Beer and Food Pairing
14 August 2018
Red wine with red meat, white wine with fish, we all know that
wine and food are a great team, their complimenting flavours adding
to the overall experience, but I think it's fair to say that beer
and food pairing is a much less well-known idea. But where to
start? We've compiled a few links to help you out.
Beer, like wine, comes in a huge variety of styles and within
each style exist lots of beers each with subtle flavour
differences. Being able to taste beer 'properly' and identify these
flavours will make beer drinking a much more fulfilling experience.
Learning to taste beer takes a little practice worth it. Watch this
great tasting guide from the Craft Beer Channel -
Some terms to help you taste...
Many times people use "hoppiness" to describe how bitter a beer
tastes, but not all hoppy beers are bitter. The taste of a hoppy
beer depends on when the hops are added in the brewing process. The
earlier the hops are added, the more bitter the beer. Hops
themselves have a versatile flavour and aroma that can enhance
flowery and fruity flavours in the beer. Many breweries also rate
how bitter a beer is with an IBU number. IBU stands for
International Bitterness Units, and the higher the IBU, the
stronger the bitterness.
Malt comes from the barley grain, and it is usually roasted
before it is added to the brew. Roasting barley gives the beer a
nutty flavour and a toasty aroma. Plus, during the roasting
process, the sugars in the barley caramelize, bringing out a
slightly sweet, caramel taste.
While it may seem more like a description of the colour, dark
can also be used to describe how a beer tastes. Dark beers are made
with malt grain that is roasted until it reaches a dark colour.
Dark beers are typically roasted longer than malty beers, giving
them a richer and heavier taste. The malt's nutty, caramel flavour
turns to darker notes of chocolate and coffee with a longer roast
Light beer is usually known for having a clean and crisp taste
that is refreshing. Typically, light beers don't have a strong
flavour and aren't very bitter or hoppy. As a result, most light
beers also have a low alcohol content."
(The above from
Now to pair the beer with food. There's lots on the web but an
easy online resource to help is this page from There's a Beer For
That (https://www.beerforthat.com/beer-styles) it
gives you a nice rounded summary of the type of beer, including
possible food pairing .
Here are some basic tips...
Pairing food with beer that has a contrasting flavour can be a
dangerous game, but it can have big payoffs if done correctly. To
make an ideal pairing by contrast, you want to pick a beer or dish
that has one strong, dominant flavour, such as sweet, rich, or
oily. If a dish has flavours that are too complex or mild, the
flavours will muddle together. You want a dish that has a distinct
taste that can shine through without being overpowered. An example
of a good contrast pairing is oysters and stout. Oysters have a
strong, briny flavour that can stand up to the rich and chocolatey
flavour of the stout.
Complementing flavours is one of the simplest ways to make a
delicious food and beer pairing. Match rich foods with beers that
have a heavy and rich flavour, like stouts or porters. Pair
light-tasting salads and fish with light beers. Fruity and wheat
beers are the perfect complement to desserts like fruit tarts.
You can also use your beer as a palate cleanser. This type of
pairing is ideal for dishes that have strong or overpowering
flavours, like spicy Indian food or fatty fried food. For example,
a nice pairing would be a light beer with spicy Korean fried
chicken, as the refreshing beer provides needed relief from the
heat. This pairing also works in the opposite way, and you can use
fatty foods, such as French fries or nuts, to cut through the
bitterness of an IPA.
Keep in mind the levels of flavour in your food and beer. Many
medium and dark beers have a rich and powerful flavour that can
overpower certain types of food. For example, you wouldn't want to
pair salmon with a pint of Guinness because the flavour of the beer
will completely cover the taste of the fish."
(The above from
This guide from the Brewers Association is also really useful
and tells you all you need to know... https://www.brewersassociation.org/attachments/0000/2095/Beer_and_Food_Flyer_MDC.pdf
Some suggestions for our beers...
IPA / Smuggler / Zebedee - Roast chicken or pork, fish and
chips, burgers, Sausage and Mash.
Roasted Nuts - Roast beef, smoked and barbecued meat. Cheese and
Blonde - Chicken, salmon.
Gold - Great with spicy foods, peperoni pizza.
Red / Amber - Hearty foods, sausage, stews,
Lager - Chicken and fish dishes. Lighter foods.
24 Carat (Bottled) - Spicy food, curry or Mexican.
Black (Bottled) - Roasted or smoked foods. Stews
White (Bottled) - Classic with steamed mussels. Indian or Thai
For further reading here's a nice article from the Telegraph.
They have collaborated with Meantime Brewery but see what beers
they mention and then convert to Rebellion beer that is closest to
Having said all of this you could just dive in, try different
beers with different foods, see what works and what doesn't. Any
rules are meant to be broken, there are surely some combinations
that must be tasted to be believed.
Happy eating, drinking and exploring!