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Something for the Weekend – Walker’s Crisps Beer Match

Cast your mind back a few years ago to Walker’s (the crisp people, just in case you’re not with me and thought I was talking about a beer) who launched an advertising campaign focused on the quality and care they put into every bag of crisps. It showed a slow motion Gary Lineker holding a crisp up to the light and inspecting its appearance. Gary putting the crisp in his mouth and nodding with approval at the quality and full flavour. Gary flashing his cheeky chappie smile at the camera signalling his approval to the viewers.

Well, harumphed the army of Cask Marque inspectors, we’ve been doing that for years with beer. (Inspecting the quality, not the slow motion bit, of course. Although I could name one or two who could speed up a bit).

But of course Cask Marque didn’t have the squillion pound marketing budget that Walkers have. Which is why Cask Marque HQ went into a bit of a meltdown this week when they saw the latest Walker’s advert. Slap bang in the middle of the advert there is a scene outside a pub door and for a few seconds, the Cask Marque plaque dominates the screen. Not a bag of crisps. Not Gary’s cheesy grin. Cask Marque – the sign of quality. Major excitement in the office, not seen since Kate Moss stood next to a Cask Marque plaque on her wedding day photos (classy, eh?)

So, Something for the Weekend has been hijacked this week by the guys and gals at Cask Marque Mission Control who asked me to communicate their thanks to Walker’s and name my best ‘beer and crisp’ flavour matches.

First the science-y bit. All crisps contain fat and salt. The fat coats your tongue. The salt makes you thirsty. So to get rid of the fat, you need a bit of effervescence on your tongue, to scrub away the greasiness. The salt needs neutralising, so you need water. And which alcoholic drink is up to 95% water? Hello beer!

I’m going to stick with the more popular flavours, so here are some of my current favourites:

  • Cheese ‘n’ Onion with Caledonian Deuchar’s IPA: The King of Crisps, in my opinion. Needs a light refreshing, spritzy beer
  • Ready Salted with virtually any cask ale you like (ready salted, or ‘plain’, as my other half calls them, are much maligned, but they’re massively adaptable). If pushed on a brand, I would go for Timothy Taylor’s Boltmaker. Both classics in their own right.
  • Smokey Bacon with Bath Gem: the lovely sweet finish of the beer complements the paprika style of the bacon flavouring
  • Roast Chicken with Hogs Back TEA: really salty flavoured crisps with a fabulous Traditional English Ale
  • Cool Original Doritos with Lancaster Blonde: slightly citrusy, a bit biscuity and a perfect foil for the saltiness of these snacks
  • Cheese Quavers with Robinson’s Dizzy Blonde: both are light, delicate and majorly more-ish
  • Roast Beef Monster Munch with Hop Back Entire Stout: punchy flavours in both and works surprisingly well
  • Flamin’ Hot Max with Crafty Dan 13 Guns (an American style IPA): this one blows your taste buds away

Remember folks, there are other brands of crisps out there, but as Walker’s scratched our back, we’ll scratch theirs. Scratchings…now there’s another article.