Session Toronto, Ontario Craft Beer Week, the Roundhouse Craft Beer Festival, Cask Days, the Windsor Beer Festival, the Durham Craft Beer Festival, the Niagara Craft Beer Festival – it’s safe to say that the province is hooked on craft beer. With this increased demand comes our favourite pastime – pairing any / everything with food! With its immense versatility, there’s a craft beer for every dish. And finding out which is the best combo is only half of the fun! One of our favourite beer pairing pioneers is OCB member Muskoka Brewery, which continues to push the envelope with new flavours, recipes and menu recommendations. Think spicy chicken korma washed down with the citrus-forward Twice as Mad Tom IPA or Montreal smoked meat, paired with their bold and malty Cream Ale. “Pairing the right beer with your meal can make a big difference to the overall taste experience,” says Gary McMullen, founder of Muskoka Brewery. “Our beers are complex and rich with flavours, and we love to enjoy them with a meal that complements each one’s distinct taste.” Not in the mood to cook, but excited about the idea of beer pairings? No problem! Pop by Feast ON certified Richmond Station, where they know a thing or two about pairing food with Muskoka’s flavourful brews – they’ve got four on tap! “For any pairing you have to match strength with strength,” says Chef Carl Heinrich of Richmond Station. “Detour is light, but flavour driven; the cream ale is full bodied, great characteristics for pairing.” Of the food and beer pairings, we most enjoyed the Detour + pakoras combo, and the one-two punch of Muskoka’s Summer Weiss with Richmond Station’s bright carrot salad. The pakoras’ spices and herbs brightened up the flavours of the Detour, enhancing its stone fruit characteristics. The carrot salad, a seemingly unassuming starter, was an explosion of flavour. The roasted notes and marmalade garnish really transformed the Summer Weiss aromas. It was almost like drinking two completely different beers! The refreshing wheat beer also balanced the sweet, caramelized notes of the salad. It’s true what they say, while food enhances the flavours of the beer, beer can also change aspects in the food.