American microbreweries have been on a steady rise for the past three decades, with a sudden surge in popularity over the past five to ten years. Craft breweries are popping up in cities across the nation where you’ll find packed outdoor porches and people enjoying their summer evenings. Many of these breweries are solely breweries, meaning the only food they’re licensed to provide is prepackaged snacks.
So what’s the best snack to pair with beer? Nuts, of course! Nuts and beer are a match made in heaven – for more ways than you might think. Let’s look at a few reasons why beer and nuts go hand-in-hand.
It’s a common belief that a bowl full of peanuts at a bar is nothing but a common ploy to get patrons to drink more. While this may be true, what many people don’t realize is that nuts actually make beer taste better.A main staple in brewing since the 18th century, hops are added to beer to help balance the sweetness of malt. Hops, however, are quite bitter – a flavor which the human body inherently finds unpleasant as a defense mechanism.
One thing that counters bitterness? Sodium chloride, also known as common table salt. The salt content in nuts helps counteract the bitterness of beer, making beer less bitter and easier to drink. So next time you reach for that double IPA, make sure you’re chasing it with a handful of nuts.
Tannic acid, a byproduct of the brewing process, is another active ingredient in beer that the human mouth has trouble with. Tannins in beer dry the mouth by binding the lubricating proteins in saliva, creating that awful dry mouth sensation. Nuts, however, help combat the dreaded dry mouth. Nuts are full of healthy fats, which naturally re-lubricate the mouth and allow you to fully enjoy your beer without feeling dehydrated.
Finally, nuts are known to boost HDL, or “good”, cholesterol levels, while simultaneously lowering LDL, or “bad” cholesterol levels – making them a heart healthy food. Additionally, alcohol is thought to be a blood thinner, helping to prevent the formation of clots in the bloodstream.
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