When it comes to pairing food and alcohol most people will think of wine. Pairing the right wine with the right food is quite the balancing act. But wine isn’t the only drink you can pair with food. Believe it or not, beer can pair brilliantly with food as well!
Beer doesn’t quite have the same reputation as wine does it? Wine is seen by many as the drink of sophistication. While beer is seen by many as a cheap and cheerful drink. It’s not the drink you pair with fine dining it’s something you have with stuff like hot wings and burgers.
We don’t think this is really fair. Sure, it might pair well with foods like that but it’s more sophisticated than you might first think. Let’s look at some popular beer and food pairings so you can see just how versatile beer can be.
The palest of ales available these lagers have a crisp taste and are very refreshing. Many of the most popular beer brands specialise in light lagers and they are considered to have the most universal appeal.
They are very versatile, but we find that they work best with foods that directly contrast the crisp/ refreshing flavour. This means hot or spicy foods like chicken, noodles, fish, and more. If the food has some kick to it pairing it with a light lager will go over well.
Wheat beers are a bit of an enigma when it comes to their flavour. They generally have quite a smooth texture and while it can vary most wheat beers are generally quite fruity and have a citrus flavour.
Wheat beers are generally considered one of the most balanced types of beer. This means they can be paired with many different kinds of foods. We think they work well with meaty dishes like chicken, beef, and pork. But they also work with spicy foods and even things like pastries and fruit dishes.
India Pale Ales
India Pale Ales (IPA) have been on the rise recently and are the beer of the choice when it comes to the craft scene. These beers have that famous amber colour and one of the most distinct flavours among beers. IPAs are quite bitter and while some are mixed with herbs or fruits to make them more balanced you should still expect a bitter taste.
Because of their bitter flavour IPAs go well with barbecued foods, especially ribs. Meat dishes and things like burritos, burgers, and tacos also pair well with IPAs. Cheese also pairs well with IPAs especially more heavy dishes.
From their name you can likely already guess what these beers are like. Dark lagers have a very distinct look and flavour. They are made with roasted malts and will usually have added sweeteners. Their flavour is the perfect mix of fruit and sweet and it will have a slight nutty element to it. It’s a very balanced and distinct flavour that is quite popular in Europe.
Dark lagers pair well with many classic European dishes especially those with a hearty meat element. Foods like sausage, burgers, steak, and other roasted meats all pair well with dark lagers. But foods like pizza can also make great pairings as well.
Brown ales aren’t one of the most popular types of beer currently. But they still have their fans and offer a distinct taste. These beers generally have hints of coffee or chocolate, and some English brown ales even have nutty elements similar to dark lagers.
They are quite understated when compared to many other beers, but they are quite versatile. They can pair well with almost any food but some of the best pairings are sausage, pork, beef, fish, sushi, and many more. If you are stuck finding the right beer opt for a brown ale.
Porters have gone through a number of changes, these days they are milder in flavour and fragrance. Although they still have the reputation of being quite strong and dark. While they still have a dark colour, they have a softer flavour and a more toasty/ roasted aroma with a crisp finish.
Their flavour is best described as chocolaty with hints of coffee and caramel. This means they pair well with seafood and fish. Lobster, crab, squid, and more all pair well with porters. But meats also pair well especially more exotic and game meats.
Non Alcoholic Beers
Finally, we have what could be considered the most versatile beer. Non alcoholic, alcohol free & low alcohol beers come in many different flavours so they can pair brilliantly with all kinds of dishes. If you want to try something a little different then try pairing your food with a non-alcoholic beer.