A beer and a packet of crisps – what could go wrong?

A bag of cheese and onion is great idea if you’re hungry but might not be so good if you want to taste what you’re drinking

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 sea-salted 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