A Match Made At Mealtime: Tips on Food & Drink Pairing

There is no better way to take a dish from excellent to outstanding than to add the right drink. Traditionally, wine and food pairings have been the topic of much discussion but with the explosion of craft cocktails and breweries in recent years, pairing liquor and beer with food is gaining popularity. Of course, an individual’s taste will dictate which pairings are right for them. However, some basic knowledge and pairing tips can elevate the flavor of future meals.

Tip #1: Complement & Contrast

Pairing choices can be a combination of contrasting and mirroring to bring out the best in the food and drink. Contrasting consists of picking drinks with characteristics that contrast the flavors in the food. Of course, too much contrast could make one element overpower the other. But a little bit of contrast can bring out good things in both. Another method called mirroring is to choose a drink that offers continuity with the food, complementing similar characteristics and helping them shine. For example, pairing barbecue with bourbon – the smoky flavor of the meat goes well with the smoky, woody flavor of the spirit.

Tip #2: Pay Attention to Strength & Acidity

Strength and acidity are both key factors when deciding how to pair food and drinks. Ideally, the level of acid in both the meal and the drink are comparable. Neither one should overpower the other. Acidity can contrast richness in food, like a squeeze from a lemon wedge can help a plate of fried shrimp. When it comes to beer, the common practice is to match the strength of a dish with the strength of a beer. However, you still want to have some contrast in both elements. For example, a beer with some bitterness will nicely offset a sweet dish.

Tip #3: Consider Body

When pairing food and cocktails or nonalcoholic beverages, not only flavor should be taken into consideration, but also to mouthfeel. Apple juice has a whole different body than tomato juice, which has a whole different one than seltzer. And unless the plan is a liquid dinner, full-bodied cocktails should be reserved for the end of the meal.

While food and beverage pairings can be highly personal, some foods lend themselves well to particular drinks. Think of a good pairing as being similar to what makes a good relationship: Ideal companions may indeed have commonalities, but opposites attract. Each offers a unique “flavor” that compliments their mate, despite any differences.

Visit West Town Tap of Peoria, IL today and start matchmaking at mealtime! Our full ‘gastropub’-style menu features unique appetizers, sandwiches, salads, larger plates, and breakfast – not one to skipped, served 6am to 2pm daily. For more information on food and drink specials, live music, and events, call (309) 839-0576.











Breakfast is Back in Peoria!

West Town Tap (formerly Champs West) is new to the Peoria bar and grill landscape, but owner Chris Herold is no stranger to the Peoria restaurant and bar scene. The Herold family owned and operated The Pizza Inn on Sterling for 46 years. Now Chris Herold brings his expertise and passion for good food and drink to West Peoria.

With a new kitchen and restaurant seating area, West Town Tap is a foodies dream destination. The crown jewels of the West Town Tap menu reside in the breakfast menu. Not since the legendary Kaffee Haus closed has there been a sit-down breakfast option in West Peoria. West Town Tap remedies that situation with awesome breakfast fare served 6am to 2pm.

The breakfast menu includes specialties like Croissant French Toast and Crab Cakes with eggs plus some breakfast staples including The West Town Breakfast with 2 eggs cooked to order, hash browns, toast and your choice of bacon, maple glazed pork sausage patties or sliced smoked beef brisket.

The West Town Breakfast Burger includes a maple glazed pork burger, topped with a fried egg, bacon, hash browns. The Fat Tire Beer cheese sauce makes this meal a customer favorite.

West Town Tap offers a twist on breakfast skillets, you can choose the meat lover, BBQ Breakfast or Garden which include hash browns, topped with two eggs, homemade Guinness sausage gravy and a side of toast.

They offer lunch and dinner options as well as “Tap Shareables” which are perfect for a meal or as an appetizer to share with friends. Everyone loves the Mushroom Fries which are lightly breaded and fried, served with your choice of dipping sauce.

Other fun options include the Ale Battered Shrimp which is seasoned with a special zesty blackening spice or the Smoked Gouda Mac Bites. These bites have creamy macaroni folded with a smoked gouda cheese sauce and then beer battered and fried.

West Town Tap features a full ‘gastropub’-style menu. For lunch be sure to try one of the Signature Sandwiches with your choice of meat cooked in their signature style. Choose from chopped 14 hour smoked pork or sliced brisket, fried or bbq rubbed chicken breast, angus burger or balsamic marinated portobello mushroom. For lighter fare try a salad, such as Southwest Chicken, Irish Caesar or the BLT Chop. Larger appetites will enjoy plates like the Firecracker Crab Cakes and Pork Burnt Ends.

Stop in today and don’t forget to ask what specials the chef is cooking up in the kitchen. After you eat an amazing meal, enjoy West Town Tap’s craft cocktails or their craft beer selection. Enjoy gaming? West Town Tap has your gaming pleasure covered and also features Live Music on special nights.