There is no better time to learn about and try different beers than under the summer sun. Whether you’re grilling out for a barbecue or watching the ball game at a near by pub, summer is the best time to learn a few simple tips on matching beer and food flavors, to create the perfect pairings.
As you may have guessed, beer is often easier to pair with food than wine. Keep in mind that you should always drink what you like best or what you are in the mood for – there are no specific rules to follow!
Balance – Flavor & Intensity: As with wine, try to not overpower either component. Try pairing lighter beers (like pale ales) with salads or white meat, and heavier beers (like stouts) with heartier dishes and meats.
Complement – Think about the different flavors that are prominent in the beer and pair it with the main flavors in your meal.
Try pairing the beer with a dish from the specific region where it was brewed. If you think about it, it’s not a coincidence that there are brews that complement the most popular dishes of the region from which they originated.
For example, a dark German lager would pair well with sausages or a bratwurst with grilled onions, and a Japanese beer would pair well with sushi.
Spicy Foods – Beer can go further than wine because with the lower alcohol content in many beers will not intensify the heat in spicy foods. Stick to higher content of malt over hops to avoid overwhelming heat during your meal. Lagers or IPAs work well, but be sure to avoid beers that are too sweet, too dark, or those with high alcohol content.
Contrast – They say opposites attract, and the same can be said for beer and food!
For example, a creamy, buttery dish could be paired with a light/crisp beer, and a savory, heartier dish could be paired with a citrus/fruity beer. If there is a dish on the menu with beer as an ingredient, try pairing it with a contrasting beer that will really bring out different flavors in your meal.
Beer is very versatile and can be paired with almost anything. Experiment and try different kinds of brews to find out what you like best!
What are your favorite beer and food pairings?