Beer & Food Pairings

Beer Pairing Categories:

Lighter ales for lighter meals.

Just as you choose certain wines to go with certain foods, the same principle applies with beer. Lighter-style beers enhance lighter meals like seafood, chicken, salads, casseroles and pastas.

Ales, on the other hand show more body and malty sweetness, so they tend to complement foods that are roasted, broiled or barbecued. Even chicken or turkey will benefit from light ales when they’re roasted.

Heavier ales for red meats and game.

The heavier ales, rich in malt, pair best with red meats and game. If they’re extremely dark and heavy, you can enjoy them on their own after a meal as dessert. Basically, the greater the intensity of cooking the food undergoes, the heavier the beer that can be served with it.

Not sure what type of beer to serve with your meal? Here’s a good rule of thumb to follow: The lighter the cooking, the lighter the beer. The more roasted the food, the more roasted the malt (in other words, go with a darker ale).

Beer and Cheese Pairings:

Cheese TypeBeer Type
Fresh, very soft cheeses that are uncooked and unripe or barely ripened. For example, cottage cheese, cream cheese and ricottaMellow beers, wheat beers or lagers
Soft, spreadable cheeses, such as Camembert or Brie that have bloomy rindsPilseners, pale ales and porters
Semi-soft cheeses including many monastic cheeses and washed-rind cheeses. Good examples are Gouda, Havarti, Colby or Monterey Jack Brown ales, amber ales, bitters and Belgian pale ales
Semi-hard, sliceable cheese as Cheddar, Edam or JarlsbergPilseners, extra-special bitters and IPAs
Hard cheese is very firm, grainy, cooked and pressed or grating cheeses as ParmesanStrong ales or doppelbocks, stouts or porters
Blue vein, marbled cheese, strong flavoured and crumbly, including Roquefort, St. Gorgonzola, and other blues Stronger porters, stout, heavier dark beers such as old ales and imperial stouts
Goat cheese, Roquefort, Romano and fetaIPAs, brown ales, stouts and porters
Pasta filata (the stretched curd cheeses of Italy, such as mozzarella and provolone)Belgian wits, Bavarian whites and heavier Bavarian wheats
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