Beer Pairing Fun: Your Guide To Pairing Craft Beer With Your Meals

Pairing wine with food is an art form to many people, but what about pairing craft beer with food? More than $100 billion is spent on beer every year in the United States, and nearly $20 billion of it is spent on craft beer, so why not enjoy it to its fullest? Get the most out of your beer by pairing it with foods that will enhance the flavor of both your beer and your meal.


Just like wine, different types of craft beer pair well with different types of foods. Once you learn which types of craft beer and food go together, you can have fun experimenting with your meals. Clean and crisp beers such as amber lager and Bohemian-style beers go well with grains. These are perfect for washing down wild rice or a cream risotto. The clean and crisp flavors will remain light on your palate while balancing the grain and hops on your tongue.


If you're going out for shellfish, ask for a fruity or spicy beer. Try a German-style Hefeweizen or a Belgian-Style Saison. These beers will bring out the natural sweetness and the saltiness in the shellfish while simultaneously cleansing your palate. They're also sensational with crab, lobster, clams, and scallops.

Meats & Roots

Rich meats and root vegetables are probably foods that you eat on a regular basis. It can be something as simple as steak and potatoes or as elegant as lamb and parsnips. Both meals pair well with the same types of beer. For these meals, you will want to drink something tart and funky, such as Belgian-style Flanders or an American Brett. The beer will add earthy notes to the food that rest on the center of your palate and make your already delicious meal taste even better.

Game Birds & Grains

Game birds and specialty grains pair well with different beers than the common grains such as wild rice. For food such as duck and quail with a side of farro or quinoa, you will want to drink a bitter beer or something with a strong hops flavor. These include American Pale Ale and American Brown Ale. These beers complement the gamey flavor, and the fat from game birds will neutralize hoppy flavor of the beer.


Pork is a type of food that can go with many different types of beer. Pork is fatty and salty with a bit of sweetness, and these many flavors go with bitter and hoppy beer or fruity and sweet beer. You can try an Imperial India Pale Ale or a Belgian-Style Dubbel and see which you like best. You might want to try something hoppy with a sausage but fruity with a tenderloin. The intensity in the pork saltiness and fat will pair well with the characteristics of a strong beer.

Braised Meat & Chocolate

Braised meats and chocolate are both strong and creamy, and they both go well with the same types of beer. These include malty and sweet beer like a German-Style bock or a dark and roasty beer such as Baltic-style porter. Some delicious meals to try with these beers would be braised short ribs with chocolate bread pudding for dessert.


Many beers go well with other dessert foods as well. Creamy desserts such as ice cream, cheesecake, and crème brülée don't have to be eaten with wine like many people do. The type of beer that you drink will depend on the dessert. A malty and sweet beer will go well with mousse cake and crème brülée while something fruity will pair well with vanilla or berry ice cream, or a fruit tart.

It can be a lot of fun to try out different craft beers and see how they pair with your food. You can even experiment at home using draft systems, like from Perfect Pour Draft Beer Specialists. Find beers that bring out the flavor in your meals. Try out these examples and then branch out to see what else you can discover works well together.