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Pairing Food and Beer

food and beer

Breweries across the country are putting their culinary chops to work, serving up chef-designed menus that pair well with award-winning beers. The trend has made a dent in the American beer scene, and there’s no sign of it stopping.

There are a few things you’ll need to know before diving into the pairing game. First, you need to understand the basic ingredients in beer and how they function in food.

Water, barley and hops are the main components of most beer, but they can also be brewed with wheat, rye and other grains. Some beers are flavored with fruits, herbs or other flavors as well.

Beers can be light, medium, or dark in color and have different levels of body and mouthfeel. Generally, lighter beers are lower in alcohol and have a more delicate flavor.

Depending on the type of beer, hops may have a similar function to wine acids in food pairings (think: lemon in a fish dish). If you’re unsure about which beer style is right for your meal, we recommend experimenting with a few different varieties.

Complement and Contrast

To complement your food, you’ll want to choose a beer that has some of the same aromas and/or flavors as your dish. For example, if your dish has coriander, try pairing it with a Belgian Witbier.

If your dish has a sour note, go with a funky-smelling sour beer like a Gueuze.

Similarly, if your dish has an oily texture, you can use a dry, crisp beer to cut through that fattiness or oiliness.

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