Beer And Food (17)

Food pairing

Enhancing your taste experience and enjoyment

Choosing the right wine to go with your meal adds to the whole taste experience and enjoyment. But have you ever given the same thought to choosing the right beer?

With such a variety of pale or dark, light or heavy, subtle or strong, sweet or bitter beers to choose from, there’s always a perfect – and more original – accompaniment for every dish and every occasion.

Mixing beer with spices makes an excellent marinade for meat or salads. Or if you’re making fried rice, try adding a little bit of beer when you’re boiling it. The darker the beer the better, as you need to be careful of using too bitter a beer in cooking.

For raw foods, it is generally wise to serve milder beer than you would for fried food. Light dishes should be accompanied by light beers without too high of an alcohol content. For smoked and salted foods, thirst-quenching beers are recommended. You can balance both salty and smoky flavours in the food with a little sweetness or fruitiness in the beer and you can support the dish with smoky or roasted notes in the beer as well. Fatty foods balance nicely with beers that have strong notes of hoppy bitterness or alcohol. This cleanses the mouth of fat.

For spicy foods, such as food with a lot of chilli, many prefer a light and thirst-quenching beer without too much bitterness or sweetness, while others prefer a beer with a lot of sweetness to counterbalance the spiciness. Bitter beers, like IPAs, can help mask strong spicy tastes and thus go well with spicy food. Foods that have a lot of garlic and herbs can go well with a beer that has a smooth, slightly hoppy aroma. Be aware that strong beers will reinforce the taste of the spices and make the dish even “hotter”.

Always try to find balance and harmony between food and drink in your mouth.

Here are some basic principles for the meal:

  • Dry and lively before fruity or sweet
  • Light and lively before heavy and full-bodied
  • Weak before strong
  • Simple food with light flavours should be combined with light beers
  • Heavy food should be combined with strong beers
  • Spicy food goes well with refreshing, sweet or fruity beers
  • Salty food should be accompanied by a quenching, refreshing and not too dark beer
  • Salt in food reduces the perceived bitterness of beer
  • For fatty foods, we need a beer with good bitterness and/or higher alcohol content
  • Remember that bitterness amplifies bitterness
  • Fatty fish + bitterness may trigger a metallic taste 
  • Tart food works well with beer