A Beer Drinker's Guide To Mixing and Matching
There was a time for all of us when the only choice regarding which beer to drink was whether you wanted something cheap or more costly. Today, beer choices are as varied as wine due to the advent of microbreweries and craft beers. Individuals who favor beer over wine and enjoy pairing beer with their food, have a large menu to pick from, starting with the light and pale ales all the way to dark, heavy and bitter stouts. So how do you decide what beer goes with what food?
Beer drinkers, even connoisseurs of beer (they do exist!), are unlike wine drinkers and experts. Those who favor wine tend to be very particular about which wine is paired with which type of food. Beer drinkers are much more relaxed about their beer and food pairings. The rule when trying to decide what beer to have with a specific food: anything goes! If you feel like a pale, light beer with your cheeseburger and fries, go ahead. If you prefer a stout with your Cobb Salad, give it a try. That said, there are some general guidelines and rules of thumb for those who would prefer a little help.
One way to match beer with food is to consider the region or country the beer is from and the type of food for which that area is known. British stouts pair well with burgers, hearty sandwiches and other kinds of pub food. Bratwurst, Sauerbraten and other robust German dishes match up better with lagers.
Figuring out what beer to enjoy with a particular food also benefits from common sense. Salads and appetizers, such as cheese and crackers, crudité and shrimp cocktail, pair well with pale ales, such as Smuttynose Shoals Pale Ale and Anderson Valley Poleeko Gold. Pilsners, like Unplugged Bohemian Lager, also work well. These same pale ales and pilsners also complement other shell fish and fish like red snapper and salmon. India Pale Ales, such as Fuzzy Baby Ducks IPA and Lagunitas IPA, mix well with heartier foods, including pizza, light pasta dishes and the thicker fish and fish steaks like swordfish and tuna.
Wheat beers and Hefeweizens, although enjoyed all year around, seem to rise in popularity as the seasons change to spring and summer and the days become warmer. Therefore, it stands to reason that wheat beers, including Urban Wheat Ale and Shock Top Belgian White, mix best with fruit salads, other fruit dishes and heavier dinner salads as well as grain salads. Wheat beers also taste good with Cinnamon Glazed Pears, Apple Cobbler and other desserts with cinnamon or cloves.
The equivalent of the “utility infielder”, amber ales are versatile and mix well with almost any food. Try any brand of amber ale that suits your taste, with burgers, soups, stews, and roast or fried chicken. Ambers range from bland, somewhat caramel-like beers to those with healthy malt and hop balance. Quality ambers usually differ from American Pales because the amber will usually have a darker malt character or less assertive hop rate. Some interesting named and highly rated ambers include 8 Wired Tall Poppy India Red Ale from New Zealand, BrewDog 5 A.M. Saint from Scotland and Steel Toe Rainmaker Double Red Ale from Minnesota.
Stouts and porters stand up well to any kind of meat dish: barbecues, braised meats and stews. They also go well with rich desserts. There are many different varieties including dry stout, flavored stout, flavored porter, oatmeal stout and imperial stout.
If you enjoy beer, have one with your meal and no need to fret over vintage! Just pour and enjoy!
About the Author: Zain writes for Feast Your Eyes! Inc. Which is a Toronto catering company that has been hosting and wowing their customers and fans for years. We hope you enjoy our articles and content that we've been providing to the daily meal. Leave a comment for any suggestions you may have :)