Beer and Food Pairing Guide
The National Beer Wholesalers Association has some great advice on pairing beer with food.
Beer can pair beautifully with a wide array of dishes, and with nearly 13,000 labels of beer on the market, there's something for everyone.
In the culinary world, wine pairings have long been held in high esteem, but in more recent years, the popularity of beer and food pairings has been soaring.
Why? Because just like wine, beer enhances the flavor of food, and food, in return, enhances the flavor of beer.
How to Pair Beer and Food
- Try to find a beer that will either complement or contrast the food. Consider the flavor of the beer and serve 4-ounce pours for each course to ensure that you and your fellow diners enjoy each paired course.
- If you're planning a multi-course beer and food pairing, start with lighter beers first and progress to heavier, stronger beers.
- Ethnic beer and food pairings generally work well and are a good way to enjoy complementing flavors.
- In general, heavier ales work well with heartier, red meat dishes while lighter lagers pair nicely with white meats.
Basic Beer Pairing Suggestions
These are by no means hard-and-fast rules - in fact, it's way more fun to break them. However, NBWA has some basic guidelines to help you along in your beer pairing and experimentation:
- Light ales, lagers and blonde ales work well with spicy foods.
- Wheat beers (ie: Hefeweizen) complement light or citrus-flavored desserts. Chocolate desserts demand a sweeter stout beer.
- Brown ales pair nicely with beef entrees.
- Dry stouts balance well with hearty soups, stews and even oysters!
- Bock beer complements heavy, spicy dishes ie: sausages and sauerkraut.
- Lighter, fruit-flavored beers pair with green salads and fresh fruits.
- Amber ales are good with just about everything - especially a pizza.
- Bitter ales have a hoppy flavor that nicely matches fried foods.
The moral of the story: Wine and food are a match made in heaven, but beer can really hold its own in the culinary arena. Don't ignore the many flavor possibilities beer can offer you!
Information courtesy National Beer Wholesalers Association