Food and beer have gone hand-in-hand since humans figured out how to make beer.
We’ve all been to a gastropub and seen the suggested food and beer pairings on the menu. The craft beer renaissance has led to beer taking the place of wine as the dinnertime beverage.
In this post, we’ll be telling you about the 5 best beer and food pairings out there. Not every beer is built the same; some go well with steaks, some go well with burgers, some go well with fish. Let us help you decide what to order next.
The Best Food and Beer Pairings to Try
Food is food. By now, we all know what we like and what we don’t. The beer revolution, however, has presented us with uncharted territory.
How to Approach Pairing
There are things in beer that bring out certain flavors in our food. When you go to a quality beer-centric restaurant like First and Oak in California or 508 Restaurant in NYC, you’ll see suggested food and beer pairings. It’s nice to have someone tell you what to do, but how do you know which food and beer pairings will work for you?
There’s no one way to pair food and beer. You can pair contrasting flavors, complementary flavors, or use the beer as a palate cleanser after a strong-flavored meal. The best food and beer pairings came with years of trial and error, but we think we’ve figured out the best ones; here are the top 5.
1. The Best Food Pairings for IPA’s
IPA’s are an acquired taste. If you don’t care for the strong bitterness of a hoppy beer, then you might not want to pair it with your favorite food.
However, those that like IPA’s, love IPA’s. They’re tasty and high in ABV, so they’re a popular brew. The best foods to pair with IPA’s are mildly flavored to bow to the overpowering flavor of the beer. Burritos, fajitas, and legit BBQ will give you the best results as they are complementary flavors.
2. The Best Food Pairings for Light Lagers
Light lagers are complementary to most meals. Valuing crisp and refreshing over strong tasting, they go well with spicy dishes.
Spicy Mexican, Latin, and Asian foods are great with domestic lagers and craft breweries are coming up with more flavorful lagers to even better complement good food.
3. The Best Food Pairings for Wheat Beers
Wheat beers have a smoother texture and lighter carbonation than other beers. The wheat doesn’t actually add that much flavor, so brewers usually add citrus to make it pop a little more.
These brews are usually a bit on the heavier side, so pairing with a good salad is a nice way to go. They’re also quite sweet, so they pair well with dessert foods like pastries and fruit tarts.
4. The Best Food Pairings for Stouts
Stouts can be a meal on their own, but despite their dark and heavy appearance, they’re not high in alcohol content. They’re smooth, with hints of chocolate and coffee.
There are two ways to go when pairing food with stouts: complement or contrast. You can either give in to the chocolatey notes and pair with a chocolate truffle or mousse OR you can create a whirlwind in your mouth. Stouts pair surprisingly well with lobster and shellfish.
5. The Best Food Pairings for Fruity Beers
Fruit-centric beers are having their day right now. They’re usually delicious; sweet and strong flavored. It can be hard to think of what to pair with them because they’re so good on their own.
The best way to go is to pair with other fruity foods. Salads with fruit-based dressings are a nice touch. Fruit beers also pair well with light cheese and mild tasting meats. Mascarpone cheese and lightly seasoned chicken will pair well with your favorite fruit beer.
Make It Up as You Go
The beauty of food and beer pairings is the lack of rules. Trial and error will get you where you need to be. Pick your favorite food and add your favorite beer on the side, then you’ll know if they work together or not. There are no wrong decisions, they’ll all lead you to the right outcome in the end!
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