Which beer with which meal? Best tips for beer with food pairings


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Beer with food – This is about more than just “creating the basis”. This is about the best food with a good beer – or the best beer with a good meal. Find out more about beer & food pairings below

There are hoppy and sweet beers and savory and sweet foods. Beer is traditionally drunk with food. Depending on the menu selection, you are faced with the tricky question of which beer goes with it. If you serve an unsuitable beer, excellent food cannot come into its own. Because beer goes well not only with schnitzel and French fries, but also with the exclusive gourmet menu. Find out more about beer with food pairings below.

Beer with food: Why is beer served with food?

Beer has a range of aromas that far surpasses that of wine. Because with beer you have the opportunity to create a contrast to the food or to use the drink to support the meal. Beer can be salty, sweet, tart, flavored or even sour. This gives you plenty of options and even more opportunities to experiment. No matter what you serve, there is guaranteed to be the right beer for it. And that’s the reason why you should serve beer with your meal.

beer with food

Basic tips for the right beer to go with your meal

As with wine, there are basic recommendations for combining food and beer enjoyment. You can stick to it or not, or you can use it as a guide. Here are some basic tips for a great beer menu:

  • Spicy food goes particularly well with a high alcohol content in the beer. A concise note of hops makes the spiciness of the food pleasantly tingling.
  • Fish, salads and dishes with light sauces impress with their lightness. They keep them with a sour beer. The rule is: What goes well with white wine also goes well with a sour beer.
  • Sweet delicacies can be accentuated with roasted aromas in the beer.
  • Cheese and desserts are nicely rounded off with a sweet beer.

In general, one can say: like and like join together and opposites give the menu a certain tension. Here you just have to make sure that the opposites do not become too strong. How you like it is of course up to you.

Because beer is an excellent accompaniment to food, if only because its taste spectrum is overwhelmingly large: From sweet to fruity, bitter (anyway) to roasted coffee, everything is included.

  • Carbonated beers are the perfect accompaniment to greasy dishes because carbonic acid frees the tongue and palate and loosens up heavy food
  • Hoppy, i.e. bitter, beers surprisingly go well with spicy foods. And go perfectly with smoked food and all dishes from the smoker.
  • Sweet beers go well with sweet dishes. Not only, but especially good.
  • Roasted beers can also go well with sweet dishes (pro tip: smoked beer and cheesecake!)
  • Sour beers are a good idea with fish
beer with food

The best beer with food menu

If you are not only looking for a beer to go with a certain meal, but want to accompany several courses with different beers (great idea, btw), you should never let the following rules of thumb go through your head under all circumstances and always apply rules of thumb:

  • the first beer should always be the lightest (if possible); you increase your revolutions during the meal (that only makes sense because you don’t want to lie under the table until after dessert)
  • the first beer should always be the most sparkling one (if possible) – the principle of champagne is justified
  • the last beer is the sweetest (mostly)
  • the last beer is the darkest (often)


Which beer to eat?

Before making a structured choice, you first have to consider which very coarse flavors you can find in beer. All, actually, almost. Below are some essentials to guide you:

Beer tasteFood
Dry (Pils, light lager …)Grains (such as risottos), but also fish and seafood
Malty & sweet (light, blonde etc.)White meat (chicken etc.), legumes
Hoppy & bitter (pale ale, IPA …)hot fried meat dishes, spicy dishes (curries etc.)
Fruity & spicy (yeast wheat, seasonal or similar)Shellfish and vegetables
Sweet & Roasted (various stouts, Doppelbock, etc.)Desserts or stews or hearty roasts
Herb & roasted (dry stout, porter etc.)Sweet vegetables such as carrots, beetroot or mushrooms, onions from the oven
Sour (Berliner Weisse, Lambic etc.)can go well with desserts that lack fruity acidity; also to fish

Principle equal and equal vs. opposites

Beer can be sweet, sour, bitter, rarely salty (Gose etc.) or spicy (chilli beers) and very occasionally you will also find beers with umami. Assuming that you can already start thinking about beer & food pairings: Either you pair the same with the same or conscious opposites.

A full-bodied, sweet milk stout can turn wonderfully into a chocolate pudding. Or – not so secret insider tip: A Schneider Weisse Aventinus with vanilla ice cream. Together. In a bowl. Dried berry-sweet barley wines also work in the same way with the opposite, spicy-spicy blue cheese.

What you shouldn’t combine, however: is aromas! Particularly powerful, aroma-intensive beers are not a good accompaniment to particularly aroma-intensive dishes. In the end, both of them lose out.

