The Irish Times Magazine - - DRINK - SORCHA HAMIL­TON

Crisps, ba­con fries or dry roasted peanuts were the op­tions for din­ner the other night when I got caught out – as you do – late leav­ing the of­fice, meant to get some­thing to eat but didn’t have time, and the kitchen was closed when I ar­rived in the pub. A packet of cheese and onion it was. I’m a fan of the beer and crisps com­bi­na­tion – don’t get me wrong – though I did start think­ing how cheese and onion is prob­a­bly not the best flavour if you ac­tu­ally want to taste what­ever it is you’re drink­ing. And how, if you were try­ing some­thing re­ally spe­cial and de­li­cious, you’d be bet­ter off skip­ping the crisps al­to­gether.

In the in­ter­est of sci­en­tific re­search, how­ever, I de­cided to pair two new Ir­ish beers with some nice Ir­ish crisps to see how they got along.

Good qual­ity ready- salted crisps are a good bet for a crisp, clean pils or a light pale ale. I tried O’Don­nells Ir­ish seasalted crisps with Sav­age, a new 4.8 per cent pale ale from New Ire­land Beers. This is an easy- drink­ing beer with a light body, and some del­i­cate trop­i­cal fruit flavours. It was a good match for these sim­ple- tast­ing crisps and it cut nicely through the oil and salt.

As with all food and beer pair­ings, you need to match in­ten­sity of flavour – so cheese and onion needs some­thing ro­bust. Crafty Bear Tastes Like Sumptin’ IPA 6 per cent has a big toasty malt char­ac­ter with lots of cit­rus and pine hops flavour.

It has a pleas­ant flo­ral char­ac­ter and enough body and over­all flavour to stand up to Keogh’s lovely cheese and onion crisps – though I’m not sure how it’d han­dle a bag of Mon­ster Munch.

@ ITbeerista beerista@ irish­times. com

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