Beer and Food Pairing Guide

Beer pairs remarkably well with food. The myriad of flavors, along with attributes like bitterness, mouth-feel, and ABV allow the barley beverage to enhance darn near any chow. In fact, many incognito Sommeliers will admit that beer complements cuisine better than vino.

Try and match flavors with similar intensity, it’s obviously important not to overpower one with the other. Let your palate be the guide and explore pairing on your own, that is half the fun. Also there’s certainly nothing wrong with pairing a food you really enjoy along side a favorite brew, no matter what the guidelines say.


Here’s a list of popular beer styles and the foods I choose to enjoy them with:

Pale Ale: A light and versatile brew with some modest bitterness and hop flavors.

Goes best with: Burgers, bratwurst, sandwiches, pork, aged gouda and manchego cheeses, pizza, peanuts, and most anything really.


Belgian Wit: Soft, light-bodied, and delicate Belgian ale with orange and coriander spice notes.

Goes best with: Chicken, fish, shrimp, pork, salmon, fruit, salads, gruyere cheese, and dark chocolate.


Hefeweizen/wheat ales: A refreshing, light-bodied beer with tart and fruity yeast notes.

Goes best with: Fruit, salads, seafood, mascarpone and chevre cheeses, shrimp, and light fish.


India Pale Ale: This medium bodied ale is hop-forward, bitter, and usually full of citrus and/or floral flavor.

Goes best with: Spicy foods like Mexican, Thai, Indian cuisine, and buffalo wings. Also goes great with blue cheese and gorgonzola.


Red/Amber Ales: Malt-forward ales with some balancing hop character and toasted malt flavors. Versatile and food friendly.

Goes best with: Barbecue-ribs, steak, burgers, beef brisket, pulled pork, stews, pizza, Italian dishes, aged gouda and pepper jack cheeses, nuts, and sandwiches.


Brown Ales: Smooth, malt-forward ales with some chocolate and caramel notes.

Goes best with: Stews, steaks, roasts, smoked sausage, bratwurst, sandwiches, toffee, and farmer cheeses.


Porters: Medium-bodied, moderately bitter dark ales with caramel and burnt malt flavors.

Goes best with: Grilled meats, steak, hamburgers, smoked sausage, bratwurst, smoked almonds, ice cream, and aged cheddar.


Stouts: Dark, moderately bitter, full bodied ales with roasted malt, coffee, and burnt malt flavors.

Goes best with: Steaks, beef brisket, stews, ribs, smoked meats, ice cream, rich sweet desserts, dark chocolate, and aged cheddar.