Beer and Food Pairing Guide

Beer and Food Pairing Guide: A generic list of guidelines to follow when pairing various types of beer with food.

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.

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.

Ideas for Pairing 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 pairing.

Start with lighter beers first and progress to heavier, stronger beers.

Keep in mind that the styles of beer vary somewhat depending on the country they're produced in and pairing ethnic beers with their corresponding cuisine is likely to be a good choice. In other words, if you're having Italian food, try an Italian-made beer.

As a general rule of thumb, heavier beers work well with hearty, red meat dishes while lighter lagers pair nicely with white meats and fish.

Basic Beer Pairing Suggestions
  • 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.
  • Light ales, lagers and blonde ales pair well with spicy foods.
  • 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 balances the richness of fried foods.
  • Wheat beers (ie: Hefeweizen) complement light or citrus-flavored desserts.
  • Chocolate desserts demand a sweeter stout beer.
  • 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!

    Written by Lynne Webb ~ Information Source: National Beer Wholesalers Association

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