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How to Pair Beer and Food

Beer and food are often a pairing made in heaven. They both add layers of flavor, complexity and a whole new level of enjoyment to your meal. However, it’s important to know how to pair the two properly if you’re going to enjoy your meal and drink to the fullest.

Cut, Complement and Contrast

Choosing the right beer to match with your meal isn’t always easy, but the basic principles of pairing are fairly simple: you’ll want one that will cut through some of the flavors of your dish, complement others and provide a contrast to the rest. You’ll also want a beer that will cleanse your palate after eating fatty or fried foods, like pizza, and a lager that has more carbonation when paired with cheese.

Roasted foods, like burgers, steak and potatoes can be perfectly paired with a dark stout or porter, such as Guinness or Bell’s Expedition, which will help balance out the richness of the meat while also pulling out some of the roasted flavors. This type of beer can be served with a variety of dishes, including oysters and dark chocolate desserts.

Sour beers are great for seafood, especially sushi and scallops. The sour-sweet taste of Berliner weisse, for instance, is a perfect counterpoint to the savory, salty flavors found in these types of foods.

Fresh, citrusy beers, such as witbier and hefeweizen, also have the ability to pull out a bit of the seafood’s inherent sweetness without overwhelming the meal. This type of beer can be paired with light sashimi and delicate salads, such as avocado and tomato.

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