With limited runs to the grocery store, we're all getting creative with the ingredients we have on hand. One quick and easy way to enhance a pantry-based meal is with the perfect beer pairing. To help we asked Cicerone-certified beer expert Michelle Tham, head of beer education at Labatt Breweries of Canada, for her top pantry picks and recommendations for your next quarantine meal.
What are your top three ingredients for life in quarantine?
Start with vegetables that last a long time, like onions, garlic, carrots, celery, potatoes and root vegetables are a great starter for stocks, roasts, stews and soups.
Also, you can never run out of ways to cook an egg, but a runny fried egg makes any dish better – ramen, toast, leftover pasta or even a grilled cheese sandwich.
And last, try buying or making your own pizza dough or bread. No fancy tricks or skills required to make a topped flatbread, focaccia, garlic bread sticks, pita bread or naan-style for dips and curries.
What's your go-to beer pairing right now?
Pulled pork sandwiches with a Budweiser. You can make a big batch that lasts for a week. The barbecue sauce brings an all-around balance of malt, acidity and sweetness that's dependable and comforting - especially now.
Is there a beer style goes with just about anything?
A European lager like Stella Artois pairs well with anything! It's delicately sweet maltiness, accented by its crisp bitterness and floral hops aroma goes well with pizza, take-out pad thai, ham and cheese sandwiches or even quiche.
How does beer make a difference in these unprecedented times?
Beer is still bringing us together here in Canada. Happy hours are still happening, even if we can't physically be together. Friends, families and colleagues are sharing beers virtually as we keep each other sane while staying safe.
Has your job changed a lot during the pandemic?
Typically I'm traveling the country, meeting the amazing people who brew beer and educating those who sell, serve and love to drink beer. These days I'm doing it from home, staying in touch with everyone, building digital, interactive trainings for our sales teams, and advising our restaurant and bar partners on how to care for their draught systems so they're ready to go after the shutdown.
How is Labatt Breweries stepping up for Canada's bars and restaurants?
Labatt quickly shifted production from beer to hand sanitizer to support Food Banks Canada and front line workers in foodservice. We also launched the Stella Artois “Rally for Restaurants” gift card program to provide local restaurants and bars with immediate financial relief; and, directed a portion of Budweiser Canada's sports investments to Canadian Red Cross to support our heroes in the front lines in healthcare.