CraftBeer.com Publisher Julia Herz Discusses Upcoming Zymurgy Live Session

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Halloween is officially in the books, which means the holiday season is right around the corner! No matter what holidays you celebrate, the AHA wants to help you elevate your holiday meals by pairing homebrew or craft beer with your favorite seasonal dishes.

Before you can become an all-star beer and food pairing expert, an important lesson to learn is why beer is such a great food pairing experience. Understanding the beer industry as it relates to the culinary world, and having the right vocabulary to discuss your dish and your beer, is critical to breaking down how flavors interact the way they do. Knowing where to start is the first step.

The AHA is excited to invite you to our next Zymurgy Live webinar, Beer & Food Pairing for the Holidays with Julia Herz, Craft Beer Program Director and CraftBeer.com Publisher at the Brewers Association, and Matt Bolling, Events & Membership Coordinator at the AHA.

I sat down with Julia to discuss the state of craft beer in the US and what we can expect to learn in her webinar.

Q: Before we cover food pairing in the webinar, we’re going to talk a little bit about the state of craft beer. Why is that so important to understand?

A: Understanding the state of craft beer as it relates to the entire beverage industry is critical. Where beer stands in the industry and how it’s viewed is closely tied to the culinary arts world, as well as the food that we have on the plates in our own homes. The future of craft beer is undeniably linked to our understanding—as homebrewers—of beer being a part of the food pairing experience.

Q: And what is the role of the Brewers Association in the state of craft beer today?

A: The BA is a powerhouse in the beer world. The work we do to promote and protect our small and independent craft brewers around the country, as well as the community of brewing enthusiasts, is unmatched. Not only do we have the AHA working to further grow the amazing homebrewing community around the world, but we publish books, we have a variety of educational websites and resources for all types of brewers, and we work to further educate and encourage the public to champion beer from their local breweries. We make the beverage of beer better.

Q: What do you do for the Brewers Association?

A: I am the Craft Beer Program Director at the BA. First and foremost, I am an educator and advocate. I represent craft brewers in all 50 states and publish our consumer-facing website CraftBeer.com as well as our professional brewer website, BrewersAssociation.org. I am also an author for the Beer & Food Course, which is available for AHA members to download at CraftBeer.com.

Q: If participants would like to learn more after watching our webinar, what tools are available for them to further expand their knowledge of beer and food pairing?

A: If you take the time to listen to the webinar and download the resources available to you at CraftBeer.com, then you will be further into your own journey of expanding beer knowledge than you would have ever thought possible. I will take your palate and your mind on a wild ride in this Zymurgy Live webinar, and you will have the tools you need to go even further. Go to CraftBeer.com/culinary to download the Beer & Food course before (or after) this webinar. You’ll also find tremendous resources at that site that connect the sensory aspect of beer tasting to pairing.

Q: You instructed attendees to be ready with a pickle and a sour beer, as well as some domestic blue cheese and an American IPA. Can you give us a preview of what we’re going to be doing with those pairings?

A: I’ve picked two strategic beers and two strategic food styles for Zymurgy Live. I chose a sour-centric beer to harmonize with something sour-centric such as a pickle, which is often brined in vinegar—so you’ll get sour and sour. That could be a sweet pickle or a dill pickle. I would advise attendees to go with a low-garlic variety since you want that pickle to be as simple as possible. The sour beer could be a gose, an American sour, or anything lactic with a tart acidity that will help you understand the reaction I’m hoping to display on your palate.

Our other pairing will be an American IPA with blue cheese, which is a very popular combo because it works so differently with different hop profiles. Depending on the IPA you bring to the webinar—whether a homebrew or your favorite from a locally owned and independent brewery—we’re going to explore the different ways that blue cheese can pair with different IPAs. Just as chefs pair their culinary creations with herbs & spices to match the flavor of that blue cheese, we’re going to discuss how homebrewers can use hop varieties, carbonation levels, alcohol levels, and other aspects of the beer to create amazing flavor harmonies with the dairy fat in the cheese.

Space is limited! Reserve your seat now for Thursday’s webinar with Julia & Matt, Beer & Food Pairing for the Holidays.