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How to Pair Beer with Food

Learn how to pair beer with food from expert Katherine Kyle in this Howcast video.


There is a very versatile beverage for pairing, some think even more so than wine. I, myself think so.

There are different principles that can be used when deciding which beers to pair with which foods, one of them is complimenting, where you want to compliment a certain flavor in the food with a certain flavor in the beer. Something like that might be, you know, some kind of sweet dessert item with a sweet stout and you're going to have that sweetness that, you know, works together to create a pleasant experience.

But another way to do it is to contrast, you know in that same situation you know you might have, you know, some very sweet dessert item, you know, like the frosting on a carrot cake, something like that, and then you'll have something like an IPA that is going to cut through that sweetness, and that might be a really pleasant experience for you because of the contrast that it brings out. You can use both of those principles, either complimenting or contrasting when you're looking at the different flavors involved in both the beer and the food that you want to pair.

One of the principles that I find important is that you don't want one to overwhelm the other, so in terms of intensity you want to keep it, you know, at that same level. So, if the food is light and delicate, you probably want a really light and delicate beer. The same thing if the food is, you know, rich and heavy, you probably want a really rich and heavy beer. You know the flavor profiles are where the play is in the pairing and even though there are, you know, some guidelines, there are no rules and you might, you know, stumble upon this pairing that to you is just absolutely perfect, and that is the right food pairing.

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