words Alexa Wang
For many years wine has been a firm favourite to complement everything from home cooking to gourmet restaurant dishes, while beer has been seen as something to enjoy alone, or perhaps alongside a greasy plate of chips at the pub.
If you’re a fan of beer, chances are you’ve ordered one many times to drink alongside a burger or a pizza. However, did you know beer can be paired beautifully with a number of dishes, from chicken to seafood and even steak? That’s right, there’s no need to order a glass of red to complement your ribeye! A tasty craft beer could do the job just as well.
Let’s explore some of the best beer and food pairings that might surprise you.
One of the most liked types of beer across the globe, pale lager is dry and slightly bitter, with just a touch of sweetness to balance it out. Versatile in terms of food pairings, the popular beer goes well with anything from pizza to seafood. Pair a pale lager such as Pilsner or Helles with lightly herbed chicken. Its subtle sweetness is the ideal complement for the delicate dish.
IPAs are a popular choice for beer lovers and have grown increasingly common over the past decade. Hoppy and veering towards the bitter side, they offer intense flavours with overtones of citrus, elderflower or tropical fruits and a sweetness reminiscent of sticky caramel. The boldness of an IPA pairs well with similarly powerful flavours. Spicy foods are a particularly good match for an IPA, think curries or Mexican dishes.
Dark in colour with rich flavours and undertones of chocolate, stout is thicker and creamier than the majority of beers. It has a strong presence of malt and is sweeter in taste than hops. The luxurious texture and flavour of stout means it complements rich, extravagant tasting dishes like a good quality steak. Another popular pairing for the sweet beer is shellfish. Calamari, clams and scallops all pair nicely with the decadent taste of stout.
Wheat beers are similar to lager, light in colour and offering a subtle taste which doesn’t overpower the food it’s served alongside. As with most light beers, lighter cuisine makes the most complementary match for wheat beer, so serve it with salads, light soups, chicken, and seafood to make the most of its gentle flavour.
Rich in flavour and malt, amber ales have undertones of caramel or sometimes fruit which add a delicious hint of sweetness. The strong flavours of amber ales make them the perfect choice to pair with grilled meats including burgers, sausages, ribs, and chicken, so be sure to have some in the fridge next time you’re planning to fire up the barbeque!