need to Know to Enjoy Beer…Even More. A native Torontonian, Ms Amato is a member of the upper echelon of the beer tasting elite, one of only seven Certified Master Cicerones (a beer sommelier) in the world. She is also a Nationally Certified BJCP Judge, has judged at Canadian Brewing Awards, The Great American Beer Festival, The European Beer Star and the World Beer Cup, and won the 2012 Ontario Craft Beer Centre of Excellence Industry Choice Award in Food & Beer Matching Development. This is one lady you don’t want to get in a beer debate with at your local brew pub. Or maybe you do.
“Mirella Amato is not just a beer educator. She is a beer evangelist. Taking a unique approach, she demystifies the appreciation of the entire diverse craft beer spectrum. Learning about something as alluring as great beer should be as fun as it is educational and Mirella makes it so”- Sam Calagione, President and founder, Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
Beerology, like the title reads, is the definitive text providing everything you need to enjoy beer. Beer for every mood, food, and occasion. The book is divided into chapters starting with an introduction to beer, notes on cellaring and storing and a guide to tasting that categorizes beer styles into four main groups: refreshing, mellow, striking and captivating. Amato provides a history lesson for specific brews and lists brands that exemplify each type, tells you how to host a beer party- complete with beer games-and includes chapters on beer cocktails and gives us insightful and eye-opening recommendations for pairing beer with food. Though Amato does go into minute detail concerning mouthfeel, carbonation, alcohol content, and discusses flavour profiles such as bitterness, spiciness and umami, she is not above simplifying the task of pairing into a simple rule of thumb to help get you started:
“Mirella’s Rule of Thumb In experimenting with beer and food pairing, I’ve developed a general rule that I feel can provide a useful departure point when picking a beer to pair with any given dish: line up the depth of colour of the beer with the colour of the main ingredient in the dish. In other words, use a golden beer with chicken or white fish dishes; an amber beer with turkey, pork and root vegetables; a brown beer for beans and steak; and black beer for chocolate cake. This approach seems to work most of the time. Of course it is simply one aspect of the pairing, because within each of these colour families exists a wide spectrum of beers that vary in intensity and flavour.”-Beerology
This summer Toronto is hosting two great Beer Festivals, Toronto Festival Of Beer, 25-27 and The Roundhouse Craft Beer Festival August 9-10. Arm yourself with a copy of Beerology and you’ll be the belle of the ball!
This province is seeing tremendous growth in the craft beer sector, tell us in the comments about your favourite Ontario craft brewers.