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Beer and Food  

While it’s true that beer goes down great all on its own, and is an excellent accompaniment to a plate of nachos, it’s also a versatile and interesting accompaniment to even the finest foods.

Which food with which beer?

First decide whether the beer should contrast or complement the flavor of a dish. With some exceptions, a beer with a stronger flavor is a better match for stronger-tasting food. It's important to remember that some beers are made to be consumed on their own. A light, thirst-quencher may lack the personality to contribute to a meal, while heavier winter ales may seem unpalatably sweet with anything more complex than nuts or salty snacks.

With… Try…

Smoked beer, steam, ale or pale ale, porter.

These beers are medium to heavily bodied, with good bitterness to stand up to the strong flavors of barbecued food. While these beers are bitter, they are also full of malt and the porters are somewhat roasty and often coffee-like. The ale and pale ale are fruity and go well with all meats.


Mexican gold and amber lagers, Chinese beer.
It is no accident that most Mexican beer is in the Vienna lager style. A rich malty, roasty beer that absorbs the heat and provides a great counterpart to burritos.


Malty dry beers like domestic lagers and brown ales.
Brown ales go great with pizza. Brown ale tends to be lighter in body and sweeter
than pale ales, and more delicate in flavor.

Wheat beer, dry lager, dry pilsner.

Delicate fish need delicate light beers. Wheat beers have a unique tartness to them which are more appropriate before a meal. Pilsners and light lagers are excellent with fish.

Lager. Roast chicken, any lighter lager or pilsner or brown ale or pale ale.

Almost anything works with chicken. The method of preparation makes a big difference too.

Steam, malty amber or ale, dry porter.

Turkey and heavier fish need a stronger beer than chicken and lighter fish.

Pale ale, full fruity dark ale or amber ale.

There is no better pairing of food and beer than a roast beef or steak with an English Bitter or a porter (porterhouse steak!). Hearty beers for hearty meats. The heavier body and bitterness of these beers just seems to blend wonderfully with beef.

Lambic, Belgian fruit lambic. Fruit- flavored lambics, framboise (raspberries), kriek (cherries), peche (peach) are wonderful with fruit.

Very dry and tart. Also wheat beers work well.

Belgian trappist dark ales, cream stout, oatmeal stout, imperial stout, double bock, scotch ale.

All heavy and sweet. The imperial stout needs something like chocolate; it is quite bitter and heavy. In fact, all these beers could be dessert themselves.


The general rule of thumb is to substitute a lager where you would otherwise serve a white wine, and offer an ale of substance instead of a red. Fruit beers complement a dessert, and a bock beer is just as good (and just as strong) as a glass of port afterward.