YOUR GUIDE TO CRAFT BEER AND FOOD PAIRING
Getting started with craft beer food pairing can sometimes seem intimidating. It should be fun! So we put together these simple tools to help you get started.
There are no exact rules for craft beer food pairing. Personal preferences and individual taste play a huge role in what combinations might work best for you. There are however some general guidelines that can help you get started. Following these guidelines give you a starting point when you cook dinner at home or go out to eat at your favorite local restaurant. Experimenting and trying new combinations along the way is the most fun part of this process for us.
You can approach beer food pairing from two directions; knowing what dish you are going to eat and then finding a beer to pair with it or, already having the type of beer on hand or in mind and letting that guide you to the perfect dish to pair with it. To keep things simple, we created this guide going from beer type to food.
Here are a few things to consider when deciding what food to pair with your beer:
BALANCE (Complement, Contrast, or Cut): Choose beers that will either complement or contrast with the flavors of the dish. For example, a hoppy IPA can work well with spicy or savory dishes, while a sweeter beer can provide a nice contrast to spicy or savory flavors. You can also choose a beer that cuts through bold and intense flavors. An example might be an extremely spicy food. You would pair this extreme with a beer that will counter the opposing flavor, one that refreshes and cools the palate.
WEIGHT OF THE BEER (Complement): Pair lighter-bodied beers with lighter-flavored dishes and heavier-bodied beers with fuller-flavored dishes. For example, a light lager might be a good choice to pair with a simple green salad, while a heavier stout might work well with a rich, savory stew.
ALCOHOL CONTENT: Beers with higher alcohol contents can be more overpowering and may not work as well with certain dishes. For example, a strong, high-alcohol beer might be too much for a delicate seafood dish, while a lower-alcohol beer might be a better choice.
CRAFT BEER FOOD PAIRING RECIPES We are working on some recipes to help you pair different craft beers and food. Our hope is to build out this Craft Beer Food Pairing page to be as comprehensive as possible. Please share and make suggestions in the comments.
TYPES OF BEER AND FOOD SUGGESTIONS FOR EACH
There are many types of beer you can choose from when pairing beer and food. Most are categorized as an ale or lager, but not all! Ales and lagers are distinguished by the type of yeast that is used during their fermentation process.
Ales are made with top-fermenting yeast, which ferments at higher temperatures and produces a fruitier and more complex flavor. Ales tend to be full-bodied and flavorful, with a wide range of styles, including pale ale, India pale ale (IPA), brown ale, and stout.
Lagers are beers that are brewed using cold fermentation with bottom-fermenting yeasts. Lagers tend to be light-bodied and crisp, with a clean, smooth, refreshing flavor. Styles of lager include pilsner, bock, and Oktoberfest.
There are also other types of beer that don’t fit neatly into the ‘ale’ or ‘lager’ categories. These can include: wheat beer, sour beer, and fruit beer, to name a few.