In general think about pairing the intensity of the beer with the intensity of the food – lighter beers like pale ales and pilsners with appetizers and salads; heavier beers like stouts with hearty, rich main meals. Think about the main flavors in the beer (malty, hoppy, nutty, citrus, fruity, etc.) and pair them with the main flavors in your meal (roasted, spicy, savory, buttery, sweet, etc.).
It also gives some examples of pairing beer with food:
- Pale Ales – Salads, light appetizers, fish and seafood
- India Pale Ales (IPAs) – IPAs can stand up to a little more richness and flavor. They can go well with things like pulled pork, pizza, and fried chicken, as well as lighter salads and seafood dishes. And if you like heat, try an IPA with spicy food – the hoppiness really pumps up the spice quotient!
- Hefeweizens and Wheat Beers – Fruit dishes, dinner salads, grain salads, and desserts made with warm spices (cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg).
- Amber Ales – Ambers are a good middle-of-the-road beer and go well with just about anything: burgers, grilled cheese, roast chicken, soups and stews
- Stouts and Porters – Barbecue, stews, braised dishes – any kind of meat dish, really. Also rich desserts with chocolate and espresso flavors.