Are you looking to find new delightful beer and food pairings?
Beer is one of the United States’ most popular consumables. It’s so popular among United States citizens that the country produces billions of barrels of various beer types. In 2018, the barrel output in the country climbed to over 25.9 million barrels.
The various beer types we have in the US have different levels of bitterness and malt. We even have several varieties of dark and light beer and everything between them. With so many beer types, it can be challenging to find the right foods for the right flavors.
If you want to learn what food pairing goes well best with different types of beer, keep reading below. We also included some tips on matching food and beer throughout the article.
1. Cheesy Dishes and Abbey Dark
You’ve heard of the classic wine and cheese combination. It’s a great example of how two different tastes complement each other. In this one, we’ll talk about how beer and cheesy foods make a great variation of that same idea.
When you’re having a pizza or a sandwich that’s rich with cheese, grab a Dubbel or Abbey Dark. This beer comes from Belgium and got made in its abbey brewing traditions. This beer is complex and rich with flavors of raisin, stonefruit, and treacle.
Some of the best foods to pair up with a Belgian abbey dark include cheesy pasta, for example.
2. Steaks and IPAs
IPA or Indian pale ales are a popular beer style in craft brewing. IPA has a medium amber color and a heavy and bitter flavor. Unlike lagers, they take less time to ferment and thus have a stronger taste.
During the British invasion of India, brewers had to make sure the ale wouldn’t go bad during the long delivery times. By ship, it took months to deliver goods from the mainland to the Indian colony. This often is a result of the extra hops in IPAs.
The barley and the hop’s bitter taste create a unique aftertaste, flavor, and aroma. It’s what makes IPAs still so popular despite the strong flavor. Most brewers add herbal or citrus undertones in the beer to make it more palatable.
Keep your tongue distracted from its heavy, bitter flavor with strong flavors. Try drinking it with big, robust beef or meat. Prepare your steaks with this steak knife set while you sip on IPA.
3. Dark Lager and European Dishes
Roasted meats, sausage, and burgers are hearty meals. They’re great foods to prepare during the neighborhood barbeque nights or on the Fourth of July. You can make those occasions more special by grabbing dark lagers to pair with your BBQ foods.
Dark lagers have a distinct taste. A dark lager beer comes from roasted malts, giving it a nutty flavor. Often, breweries add caramel syrup to sweeten it but not enough to make it too overpowering.
The best food pairings to have with dark lagers include those we mentioned above and more. They’re also great for hearty traditional European dishes. Think pizza, bangers and mash, and goulash.
You can also pair it with cheese platters, goat cheese salads, and sandwiches. If you’re going to eat something with strong cheeses, grab a dark lager. Its hint of sweetness will complement the strong taste of the cheese.
4. Game Meats and Porter
Developed in London, Porter is a dark style of beer made from brown malt. It has very close ties with the development of stout. Even now, there aren’t many distinctions between stouts and porters.
A major distinction between them is that the porter is a darker and stronger variety than stouts. Today, porters are milder than their past makes. It still has a signature dark color plus more variety in flavors and styles.
Darker and heartier beers like porter are great for balancing bigger meats. It’s great to pair with venison, rabbit, and other game meats. If you’re not the type to eat game meat, the typical robust meaty food will pair as well with porters and stouts.
At times, a recipe calls for beer. If you’re incorporating the beer into the meat, cook them with brews that match the flavor of the dish. Full-bodied brews like porters, stouts, and dark ales go well with robust meats.
5. Amber Ales as Palate Cleansers
When it comes to beer and food, amber ales often get paired with foods with overpowering flavors. The guide of beer and food pairings are the 3 Cs. These are to contrast, complement, and/or cleanse.
If you’re choosing a beer, it needs to act as a palate cleanser. This way, dishes with strong or overpowering flavors like spicy foods get washed down. The opposite is true with fatty foods and strong, bitter beers.
Amber ales have strong flavors of malt and hints of sweet caramel. Their flavors aren’t overpowering or sweet. In actuality, many amber ales have a dry and crisp finish.
Because of this, they’re great for cleansing the palate. They’re great pairings for pizza, jerk chicken, brisket, and BBQs.
6. Porter and Seafood
When you’re looking to pair seafood with beer, you want to look for complimenting flavors. It’s a beer and food pairing fundamental you need to learn to do. For example, pair light-tasting fish with light beers.
Avoid pairing together overpowering flavors. It’d be a waste of good food if the beer ends up concealing it. It’s also the same vice versa.
With that said, porters have a rich and deep flavor. It isn’t only a delightful pairing with venison and rabbit. It’s also a great pairing to have with seafood, which has a similar taste and texture to the beer.
If you haven’t tried having oysters with Guinness, you’re missing out on a classic pairing. Another great pairing is to try a creamy chowder with porter or stout. Better yet, try smoked seafood with Alaskan Smoked Porter.
7. Light or Pale Lager and Fried Foods
Light beer makes up a third of the top beer brands in the US. They’re a modern take on traditional canned beers. Thus, they often have a straightforward and refreshing taste.
They’re great for pairing with spicy foods and fried foods with a subtle sweetness. Some popular light lager food pairings include buffalo wings. They’re especially delicious with French fries and fried fish.
Pale lagers are some of the most versatile beers to pair with food. Whether it’s burgers or hot dogs, you can go ahead and drink light beer with them. You can even pair it up with spicy or regular noodles if you want.
There is an explanation of light lagers and why they pair well with spicy foods, especially light Mexican-style lagers. This type of beer doesn’t coat the tongue. However, it has a spiciness in its hops that cuts through the spiciness in the chilies and peppers.
Often, it’s a lot like milk in that it washes off the hotness of spicy foods. In turn, that lets the taste of the beer stand out.
8. Desserts and Stouts
When we’re talking about the best beer and food pairings, desserts don’t come right into mind. This is because dessert dishes aren’t often a great first choice as beer food. However, the range of beer flavors is always expanding.
That includes fruity beers to go with your puddings, ice creams, or sorbets. Stout is the best beer type for desserts because of its flavor. Stout has strong hints of chocolate and coffee flavor.
Its consistency is often silky smooth, yet its appearance is dark and black. Stouts have a low alcohol content and bitterness. It’s great for those who aren’t big on drinking alcohol but want something casual to pair desserts with.
The best desserts that go with stout include chocolate truffles and chocolate mousse. If you can order a coffee sundae, pair it up with a salted caramel stout. It’s a unique take on dessert and beer you won’t often find.
9. Wheat Beer and Food Varieties
Like light beer, wheat beer is a very versatile beer. As the name implies, they go down smoother and don’t feel as chest-heavy as traditional beer. Many brewers also add citrus and other fruity flavorings to the beer since wheat doesn’t add flavor.
Some of the best food with beer this versatile include chicken, seafood, and even pasta. If you’re trying Belgian Saison, it goes well with chicken or fish dishes. However, once you add sauces or creams, you’d want to switch to richer beers.
Because of its lightness, wheat beer is also a great complement to fruit tarts and pastries. The lightness of the beer helps wash down the sweetness of the pastries and fruit tarts. It follows the rule of contrast between the pairings.
Enjoy These Beer and Food Pairings
To get the best pairings, keep experimenting with food and beer. Remember, ideal pairings are often contrasting, complementing, or cleansing.
Now, you can enjoy great food, beer, and company.
That’s it for our guide on the best beer and food pairings you have to try. If you want to learn more about great food and drink, check out our other guides.