How to Pair Beer with Food

March 30, 2021

Pairing Beer and Food

Beer is an amazing beverage on its own but when paired with a complementing food, it’s a powerful pair that can’t be beat! Whether you’re craving a juicy burger or maybe you have a sweet tooth, there’s a beer that will enhance your foods. While beers are versatile and can be paired with a variety of different foods, there are a few guidelines that will help you bring out the best of both. These are only some of our favorite pairings but feel free to experiment with your pairings. You may just find an unusual combination that works! 


Best Beer for Pairing 

If you really care about perfectly pairing your beers with your foods, you need the best beer to enhance the flavors in your foods. We think the best beer comes from a tap and we’re not the only ones! Tap dispensed beers are kegged at the peak of their freshness and flavor and then, is dispensed through a kegerator system that maintains that quality and taste. 


A beer dispensed through a kegerator is the way the brewer wants you to enjoy the beer and it’s a great investment for those who enjoy beer. If you aren’t yet convinced, check out our article on 5 Reasons Why You Should Buy a Kegerator. Once you have your kegerator set up to dispense your beer at the perfect temperature, you’re ready to start pairing! 


Perfect Pairings 

Beer Pairings

 

Light Lager 

Light lagers have a very low alcohol content and in general a very light flavor. You won’t get little to no hops flavor and aroma. These beers are also very low in malt flavor with a light and dry body.


Pairs well with…

These light lagers are popular in America and they go great with American foods like burgers, salads, and spicy foods. The light and dry finish allows the flavors from burgers to really shine and it is a refreshing palate cleanser in between the richy and fatty bites. Since salads are so light, you need a light and refreshing lager to pair it with. Lagers won’t overwhelm the fresh and light flavors in your salads. Finally, spicy foods often have very intense and bold flavors and washing that all down with something light and refreshing helps balance out those bold flavors. It will also tame the heat without changing the flavors in your food. 

Light Lagers

Wheat Beers 

Wheat beers have complex flavor and aroma and lighter body and color. These beers have a round and mellow flavor with minimal bitterness. This beer style is often more carbonated and often has a thick foamy head when poured. The German versions tend to have more fruit and bread notes, while the American version tends to be a bit more hoppy. 


Pairs well with… 

For those who want a more flavorful beer to pair with their spicy foods, wheat beers are light and refreshing but are often packed with more flavor. The sweet fruit notes and bright hops in this beer helps balance the boldness of spicy foods. These fruit notes are also perfect when paired with fruity desserts. The hoppy note also pairs well with fruits. 

Wheat Beer

 

Amber Ale

Amber ales have caramel and crystal malts that offer a toasted, nutty, and toffee-like flavor. These also have fuller body American amber beers tend to have notes of citrus, fruit and pine that balances out the sweetness of the malt. 


Pairs well with… 

Amber ales are very versatile when it comes to pairing with most American foods. It’s best paired with grilled or barbequed meats, like smoked pork, ribs, and brisket. The sweet malty flavors and burst of citrus helps brighten the rich smoky flavors of barbeque. It really balances out the richness of fried or fatty foods, like cheesy pizzas and french fries. 

Amber Beer

 

India Pale Ales

IPAs are known for their bold and strong hoppy flavor. They are often very bitter compared to other beer styles. These beers tend to be heavier and have a very high alcohol content. These beers tend to have a strong, bright, and floral aroma due to the heavy addition of hops. They often have citrus, floral, earthy, pine, or fruity notes. 


Pairs well with… 

IPAs and their bitterness often pairs well with steak, barbeque, and Mexican food. The bitter notes in the beer will balance the smokiness and richness of grilled meats and barbeque. The brighter citrus, floral, pine, and fruit notes pair so well with the spices in Mexican foods and the fresh components, like salsas. 

IPA


Dark Lagers 

This beer style while looks dark actually has a clean malty flavor with a hint of sweetness. The base of a dark lager is fairly neutral and brewers can add fruit, spices, wood, or smoke. You will often find notes of chocolate, coffee, and other roasty flavors. 


Pairs well with… 

The clean and fairly neutral flavor makes this beer style very versatile. It goes very well with rich and heavy foods like pizza, burgers, and heavy stews. The clean flavor really allows the flavors in the foods to shine, you really get to taste the meat, and the spices in the foods come through. The roasted flavors of dark lagers adds complexity and a toastiness to the foods.

Dark Lagers

 

Porters 

These dark beers have rich dark fruit flavors, like dried cherries, plums, and blackberries. Porters also commonly have notes of coffee, toffee, nuts, barley, and caramel. These complex beers have a very specific flavor profile and are not as versatile as other beers. 


Pairs well with… 

These beers pair well with seafood, coffee-flavored desserts, and game meats. Porters with the notes coffee, toffee, nuts, barley, and caramel pair perfectly with sweet coffee desserts that have the same flavors. With game meats, the bitterness of the coffee notes and nutty notes really balance out the gamey flavor.

Porters




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