Biltong and Beer: A Perfect Pairing Guide

Biltong and Beer: A Perfect Pairing Guide

As a South African expat living in the UK, one of the things I miss most is a moderate helping of biltong with an ice-cold beer. Biltong, for the uninitiated, is a type of cured, dried meat similar to beef jerky but infinitely tastier (in my biased opinion). And while biltong tastes great on its own, pairing it with the right beer takes the experience to a whole new level.

That’s why I’m here to provide a definitive guide to pairing biltong and beer like a true Saffa. I’ll walk you through the basics of biltong flavour profiles and what beers complement them best. Get your tastebuds ready, things are about to get tasty!

First up, traditional beef biltong. With its rich, salty, and slightly spicy flavour, beef biltong calls for a full-bodied beer that can stand up to its intensity. A Belgian dubbel or Belgian strong dark ale is a perfect match, with their malty, caramel notes and touch of dark fruit. The slight sweetness balances beautifully with the salty meat, while the higher alcohol content and carbonation cut through the spice.

For game biltong like kudu or ostrich, you want something a little lighter that won’t overpower the delicate meat. A Czech-style pilsner is just the ticket, with its biscuity malt character, grassy hops, and crisp palate-cleansing carbonation. The herbal hop bitterness contrasts nicely with gamier flavours in the biltong. A refreshing German-style lager or Belgian witbier would also make excellent pairings.

Now, if you like it hot, go for a chili biltong. The heat calls for a beer with some sweetness to tone it down a notch, like a Belgian tripel or double. The layered maltiness provides a cooling contrast to the burn. An English bitter or ESB can also work well, malty enough to balance the heat but not too aggressive.

No matter what type of biltong you choose, avoid highly hopped beers like IPAs. Their assertive hoppiness will clash with the meat’s flavour. You want the biltong to shine here.

With this pairing guide, you’re ready to elevate your biltong snacking to new heights!

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