Beer has become synonymous with good times, and you can find a wide selection on most menus these days. Now you don’t have to be a connoisseur to appreciate the full breadth of versatility beer can partake on food. However, you might still benefit from a quick rundown of the best pairings to help you navigate your next fancy restaurant visit or night out with friends. Let’s have a look at some common beer styles and the best dishes to pair them with!
Ales are full-bodied and have hints of spice or fruit with a hoppy finish. They are a great thirst-quenching drink, so what can you enjoy it with?
Burgers, burgers, burgers! Buffalo wings fare good, so does Asian food, Mexican food, any spicy or nutty food for that matter. It also goes well with pizza, steak and cheeses like Cheddar, Romano, and Parmesan.
Bock is a lager that has spent extra time in cold storage, which intensifies flavours developed during the brewing process. It is considered more substantial than a typical lager, is dark amber with a robust malt taste and very mild hoppiness.
Bock beer goes well with cheeses like Swiss, Emmental and Gruyère. It also tastes divine alongside Cajun food, jerk chicken, beef, sausage, and any seared or barbequed protein.
Fruit beers tend to be ales, as they are light in character, but they don’t carry the typical ale character. Fruit beers have a low bitterness level and mild malt flavour, which gives it a more dominant fruit aftertaste.
One is quick to say fruit beer pairs well with dessert, which is true. However, it pairs magnificently with light white meat or duck and pork dishes with a sweet component. It also goes great with dishes carrying heavy herbs or spices and pairs super nicely with mascarpone cheese.
A lager is your standard style, and most everyone is familiar with it. It is considered crisp with a refreshing finish and can be pale, amber, or dark in colour/flavour. Malts and hops can be added in for a different flavour profile, but generally, lagers have a clean taste.
Lagers go great with seafood – shellfish, sushi, anything light. They also go great with grilled chicken or pork and light pasta dishes. Lagers are well enjoyed paired with Southeast Asian food, Mexican food, Latin food and any spicy dish that needs to be calmed by a delicious drink.
Pilsner beer is made with neutral and hard water. They are usually golden in colour and have a dry, crisp, and somewhat bitter taste. This particular beer stands out from its counterparts, due to its distinctive hop taste.
Pilsners go great with American cheese, as well as Muenster, Havarti, and Monterey Jack. Because of its heavier flavour, we would pair it with salad, or light seafood dishes comprised of salmon, trout, or tuna. It also pairs nicely with asparagus and always a hit combined with Mexican food, Asian food and any spicy dishes.
Porter beer was developed in London, England. It has a dark appearance due to the use of brown malt and a hoppy flavour. A more robust porter or dark beer is called a stout. Although they are sometimes hard to distinguish, the terms are used interchangeably among different breweries to describe a dark beer.
Try your porter beer with barbequed meat, sausage, smoked foods, as well as rich stews. It also pairs excellently with other meats like bacon, chilli or braised dishes.
Stout is a dark, top-fermented beer with several variations, including dry stout, oatmeal stout, milk stout, and imperial stout. Did you know stout beer is known to contain nearly two times the amount of antioxidants compared to that found in light-coloured beers like lagers? They are also packed with flavonoids, which are the antioxidants giving certain fruits and veggies their dark colour.
Stouts go great with roasted food, smoked and barbequed foods, salty and fatty dishes like oysters, and stews. As you would imagine, it also goes lovely with desserts containing you guessed it…chocolate!
Wheat beer is similar to a lager in that it is light and easy to guzzle down. It doesn’t have a powerful aftertaste, so it can be described as a beer with soft character, sometimes hazy or cloudy with a touch of spice notes.
Wheat beer goes well with vegetarian dishes, sushi, light soups and salads. Also excellent with cheeses like Gruyere, Feta, and goat cheese. Wheat beer is a must-have for sweet and fruity Asian dishes think banana wrapped eggrolls and citrus-flavoured dishes of both the dessert and savoury variety.
There are many more flavours out there. This gives you a general idea of what food to pair with what beer! A few last tips to leave you with for creating the best food and beer pairings –
- Play up complementary or contrasting flavours
- Compare beers to wine
- The three Ts - Texture, temperature and timing
- Don’t merely match the region
- And at the end of the day, drink what you like!
There are no wrong answers here. Eat, drink and be merry!