Pairing beer and food is an individual art form. Some where between “Budlight goes with everything” and “Budlight isn’t even a beer.” are those who understand complementing flavors. The beer is not to detract from the food and the food is not to detract from the beer. They each have their places.
Whilst there are some general guidelines no two pallets are alike. The perfect pairing for one may not be the perfect pairing for the next.
So let’s review some general guidelines and then take a look at some suggested pairings. It gives a novice someplace to begin.
Experts suggest that these three terms will help. Consider these three words cut, contrast, and compliment.
This refers to beers that cut through some aspect of the food. For example beer with a lot of acidity cuts away the fatty film left behind by rich foods. To cut the burning sensation of spicy hot food a malty beer with a high alcohol content works even better than water.
Contrasting is like the one-two punch to the pallet. Smoked beer and strong cheeses are both very different, but very strong flavors. Fresh raw oysters are often paired with dry Irish-style stout. Again think of contrast, like black and white flavors. Or another way to remember may be opposites attract.
Some things just go together like peanut-butter and jelly, bread and butter, and macaroni and cheese. The flavors melt together to create a whole new sensation. Maybe a mild beer works better with mild food for some.
Let’s let the professionals give us some specific suggestions.
*For foods like stews, shepherds pie, and meats served with lots of think gravy try Porter, or oatmeal stout.
*Looking for something to go with a vegetarian meal? Some good choices would be Dunkelweiss or Wiessbier.
*Amber ale is an excellent beer for any foot that is not sweet. So have it some with pizza, sandwiches and Mexican food.
*If cheese cake with raspberry sauce in on the menu (lucky you) serve some cream or sweet stout. These beers are meant to be savored with chocolate and fruit desserts.
The best part of pairing food with beer may be in the experimentation. The rules do not mean anything if they don’t work for you. However, it would be a shame if you enjoy a good beer and don’t experiment a little and see how it can enhance a meal. After all, it is a great idea to have a meal be something that is fun, social, filling and fun.