Choosing a beverage to enhance your meal in a restaurant once involved perusing a wine list or consulting a sommelier. Now it seems that more than ever, establishments are providing extensive craft beer lists in addition to their fine wine selections. A well chosen beer can complement a meal in a unique and exciting way, and the wide range of beer styles make it easy to turn a satisfactory dish into a memorable one.
There are two approaches to pairing beer with food: The first method is to choose a beer style which complements the dish. You want a beer that perfectly accentuates the prominent elements of the dish, like a rich Stout with a Mexican Mole or smoked meats. Hoppy IPAs make a great accompaniment to Curry and Spicy dishes, while Hefeweizen and wheat beers pair perfectly with seafood as well as cleanse the palate.
Another technique is to contrast the dominant characteristics, such as using a malty beer to balance spiciness, or a nitro carbonated style to accentuate a velvety, creamy beer with a pungent cheese or fried fish. It’s best to offer small pours, just a couple ounces of beer go a long way in enhancing appeal. The best way to discover exciting new combinations is to experiment!