Inspiration for your beer with food meal planning

Of course, the joke about the whole beer-to-dinner theme is that you try out a lot yourself. Not every beer & food pairing is a stunner, just like not every Tinder date is great (although I would be carried away by the thesis that the go-in-the-toilet rate for craft beer pairing is less high …). Sometimes you just have to learn from mistakes: Have a handful of rubber bears in your mouth and quickly wash down the last sip of barrel-aged stock ale? Bah!

A few combos that have proven themselves and can be repeated at any time, just here for inspiration:

Beef short ribs or pork shoulder from the BBQ(Baltic) Porter
Thai curryWest Coast IPA (also double or imperial)
Steak friescamp
Citizenspale Ale
Petit GâteauBarrel-Aged beers
Goat cheeseLambic
saladWheat beer
beer with food

The best beer and food pairings for every occasion

Food pairing deals with the best and most exciting combinations of food and drinks. Beer with its many variations can be an interesting match player who is also able to beat the wine.

Die-hard wine lovers should from time to time replace the wine with a suitable beer when they eat. Because no matter whether it’s beer with food or food with beer – hardly any other drink is so varied in taste. Below are high-end beer with food pairings that work.

Food pairing: beer with dinner – this is how it works

In order to find out which beer goes with which food, you can of course test yourself through all types of beer and try them in combination with certain meals – absolutely nothing speaks against it. I want to make it a little easier though. Therefore, here is a short crash course on which types of beer go perfectly with which type of dish:

1. Hoppy / bitter beers

Beers: IPA and Pils

Dishes: spicy foods, fatty foods

Beers such as Pils or IPA, which are characterized by their particularly hoppy taste and the associated tendency to have a bitter aroma, go surprisingly well with spicy dishes as they round off the spiciness. So next time you go to eat Asian or Mexican spicy food, you can confidently reach for a classic, hoppy beer.

IPA and Pils are also some of the particularly carbonated beers. Carbonated beers are perfect for accompanying particularly heavy and fatty foods. They “loosen up” heavy dishes in the mouth with the sparkling carbon dioxide and make them easier to eat.

2. Sweet beers

Beers: Scout, Doppelbock

Dishes: sweet dishes, desserts, red meat

If you prefer something a little sweeter, you can of course combine sweet with sweet. That always fits well. Sweet beers can also be enjoyed with various main dishes and, with their malty sweetness, go great with white meat, for example. Variations with a stronger roasted aroma, on the other hand, complement stews and roasts perfectly.

3. Sour beers

Beers: Geuze, Gose, Lambic, Kriek

Dishes: white meat, fish

Sour beers have a similar flavor profile to white wine, which is why they go very well with white meat or fish. A rather sour beer can also be combined excellently with seafood.

4. Malty dark beers

Beers: Brown Ale, Amber Lager

Dishes: Italian cuisine, fast food

When you think of Italian cuisine, you first think of pizza. With real Italian pizza with a thinner base, which does not disappear into the topping and is preferably gratinated with Parmesan, different guns have to be deployed than is the case with the American pizza version. A dark amber lager goes well with traditional Italian pizza.

If you – like me – always opt for pasta when in doubt, you can enjoy a wide range of possible combinations, because here the sauce decides on the perfect alcoholic companion. I recommend a dark Alt beer with meaty and baked pasta variations.

5. Fruity and spicy beers

Beers: Hefeweizen, in season

Dishes: light meals

The classic wheat beer or the increasingly popular season are fine examples of beers that are characterized by their fruity-spicy note. They go best with light dishes such as salads (with vinegar and oil, not mayo dressing!) And vegetable variations. Fruity and spicy beers harmonize perfectly with both the light sweetness and the acidity of some vegetables. They therefore go particularly well with dishes with classic tomato sauce.

6. Voice aromatic beers

Biere: Dry Stout, Porter

Dishes: sweet dishes or sweet vegetables, meat

Roasted beers can go well with different dishes depending on the combination aroma. An aromatic roast beer with a sweet taste goes well with desserts, roasts and stews. If the taste is a bit bitter, sweet vegetables such as beetroot, carrots or sweet potatoes can be combined excellently.

Our recommendations for the individual courses

  • A starter usually consists of a salad or soup. A light beer or a wheat beer would be a good choice.
  • These types of beer also taste best with a main course with fish or poultry, as they are light and easily digestible dishes.
  • Of course, a Kölsch or an export can also be selected.
  • The exception is, however, with fried fish, which can even be served with a Pilsener or a dark lager.
  • The more hearty and strong dishes include stew, game, dark poultry, a roast and of course the steak as well as a hearty pork knuckle. These literally call for spicy beer. Therefore, a bock beer or a black beer can confidently be drunk with it.

Beer instead of coffee for dessert

When it comes to dessert, however, you should switch to the light, light types of beer , such as wheat beer or Kölsch . These varieties taste good with compote and equally well with ice cream.

It would be tempting to forego the traditional coffee for dessert and end the meal with the beer.

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