Some of you may be well aware that wine isn’t the only beverage that pairs wonderfully with food. And some of you may be surprised to discover that beer also serves to greatly enhance a meal.
Whether you’re a veteran or novice when it comes to beer and food pairings, you’re sure to appreciate the tips and suggestions below for pairing delicious winter foods with the right beer.
Tips for Pairing Beer and Food
When the cold weather moves in, strong beers like barley wines, imperial stouts and monk-made Belgian ales are excellent choices for pairing with both savory, hearty dishes and sweet desserts. As a general guideline, you’ll want to determine if the beer and food flavors will complement or contrast one another. Then balance the intensity of both the beer and food.
Here are some additional tips to help you come up with the perfect pairing:
- Sour beers work well with fatty cheeses
- Hoppy beers tend to make foods seem spicier
- Darker beers typically pair well with rich, heavy meals
- Complementary flavors work well together. For example, brown ales/darker ales with roasted flavors go well with grilled foods that have similar roasted or smoked flavors.
- Contrasting flavors also work well together, such as a sweet stout with a salty oyster dish.
- It’s very important to match the intensity of the beer with that of the food. Otherwise, one will end up overwhelming the other.
Great Beer and Food Pairing Suggestions for Winter
Try some of these winter beer and food pairings, recommended by Epicurious.
- Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale pairs well with blue cheese or a nutty pastry, like pecan pie. Contrary to its name, this barley “wine” doesn’t contain any grapes. However, it does have an elevated alcohol content, making it a strong and warming ale that’s perfect for winter.
- Brauerei Aying Ayinger Celebrator, with flavors of cocoa, dark fruit, and brown sugar, pairs beautifully with roasted pork and chocolate desserts. This strong, malt-sweet lager was originally developed by German monks for consumption during Lent.
- Stone Brewing Co. Imperial Russian Stout has flavors of coffee, anise, and cocoa, making it a great partner for brownies and other fudgy desserts, as well as duck, steak, and cream sauces.
Try out one or more of these pairings – or come up with your own – and let us know your thoughts! If you have any other tips for winter beer and food pairings, we’d love to hear them.