Creating a Delicious Dining Experience with Beer

By Marty Nachel, Steve Ettlinger

Part of Beer For Dummies Cheat Sheet

Beer makes an excellent accompaniment to many different foods. The following beer and food pairing tips can help enhance your overall dining experience:

  • A very general rule is to think of lagers as the beer equivalent to white wine and ales as the red wine equivalent.

  • The best pairings occur when beer is used to either cut, contrast, or complement the dish. For example, a hoppy India Pale Ale cuts through the oiliness of duck or lamb, a malty Märzenbier or Vienna Lager contrasts the heat of a 5-alarm chili, and a rich Imperial Stout nicely complements fudge brownies.

  • Drink light-bodied beers before eating; save fuller bodied beers for dessert or for after the meal.

  • Lighter bodied and colored lagers pair well with delicate fish; malty, amber-colored beers pair well with chicken; hoppy Pale Ales mate well with pork and lamb; dark Porters and Stouts complement hearty beef dishes — especially when grilled.