Beer lovers across the globe are all a-froth about the latest developments regarding their favorite brew. Beer, it would appear, is the perfect accompaniment for posh nosh.
Like wine, different types of beer have unique flavors and bouquets that can be complemented and enhanced by pairing them with the right foods.
Until recently, ordering a glass of beer instead of wine to complement one”s meal was considered a social faux pas among serious diners. Today, the beer list gets the same level of scrutiny as the wine list. The enthusiasm for serving complex, subtle flavored beers in eateries worldwide has started to persuade even the most entrenched wine drinkers to consider the alternatives.
Pairing beer with haute cuisine, however, is a relatively contemporary concept. The catering industry is keen to rise to the challenge and results, to date, are encouraging.
The Wine Analogy for Matching Beer and Food
As a general rule of thumb, the same basic rules for pairing food and wine also apply to food and beer. Match meats with red wine and white meats and fish with white wine. Translated into beer terms, you should pair red meats with darker beer like ale or stout and white meats or fish with lighter beer like lager.
Similarly, in instances when you would pair food with an acidic white wine, choose a beer with a high hop content as an alternative accompaniment. Other useful wine analogies include choosing a beer that contrasts with the cuisine, or a beer that doesn”t overpower the food. In uncertain situations, the flavor of both the beer and food should be perfectly balanced, neither flavor dominating the other.
However, the rules for matching different types of beers with different cuisines tend to be less clearly defined than the more established approach to pairing wine and food. This, of course, gives beer aficionados plenty of scope!
Top Tip for Pairing Beer and Food
As with wine, your choice of beer to accompany food should be guided by your personal preferences. Let your palate be your guide!
Matching Beer and Food Suggestions
For those of you who would like to explore this new trend for consuming liquid hops with your food, here are a few suggestions to get you started:
|Beer and Food Recommendations|
|salads||American pale ale, pilsner, Belgian witbier, wheat beer, amber ale|
|soups||porter, brown ale, pale ale, pilsner lager, Vienna-style lager|
|charcuterie||German weizen, Oktoberfest, German rauchbier|
|seafood and shellfish||dry porter, oatmeal stout, wheat beer, best bitter, German pilsner|
|sushi, pickled and smoked fish||acidic Belgian lambic, rauchbier|
|fish||American wheat beer, hoppy pilsner, Dortmunder export, Belgian whitbier, golden ale|
|egg dishes||German weissbier, Gelgian witbier, oatmeal stout, wheat beer|
|pasta and pizza||Vienna-style lager, hoppy American pale ale, lambic beer|
|spicy and Mexican food||Vienna-style lager, hoppy pilsner, golden ale, wheat beer|
|poultry||malty lager, bitter ale, brown ale|
|pork||Vienna-style lager, Marzen, Oktoberfest|
|red meats||fruity ale, Indian pale ale, British brown ale, porter, bock|
|cheese||hoppy beer, English old ale, Belgian beer, best bitter, dry stout, wheat ale, German pilsner, pale ale, British brown ale|
|desserts||Belgian witbier, Belgian strong ale, wheat beer, imperial stout, Irish Guinness, dark malty beer|
More Tips for Pairing Food and Beer
The following are some more helpful guidelines for choosing the right beer for a particular meal:
- Pale ales with a high hop content pair perfectly with full-fat cheeses or other rich, fatty foods.
- Brown ale complements most fish or chicken dishes.
- High alcohol content, sweet-flavored, malty beers go well with spicy hot foods or even sushi.
- In general, sweet desserts cry out for an even sweeter beer.
- Rich chocolate or coffee flavored desserts can cope with an oatmeal stout”s deep chocolaty flavor.
- Robust British real ales bring out the best in most red meat dishes.
- Irish stout is the traditional accompaniment for oysters and complements a surprisingly wide range of seafood recipes.
- Oriental style lagers or traditional brown ales are fantastic with Thai cuisine.
Oliver, Garrett (May 2003). Matching Beer and Food. Retrieved April 10, 2008, from the All About Beer Web site.