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Ask the Beer Expert: Jason Foster

Jason Foster is the beer columnist for CBC Radio in Edmonton and other outlets, as well as the creator of onbeer.org.

WHERE Edmonton: What kind of beer would you recommend for someone who’s just starting to like beer?
Jason Foster: The key is to pick flavours you’re familiar with. If you’re used to what I call Macro Lagers—the pale lagers with a high portion of corn syrup—then I would point them to a craft lager that has a similar profile but is all barley. Good local examples include Yellowhead Premium Lager or Ribstone Creek Lager. White wine fits well into a blonde ale or light, fruity Kolsch-style. Yukon Gold or Alley Kat Scona Gold are good starting points.

W: Is there a type of beer you’d recommend someone enjoy with the cool fall weather?
JF: The fall is perfect for ambers and reds, much like the colour of leaves. I always love an Oktoberfest this time of year, which is a German-style malty, amber-coloured lager that defines the Munich festival. As the temperature begins to dip, I start pulling out red and brown ales, such as Red Deer’s Troubled Monk Brewing’s award-winning Open Road Brown Ale.

W: Are there any trends in brewing—perhaps in Alberta—that you’re excited about?
JF: I am impressed to see Alberta breweries embracing more adventurous styles. I like how Bench Creek Brewing is quick to adopt emerging interpretations like New England IPA, a type of IPA that downplays hop bitterness for big, citrusy, fruity flavours. The Apex Predator is like Five Alive in a beer can!

W: Do you have any tips for pairing beer and food?
JF: There are no hard-and-fast rules, but generally I opt for trying to either contrast the beer and food or complement their flavours. An example of contrast is to pair a roast chicken with a malty Vienna Lager or Brown Ale. To complement, I may link a Porter or a Stout with a chocolate cake, where the combination highlights the chocolate flavours and aromas.

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