Sometimes, there’s nothing more refreshing than a nice cold beer, but what do you do when you want to eat good food and your beverage is acting as more of a distraction than an enjoyable element of your meal? Well, just as wine can be paired with foods, this can too, so let’s take a look at what to mix with beer.
Selecting the right beer by flavour
There are different types of beer on the market and a host of brands that you will already be familiar with. With the rise in popularity of craft beers, it’s now easier than ever to select the right one when eating out. With this in mind, here is a quick rundown of the tastes/varieties on offer:
Malts typically provide a toasted, nutty flavor. They can be more on the sweet side, often with a light, caramel taste.
As the name may suggest, light options often have a lower alcohol percentage than their counterparts and provide a cleaner, more crisp flavour profile. These are better known for being the least bitter-tasting varieties out there.
Dark beers are not just dark in colour, but they are often richer in taste due to the brewing process. As these are also made using malt grain, they will have a similar flavour to traditional malts, but with a more chocolaty/coffee undertone.
While many varieties can be described as bitter, this is widely accepted as a flavour profile in its own right. Breweries have a specific rating system known as International Bitterness Units (or IBU) and the higher a beer features on this scale, the more bitter it will be.
Beers made with hops tend to have a more distinct flavour profile than other varieties and this can often be described as on the bitter side. When beer is your preferred beverage, those brewed with hops are typically more versatile and fruity in flavor.
The best beer and food pairings based on flavour profiles
The good news is that aren’t any specific rules when pairing beer and food, so you can experiment and find what works best for you. Having said that, be sure to consider whether the one you choose compliments what you are eating without overpowering the flavours you really want to enjoy. A good rule of thumb is to either match food tastes or go for opposites. Here are some of our top suggestions:
- Lights work on both ends of the spectrum and pair best with both spicy foods and salads
- Wheat beers also work well with spicy foods, but can be a great choice for fruit-based desserts
- Hops tend to pair well with light-tasting, fatty fish like tuna and salmon, while malts go well with sushi
- Darks are great for greasier, heavier foods like burgers
A great tip to know is that all beers pair well with cheese, so you won’t have to sacrifice your favourite beer in favour of wine when the platter comes out!