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How to Pair Beer and Food

food and beer

There’s an endless array of foods and beers to enjoy, but choosing the right pairing can be intimidating. Luckily, there are some basic principles that can help you make the best choices. These are called Complement, Contrast and Cut.

The easiest way to pair beer and food is to choose those that complement one another. This means that you match similar aromas and flavors between the beer and the dish. For example, if the dish has a hint of coriander, try a beer with a similar spice note like a Belgian Witbier. Or, if the dish has a strong nuttiness, try a beer with a similar flavor like a porter or stout.

If you want to add a bit of adventure, try pairing beer with food that contrasts its flavor with the beer. This is a bold move that can be incredibly satisfying, if executed well. For example, you can use a rich stout to pair with chocolate desserts or try a wheat beer with cheeses and fruit tarts.

In addition to the basic flavors of malt, hops and yeast, many beers are flavored with fruits, spices or chemicals. This can give them a wide range of aromas and flavors, from sour to sweet. This makes them flexible in terms of pairings, and they can also be used as a palate cleanser between courses. For example, a cold glass of pilsner can be refreshing between bites of spicy Thai food or after an oily snack like nuts or fries.

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