Create a delectable meal by perfectly pairing the beer and food at your next gathering. Every style of beer has a different profile, and those profiles complement particular flavors. Here are the best ways to pair five popular varieties of beer with an appetizer, main dish and dessert. You can thank us later, after all your totally satisfied guests have left.
Dark lager, with its rich, hefty flavor, is best paired with spicy dishes, barbecued meats, sausages or roast beef for the main meal. The perfect appetizer combination for dark lager is Munster cheese slices on cocktail-size pumpernickel bread. End the meal with traditional bread pudding or rich chocolate brownies with walnuts, served hot.
Serve a lighter blonde or cream ale with light cheese like Monterey Jack as an appetizer. Serve chicken, salmon or bratwurst with a tossed green salad and a light dressing for dinner. Fruit-flavored cake like lemon or orange goes well with blonde ale for dessert.
Amber or Red Ale
The perfect appetizer for amber ale is a sharp cheddar cheese or French Port Salut cheese. The heavier amber ale can be paired with seafood, chicken, spicy dishes or even burgers on the grill. Try pound cake topped with hot cooked lemon pudding or rich pecan cookies for dessert.
A darker beer with a rich flavor, porter is well paired with a light yellow semi-hard Swiss cheese called Tilsit flavored with peppercorns and caraway. Serve with a cocktail-size loaf of hearty rye bread. Plan a dinner of roast beef, barbecued sausage or roast pork. For dessert, serve rich chocolate peanut butter cookies or chocolate-covered macaroons.
American Wheat Ale
Wheat beer has a light but rich flavor that pairs well with lighter foods. For an appetizer, pair wheat ale with mozzarella or Wisconsin mild cheddar on onion crackers. For dinner, serve wheat ale with stir fry or barbecued shrimp kabobs on a bed of wild rice and tossed green salad with light dressing. Finish with a sweet or fruity dessert like strawberries and cream.