How to Pair Food and Beer
Whether it’s a dark ale with grilled salmon, a crisp lager with an oily fish like haddock or a light wheat beer with sweet desserts like fruit tarts, there are endless ways to pair food and beer. But the key to a great pairing is understanding how to use the unique flavors of beer with food.
Contrasting flavors is one of the most popular ways to pair beer and food. This approach is a little bit more complicated than complementary pairings because you want to avoid overpowering the dish with the flavor of the beer. This type of pairing is often seen with oysters and stouts, where the salty, briny oysters balance out the rich chocolate flavor of the stout.
Another way to pair beer and food is by using it as a palate cleanser between courses. This is especially useful when you’re serving a dish that has a strong, overpowering flavor. A cold glass of lager can cut through the fattiness of a steak or help you get over the intense heat of Korean fried chicken.
In addition to matching foods with beer, you can also use it to add flavor to sauces and marinades; to create hearty stock for soups and stews; or to steam vegetables, meats and seafood. And don’t forget to save a few bottles of your favorite beer for cooking at home! You can even use it to make your own infused vodka! If you’re looking for some ideas on how to use beer in your kitchen, check out our Cuisine a la Biere section.