When it comes to dinner and pairing it with beer, it is a lot easier to pair than wine. This is especially true when it comes to craft beer, with their roasted malts, hops, and the nuances of their flavour, there is something in them that you can match for your dinner. In fact, a good beer can bring out the best in any dish. So let’s get started.
The first rule of pairing food with beer, anything goes! If you’re in the mood for an IPA, but also feel like some grilled fish, go ahead! There are no rules that say you can’t do this. When it comes to pairing beer with food, there are some pairings that might not work, but when it comes down to it, your own taste is the final judge.
In general think about pairing the intensity of the beer with the intensity of the food – lighter beers like pale ales and pilsners are best paired with appetizers and salads; heavier beers like stouts with hearty, go with rich main meals. Think about the main flavors in the beer (malty, hoppy, nutty, citrus, fruity, etc.) and pair them with the main flavors in your meal (roasted, spicy, savory, buttery, sweet, etc.).
When it comes to beer from different countries, beers from that country can almost always be paired with classic dishes from that country. Let’s take for example British stouts, and how they can be perfectly paired with just about any type of bar or pub food.
There are some foods that work particularly well with certain common styles of beer. Below you will find some of the perfect pairings for beers, and which meals bring out the best of both worlds:
- Pale Ales – Salads, light appetizers, fish and seafood.
- India Pale Ales (IPAs) – IPAs can stand up to a little more richness and flavor. They can go well with things like pulled pork, pizza, and fried chicken, as well as lighter salads and seafood dishes. And if you like heat, try an IPA with spicy food – the hoppiness really pumps up the spice quotient!
- Hefeweizens and Wheat Beers – Fruit dishes, dinner salads, grain salads, and desserts made with warm spices (cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg).
- Belgian Ales - similar to amber ales, these pair well with anything barbecued, meat stews, or any other smoked foods.
- Pilsner - This type of beer complements fatty fish like salmon and tuna. It is als a great pairing for lighter meats, like chicken and sausage.
- Amber Ales – Ambers are a good middle-of-the-road beer and go well with just about anything: burgers, grilled cheese, roast chicken, soups and stews.
- Stouts and Porters – Barbecue, stews, braised dishes – any kind of meat dish, really. Also rich desserts with chocolate and espresso flavors.
- Lagers - These beers are able to pair with pretty much anything, though it goes best with garlic-heavy foods (Italian, Spanish), as well as Mexican and South Asian cuisine.
- Barley Wine - While the flavour of this beer might overpower some of the more complex dishes, it does however pair nicely with strong cheeses, and choclate desserts.