According to the Brewers Association, there are a few principles for matching great beer and food. Paying attention to the following tips will help make pairing beer and food easier. See also their chart.
Match flavor strengths: Bold flavored foods are best suited with strong beers and delicate dishes go well with fine light beers.
Complimentary combinations: Beer and food that share similar flavor and aromatic elements will naturally pair well.
Seasonality: During the warm months match light beers with light foods and in cold months full flavored beers with heartier meals.
Types of beer – Lager vs. Ale: Lager beer is pale, dry, light and refreshing and pairs week with white meats, fish, fried or spicy Latin and Asian dishes. Ales are robust, flavorful and higher in alcohol content. Ales pair well with hearty red meat dishes, wild game, sausage and stews.
Quick Tasting & Serving Suggestion Guide
Taste: Amber colored, dry, crisp and flowery with some bitterness
Serve with: any kind of fish as well as fried and spicy foods
Taste: Mild and frothy
Serve with: Appetizers, Spicy Latin dishes or Asian cuisine
Taste: Rich malty flavor and slightly sweet
Serve with: Grilled chicken and sausage dishes
Taste: Dry and a little bitter with a hint of fruit
Serve with: Steak, prime rib or roast beef
Taste: Copper colored ale full bodied, sweet and malty
Serve with: Red meat, wild game and sausage
Taste: Malt and bittersweet chocolate flavor
Serve with: Hearty soup, stews or meats with dark sauces
Taste: Darkest in color has a range of flavors from sweet to bitter almost burnt tasting and a distinct malt and caramel taste.
Serve with: Hearty stews, wild game or shellfish
Just in time for St. Patrick’s Day, here is a recipe from Bon Appetit
Irish Cheddar and Stout Fondue
- 2 cups 1- to 1 1/2-inch-diameter red-skinned potatoes, halved
- 2 cups cauliflower florets
- 2 cups very small brussels sprouts
- 2 apples, cored, cut into wedges
- 1 pound Irish cheddar cheese, grated (my favorite is Dubliner Irish Cheddar)
- 2 1/2 tablespoons all purpose flour
- 3/4 cup (or more) Irish stout (such as Guinness)
- 6 tablespoons frozen apple juice concentrate, thawed
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
Steam all vegetables until tender, about 15 minutes. Arrange vegetables and apples around edge of large platter.
Meanwhile, toss cheese with flour in large bowl. Bring 3/4 cup stout, juice concentrate, and mustard to simmer in large saucepan over medium heat. Gradually add cheese mixture, stirring constantly, until cheese is melted and smooth, thinning with more stout, if desired. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer fondue to bowl. Place in center of platter with vegetables.
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