Forget about pairing your white wines with whatever type of food goes with white wine. We’re here to talk beer!
Finding foods that go with beer isn’t as easy as “white beers for fish” or “red beers for steak.” Alas, if only it were that easy. Beers are complex, and different styles can have wildly different flavors.
Honestly, the flavor from one IPA to another IPA can be so different that it’s tough to accept that they are both IPAs.
The best we can do is generalize the styles and find out what works well with them. Don’t worry, you don’t need to sit down and come up with your own pairing list – I’ve done it for you.
The trusty ale should be paired with trusty foods, and nothing is trustier than a hamburger. Also, good with ales are just about any fried food, anything with nuts, cheddar cheese, nachos…basically anything that you’d find on a traditional pub menu.
I’m not sure how anyone can make room in their stomach while drinking barley wine, but the only way to pair with this has to be a dessert. Something decadent and small might be good, like a cheesecake, something with cinnamon or even cookies. Just grab some dessert!
Light beers like hefeweizens deserve lighter fare. Any type of salad should go well with a hefe, as well as different types of fruits. There’s a reason people put citrus in hefes, you know!
Lagers are going to be your closest thing to white wine, and by that, I mean you should drink a lager if you’re eating seafoods, sushi, shellfish, etc. Also, good with a lager: chicken and spicy foods, as well as many pasta dishes.
The bitterer brother of the ale, IPAs are going to pair well with the same foods as ales. I’d also say that spicy food work well with IPAs since the bitter hoppy flavor and the spice can really pack a 1-2 punch.
Like lagers, pilsners will go better with seafood than most beers. However, if you’re planning a salmon dinner then you should definitely pick a pilsner. Spicy foods pair will with pilsners as well, so Mexican or Asian dishes with spice will taste even better.
Anything that feels heavy should go with a porter. Chili, barbecue and most meats are going to be good compliments to the classic porter style.
Because stouts and porters have so much in common, you can easily get away with substituting one for the other in a beer pairing. Since stouts can sometimes run a little sweet, salty foods might taste particularly good.