How to Pair Beer With Food
Just like with wine, a well done beer pairing can bring out the flavor complexity in both the beer and the food. Craft beer pairings are quickly becoming recognized as legitimate in the culinary world, although finding resources or a place to begin can feel overwhelming. If you’re looking to experiment with beer and food […]
Just like with wine, a well done beer pairing can bring out the flavor complexity in both the beer and the food. Craft beer pairings are quickly becoming recognized as legitimate in the culinary world, although finding resources or a place to begin can feel overwhelming. If you’re looking to experiment with beer and food pairings, consider the following:
Flavor Intensity: Make sure you choose beer that won’t overwhelm the flavor of your food and vice versa. Think of each item as an instrument in a band- if one is too loud, you won’t be able to hear anything else, but if they’re played at the same volume, you can end up with perfect harmony that couldn’t be achieved by each instrument on its own. Make sure you’re pairing the most dominant flavors (i.e. the bitterness of the beer or the richness of a sauce), so that one flavor doesn’t become overwhelming.
Lagers vs. Ales: Lagers tend to have a crisp, clean finish while ales usually use more additive ingredients, adventurous hops, and flavorful yeast. Lagers typically pair like white wines, so try them with either very light or very fatty foods. Ales, much like red wine, can stand up to the bold flavors of red meat, roasted vegetables, and chocolate.
Hops and Acid: Think of hops as tannins or acid- they cut through spice, oil, and richness without erasing any flavor. For example, a pale ale with balanced hop bitterness pairs like a lightly acidic pinot noir; we recommend pairing with pork, caramel, and carrots. More bitter IPA’s go well with foods that pair with Argentinian malbecs, like chili con carne, spaghetti Bolognese, or fajitas. And big, bold barleywines pair like cabernet sauvignon; try with braised lamb, oregano, and pesto.
Complementary vs. Contrasting Flavors: Complement or contrast your flavors. For example, you could complement a coffee stout with tiramisu, or you could contrast a very bitter IPA with spicy Pad Thai. Complementary flavors bring out refined, subtle flavors in both the food and the beer, while contrasting flavors exaggerate the differences in each. In general, contrasting flavors are:
- Savory and sweet
- Sweet and sour
- Sour and salty
- Bitter and spicy
Keep your dessert sweet, but your beer sweeter: And finally, when pairing beer with dessert, make sure the dessert is not sweeter than the beer, otherwise you’ll lose the nuance of the beer’s flavor in the saccharine sweetness of the food. Choose fruit based beers, like a Kriek beer, with a light or fruit-forward dessert, or choose a more robust stout or porter with creamy or chocolate desserts.
If you’re looking to pair Crazy Mountain beer with your next meal, we recommend:
Creedence Pilsner with fish, sweet bell peppers, or angel hair pasta.
Hibiscus Sour Ale with hummus, white pizza, or potato chips.
Old Soul Belgian Golden Strong Ale with tangy goat cheese, poultry, risotto, or shortbread cookies.
Mountain Livin’ Pale Ale with bacon, fresh jalapenos, or mild cheddar cheese.
Hookiebobb IPA with sharp cheddar grilled cheese, bahn mi, or strip steak.
Chocolate Peanut Butter Stout with brie, dark fruit, and of course chocolate!