Food and Beer Pairings

First, there is no wrong beer for what you are eating if that is what you enjoy! The information we are providing you with is a wonderful go-to for what will enhance your dining experience. For centuries, if you asked a restaurant server in any mid-range to ritzy American eatery what drink to pair with a certain dish, they’d bring over the Sommelier and a wine bottle negotiation would ensue. But in the last five years, there’s been a paradigm shift: beer has made it onto the drink menu as more than just an addition. Beverage directors, chefs, and even wine lovers have learned that beer has an astonishing capacity to pair with all kinds of foods. Thus, Beer Sommeliers have burst up in cities across the country, especially Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, and Portland Oregon. Beer-and-food tasting events have multiplied exponentially – the monthly lists at beerfestivals.org are massive. Today, asking for a beer no longer means you’re simply afraid of wine. There is positively more room for flavor variety. Winemakers, after all, have one ingredient to play with: grapes. Two, if you count wood-barrel–aging. Beermakers, on the other hand, can experiment. Beer is as versatile as it is diverse, providing both complementary and contrasting experiences when paired with food. The following menu will help you to explore these and increase your enjoyment of beer & food pairing.

Perfect food matches and related recipes are below:

Ale:

Pair with burgers; buffalo wings; Asian food; Mexican food; spicy food; nutty food; fried food; pizza; steaks; Cheddar, Parmesan, or Romano cheeses.

Bock Beer:

Pair with Gruyère, Emmental, and Swiss cheeses; Cajun food; jerk chicken; beef; sausage; seared foods.

Fruit Beer/Lambic:

Pair with mascarpone cheese; light white meat; foods driven by herbs and spices; duck and pork dishes with sweet components (avoid very tart lambics); pickled dishes (great with tart lambics); salads with fruity dressings; fruity desserts.

Lager:

Pair with shellfish; light seafood; sushi; grilled pork and chicken; not-too-heavy pasta dishes (without cream or meat sauces); Southeast Asian food; Latin food; Mexican food; spicy food.

Pilsner:

Pair with American cheese; Muenster, Havarti, and Monterey Jack cheeses; salads; light seafood; salmon; tuna; trout; asparagus; Asian food; Mexican food; spicy food.

Porter:

Pair with smoked foods; barbecue; sausage; rich stews; meats; bacon; chili; braised dishes.

Stout:

Pair with roasted foods; smoked foods; barbecued/grilled foods; salty foods; oysters; rich stews; braised dishes; chocolate; desserts (ideally the beer is sweeter than the dish).

Wheat Beer/Hefeweizen:

Pair with light soups and salads; vegetarian dishes; sushi; Gruyère cheese and Feta/goat’s cheese; sweet and fruity Asian dishes; citrus-flavored dishes, including dessert and salad dressings.
Remember, respectable craft-brewed beer can be much more stimulating than wine — it’s cool, refreshing and, depending on the style, can be much richer, more complex and more flavorful than wine. Plus, if you have an average person’s budget and capacity, you’ll find that tasting several different beers during a meal is preferable to tasting several different wines.

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