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How To Pair Beer With Food

High-end beer is the new wine, so impress your friends by learning to pair it perfectly with food.


  • TIP: When deciding which foods and beers to pair, consider the beer’s carbonation. Fully carbonated beers hold up well with rich foods like sausages, because they refresh the palate for the next bite.
  • Step 1: Having a hamburger? Think Hamburg—Germany! Teutonic brews like a Kolsch, a Rauchbier (or “Smoke beer”), or a Düsseldorf Altbier are the gourmand’s choices for this humble repast.
  • Step 2: There are dessert wines; why not dessert beers? Chocolate treats pair well with an Imperial Stout, while fruity desserts like pies and tarts go nicely with a Belgian Tripel. Bottoms up!
  • FACT: Some after-dinner drinks, such as Madeira and sherry, are more like beer than wine because of the nuttiness brought out by the oxidation process.
  • Step 3: A dish with intense flavor, like Shepherd’s Pie or a hearty stew, calls for a brew with equally rich notes—in this case the chocolate and raisin tones of a Baltic porter beer.
  • Step 4: Ordering a lobster? Forget the fancy wine; this succulent shellfish will be delectable with either a stout or a Bohemian pilsner.
  • Step 5: For chicken and turkey, the experts recommend Kolsch, a light, crisp, and smooth specialty beer made in Cologne, Germany.
  • TIP: If your local distributor doesn’t carry a beer you want, chances are you can order it online.
  • Step 6: The lightness of grilled fish calls for a pairing with a delicate Belgian wheat beer, like a Hefeweizen, which has a hint of orange peel and coriander.
  • Step 7: If you’re serving steak, pair it with a beer that has lots of malt and some bitterness, like a British IPA.

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