Pairing food with the perfect wine has long remained a staple part of elegant dinner parties and meals in high-end restaurants. But beer drinkers deserve similar consideration.
Thanks to an ever-growing demand for new flavors, there are now more beers out there than ever before. This means it can be difficult to come up with a good beer pairing for different foods.
You can opt for one of the strongest beers with the highest alcohol content or could choose something much lighter – it all depends on the type of food that you are planning to eat.
If you want to pair beer with food like a real pro, this article has got you covered!
Pair Beer Based on Style
Many types of beer vary in terms of color, mouthfeel, and taste. If you want to pair beer with food like a pro, you need to understand the different beer styles out there. Below, we’ve included some of the more common types of beer for you to take a look at.
- Light Lagers: these are pale types of beer known for their refreshing and crisp taste. They do not have a strong flavor and pair best with burgers, spicy food, and salads.
- Wheat Beers: brewed with both barley and wheat grains, wheat beers have a smoother texture and lighter carbonation. They pair well with fruity desserts or spicy food.
- India Pale Ales (IPAs): one of the most popular beer types, IPAs have a bitter taste that pairs best with Mexican food and barbecue food.
- Amber Ales: this beer has strong malt flavors and notes of sweet caramel that complement one another. Ideal food pairings include fried food, brisket, or pizza.
- Dark Lagers: these beers are made with roasted malts (nutty flavor) and caramel syrup to sweeten the beer. This flavor pairs well with pizza or burgers.
- Brown Ales: these are pretty sweet for medium-colored beers, offering coffee and chocolate hints. You could try pairing this beer with sausage, sushi, or fish.
- Porters: nowadays, these dark-colored drinks offer a mild roasted flavor and a toasty aroma. You can try pairing this drink with seafood or coffee-flavored desserts.
- Stouts: best known for their dark color and roasted flavor, these beers are generally not known for their high alcohol content or bitterness. Hints of chocolate and coffee mean the flavors pair well with chocolate desserts or shellfish.
The Core Rules
There aren’t many rules when it comes to pairing beer with food because there aren’t many flavors out there that clash with beer! Though this is true if you truly want to make the most of the flavor of your food, there are a couple of things you must keep in mind.
Avoid Overpowering Flavors
Make sure to consider the levels of flavor in your beer and your food. A lot of dark or medium beers will have a richer and more powerful flavor which might actively overpower particular food types.
For instance, you wouldn’t pair a pint of Guinness with salmon as the flavor of the beer will cover the taste of fish. You’d likely be best opting for something like ribs or even ramen!
Beer is an excellent palate cleanser. It’s ideal for those dishes that feature overpowering or overtly strong flavors such as fatty fried food. A light beer would be a brilliant way of washing down some delicious fried chicken!
You can also use this type of pairing the other way. Eating nuts or french fries is a brilliant way to distract the palate from the bitterness of a dark beer.
This may be a bit obvious, but working out a complementary flavor is an easy way to make a delightful beer and food pairing. It is, in fact, the key to pairing beer with food like a pro! You can try pairing salads or fish with lighter beers and richer food with a stout.
You might also want to consider pairing the dominant flavors of a single dish with a beer that matches it the best. After all, you want to be able to experience the taste of the food and allow it to properly shine through without the beer overpowering the taste!
Hopefully, this article has given you more of an understanding of how to pair different types of beer with food like a pro. Provided you understand the different styles and flavors of beer, you will be pairing them up in no time at all!