Pairing beer with food
July 14, 2023
It’s become quite common in society to pair a meal with a drink on any occasion. Whether you’re eating out or at home, you will always pair a drink with your food. But did you know, the perfect pairing can completely transform your meal.
In today’s article, we will be discussing what food you should pair with your beer and dive into the topics surrounding this subject.
Pairing beer with food has grown in popularity in the last few years, with many people across the globe experimenting with different flavour combinations. Craft beer is the direct source of this, with its flavour diversity allowing multiple food profiles to complement each other.
We’ve done some digging and discovered the pairings you have to try for yourself. However, it’s important to understand the beer styles and flavours before progressing further. So, sit back, and take it all in.
Understanding beer styles and flavours
To begin with, there are many beer styles and flavours with distinctive characteristics which separate them from the rest. In total, there are 10 different beer styles: lager & pilsner, wild & sour ale, wheat beer, Belgian-style ale, porter, India pale ale, stout, brown ale, dark lager, and pale ale. Each style is more unique than the last, and if you would like to learn more about each style, check out our complete beer style guide.
For now, we’re going to pick out arguably the most popular beer style - lager & pilsner. Firstly, lager & pilsner share many characteristics, but there are some distinct differences. Lager is typically pale in colour and refreshing in taste. A pilsner is golden in colour and contains a hoppy flavour which gives it a bitter taste. Both of these flavours can interact with different types of food and enhance or contrast their taste, and this is due to their ingredients.
For example, lager and pilsner can complement light, cold flavours due to their refreshing taste, which bodes well for the body as it won’t be overwhelmed with heavy toxins entering. Also, this beer style is well known for complementing spicy cuisine such as Mexican, Thai and Indian. The crisp carbonation and light malt profile can help cool down the palate and balance the heat. In addition, lager and pilsner beer can complement grilled food due to their crispiness and carbonation. It’s refreshing for the palate between each bite - so if you’re looking for an excuse to get the BBQ out - you’ve got one!
Pairing techniques and strategies
Now you have a basic understanding of beer styles and flavours, it’s time for you to learn about the strategies and pairing techniques. There are different approaches to beer and food pairing, such as complementing, contrasting or cleansing the palate. Firstly, matching beer flavours with food that share similar characteristics is a common pairing that enhances spicy cuisine. Beer such as IPA is a great example of pairing - the hoppy, maltiness combines excellently with the spices. If you’re looking to buy IPA online or IPA beer gift sets, click the links to discover our best collection here at The Epicurean.
If you’re looking for a beer to help cleanse your palate, then we recommend pairing your food with a beer that has carbonation, bitterness, or acidity. This is notoriously known to cleanse and refresh the palate between bites, especially when enjoying a multi-course meal. This technique helps prevent flavour fatigue and allows each dish to be enjoyed with renewed taste buds. It’s one of the most popular strategies on our list!
Another strategy you should consider when pairing your food with beer is to consider intensity. You should evaluate the intensity of beer and food flavours, for example, lighter dishes often pair well with light beer styles. On the other hand, stronger, robust dishes can handle more complex beer flavours. This strategy is often overlooked as most people just drink and eat what they want before considering the impact it can have on their bodies. To be clear, nothing concerning will occur, but you will feel very bloated and full.
Popular beer and food pairings
So, you have a basic understanding of beer styles and flavours, and you’re aware of some of the pairing techniques and strategies; it’s time to get to the good stuff - the most popular beer and food pairings for you to try.
Stout and chocolate dessert
Straight off the bat, one of our popular pairings is a stout and chocolate dessert. Stouts are known for their rich flavour and this pairs perfectly with chocolate desserts such as brownies, cakes, and mousses. The pairing creates a harmonious combination of rich and dark flavours. If you’re unsure what stout to have with your dessert, then don’t worry we have you covered. At The Epicurean, we have a wide range of stouts in our collection, but our most popular is the Beak Brewery, Caves, Imperial Stout.
Belgian Triple and cheese
Another popular beer and food pairing for you to try are Belgian Triple and cheese. The Belgian Triple contains fruity esters, spicy phenols, and higher alcohol content which complements cheese surprisingly well. We recommend you pair the beer with soft to hard cheeses such as cheddar or triple cream brie. If you’re looking to buy Belgian beer online, click the link to discover our Belgian beer collection! Alternatively, if you’re thinking of signing up for Belgian beer subscriptions, we have you covered too.
Amber ale and grilled meats
Our final most popular beer and food pairing is without doubt amber ale and grilled meats. The caramel and toasty flavours of Amber Ales can complement grilled meats like burgers, steaks, or barbecued ribs. The malt-forward profile adds depth to the charred flavours of the meats. You don’t want to miss out on this combination, especially with BBQ season now in full swing. If you’re unsure what an amber ale is or you’re looking to purchase some, discover the top 18 amber ales here. So, what are you waiting for? Order your amber ales and grilled meats today!
We hope you enjoyed reading our latest article about pairing beer with food. If there is anything we’ve missed on our list, feel free to get in touch with our team today. Alternatively, if you would like to learn more about the current beer collection we have on offer here at The Epicurean - reach out to us today!