Brewing SolutionsThe Only Guide You Need to Pair your Favourite Beers with the Best Foods

You love beer, but don’t have the first clue on how to pair it with your favorite dishes? Worry not, we’ve got a treat for you! Presenting you with the “Ultimate Cheat Sheet” that helps you pair your favorite brews with the right foods to create a world-class, gourmet meal on your dining table.

And, we’re super excited to share this guide with you. We give you all that you need to know about how beer can complement your food. Keep reading to pick a few helpful hints for your next dinner party.

The 4 Mantras for the Perfect Food and Beer Pairings

Unlike wine, there aren’t as many daunting mantras for food pairings with beer. You can get creative to create new and unique pairings. The only factor you have to consider is that don’t let the flavors clash. With that said, here are a few simple guidelines that will enhance the flavor of your food.


While contrasting flavors may be tricky, but when done right can reward you with a huge payoff. To make it work, pick a dish that has only one dominant flavor-rich, spicy, sweet or oily. This way the dominant flavor comes through really well when paired with a contrasting brew.

An example of this is pairing oysters with stouts. The briny flavor of the seafood serves as an excellent contrast to the chocolatey and rich flavor of the stout.


This one’s a 180-degree reversal to the above technique and is quite easy to pull off. Match beers and foods that have similar tastes to make for a delicious and crowd-pleasing pairing. For instance, by pairing beers like porters and stouts (that have a rich, heavy flavor) with rich creamy dishes, you make for a hearty, filling meal.

On the other hand, pairing light and fresh salads with light beers make for a refreshing pairing. Wheat and fruit beers make for the perfect complements to fruity desserts like tarts.


Another option is to use beer as a palate cleanser between courses. This works well when you’re serving foods that have intense flavors like fried foods and spicy Indian foods. For instance, pairing a light beer with tandoori fried chicken makes for a refreshing meal. Alternatively, you can use fatty foods like nuts, fish, and chips, to mask the bitterness of an IPA.

Avoid Overpowering

Finally, as stated above, don’t pair beer with foods to create overpowering flavors. Several dark and medium beers have strong flavors that overpower the flavor of your food, leaving you with a bland tasting meal.

For instance, pairing delicate salmon with a pint of Guinness means your guests will leave the table without tasting the actual flavors of the fish.

Understand the Styles of Beer to Create Excellent Pairings

Beers vary based on several attributes like – alcohol content, mouthfeel, color, taste and aroma. To make a good pairing, it’s essential to understand the different styles of beer.

Here’s a table that will help you make a quick pairing. Print this one and pin it up in your kitchen to help you while deciding on the menu.

Type of Beer Food Pairing
Lagers (Light) Salads, Burgers, Spicy Food
Lagers (Dark) Stews, Pizza, burgers
Wheat Beers Fruity Desserts and Spicy Curries and Starters
Indian Pale Ales (IPAs) Mexican food, BBQ, Steak
Amber Ales Fried Food, Pizzas
Brown Ales Fish, Sushi, Sausage
Stouts Mexican food, Shellfish, Chocolatey Desserts
Porters Red Meat, Seafood, Coffee Flavoured Desserts

Let’s take a closer look at how these Pairings Work:

Light Lagers

These drinks have a distinct pale-yellow color and refreshing taste. They don’t have a strong flavor and aren’t bitter or hoppy.

Pairings: They go well with spicy dishes. The clean and crisp flavors of these brews cut through the spiciness of the dish to provide relief from the heat.

Dark Lagers

Made with roasted malts, they usually have caramel syrup to sweeten the beer. The roasted malts give it a nutty flavor while the caramel lends small hints of sweetness.

Pairings: The roasted and nutty flavor of the malt makes for excellent pairings with sausages and stews. It also goes well with other crispy fast foods like burgers and pizza.

Wheat Beers

Made with a mixture of barley and wheat, this beer has a smooth texture and low carbonation. Since wheat doesn’t have much of a flavor, brewers add citrusy and other fruit flavors to the drink.

Pairings: The light flavor of this drink goes well with spicy dishes. Also, since wheat beers have fruity notes they also match with fruity desserts and pastries.

India Pale Ales (IPA)

With a medium, bright amber color, IPAs are known for their distinct bitter flavor. To make the bitterness palatable, brewers add herbal or citrus flavors to the drink.

Pairings: IPAs pair well with rich and greasy foods like mozzarella sticks, French fries, fried chicken and BBQ meats, because the richness of the food cuts through the bitterness of the drink.

Amber Ales

The colors of this beer range from a deep, reddish-gold to light amber. It has a strong flavor of malt, notes of sweet caramel and medium mouthfeel. However, they aren’t overwhelmingly sweet. It also has a light, flowery aroma from the hops with a crisp and dry finish.

Pairings: Due to the dry and crisp finish, they make for a good palate cleanser. Pizza, bar foods, smoked meats all pair excellently with amber ales.

Brown Ales

They aren’t bitter or hoppy and are characterized by slight hints of coffee and chocolate. Some types of English Brown Ales have a nutty flavor.

Pairings: They are highly versatile and work with all types of foods. Since they don’t have strong bitter flavors, they go well with delicate foods like sushi, fish and even rice.


Known for the dark roasted flavors and dark colors, stouts are one of the most popular styles. They often have low ABV, bitterness and are characterized by hints of chocolate and caramel. They are known for their smooth, silky finish.

Pairings: They go well with desserts due to their smooth textures. Rich, creamy desserts like chocolate truffles, puddings, and mousses, bring out the flavors of this brew.


With a signature dark color, roasted flavor and toasty aroma, porters have strong notes of coffee, caramel or chocolate. Porters have a crisper finish when compared to stouts.

Pairings: Since Porters have a deep and rich flavor, they work well with foods with a similar texture. Buttery crab legs, rich lobsters, BBQ meats all add to the depth of the porter.

The Last Word

Bookmark this page and check it out the next time you’re hosting a dinner party. Pair your brews with the best food options and bring out the flavors of both the drink and the food.
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