Beer and food matching

Quick guide to beer and food matching

by Great British Chefs 16 November 2015

Wine and food matching has long been a huge part of the dining experience, but not many of us would think to do the same with beers. With the recent surge of interest in craft beers, we offer a quick guide to matching some classic beer styles with your favourite foods.

Great British Chefs is a team of passionate food lovers dedicated to bringing you the latest food stories, news and reviews.

Great British Chefs is a team of passionate food lovers dedicated to bringing you the latest food stories, news and reviews as well as access to some of Britain’s greatest chefs. Our posts cover everything we are excited about from the latest openings and hottest food trends to brilliant new producers and exclusive chef interviews.

India pale ales

The high hop content of IPAs means that they are great pairings for more rambunctious dishes. A higher alcohol content and rich flavour of American IPAs in particular make them stunning partners to spice; try matching a wonderfully citrusy and pine-aroma Sienna Nevada Torpedo Extra IPA with Danny Kingston’s Cochinita pibil with pickled onions – a wonderful marriage of rich, unctuous meat, a whack of sour lime and beautiful heat will make the ideal pairing for this big, bold IPA.

Sour beers

Sour beers have been enjoying a revival in popularity recently, with many breweries experimenting with different styles using the wild yeasts that create such a distinctive flavour. The breadth of flavours is wide, with some sour beers tasting more oaky and yeasty while others, such as London Sour by The Kernel, possess a lip pursing, citrussy quality. Match it with seafood for a beautiful combination – William Drabble’s sea bass recipe would be an ideal match, thanks to the sweetness of the Mediterranean vegetables and fresh basil oil. Oakier, yeastier beers would work well with a range of cold cuts and particularly strong cheese.

Stouts and porters

Stouts are the warm hug of the beer world. With toasted malts giving the bulk of the flavour, stouts can taste smoky and bitter, or comforting notes of vanilla, chocolate and coffee. A beautiful smoky porter like Beavertown Smog Rocket is great with robust, meaty dishes like Josh Eggleton’s Barbecued sticky ribs, while stronger, more chocolatey stouts such as Thornbridge Imperial Raspberry Stout would make a fantastic pairing to a rich dessert, like Shaun Rankin’s chocolate and walnut tart recipe.

Wheat beers

Wheat beer is fantastically versatile when it comes to food pairing. While some brews have a strong aroma of bananas, others offer subtle flavours of coriander and clove. A wonderful, zestier beer such as Camden Brewery’s Gentleman’s Wit would make a marvellous match with Pierre Koffmann’s crab salad recipe, where the flavours of lemon and bergamot will blend beautifully with the salty crab, creamy avocado and zesty grapefruit.

For more ideas on matching beers and foods, have a look at There’s A Beer For That.