There is a lot of talk about pairing wine with food, but beer shouldn't be left out—on nights when wine doesn't suit your fancy, consider food weblog The Kitchn's guide to finding the perfect beer for your meal instead.
Photo by Laura Bittner.
The first thing to note is that just like wine, these are not steadfast rules, but mere guidelines that should give you a good idea of what goes with what best without too much thought:
- Pale Ales - Salads, light appetizers, fish and seafood
- India Pale Ales (IPAs) - IPAs can stand up to a little more richness and flavor. They can go well with things like pulled pork, pizza, and fried chicken, as well as lighter salads and seafood dishes. And if you like heat, try an IPA with spicy food - the hoppiness really pumps up the spice quotient!
- Hefeweizens and Wheat Beers - Fruit dishes, dinner salads, grain salads, and desserts made with warm spices (cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg).
- Amber Ales - Ambers are a good middle-of-the-road beer and go well with just about anything: burgers, grilled cheese, roast chicken, soups and stews
- Stouts and Porters - Barbecue, stews, braised dishes - any kind of meat dish, really. Also rich desserts with chocolate and espresso flavors.
Of course, this is just a cheat sheet—you may have a less common food or beer you're looking to pair, which requires a bit more thought. But again, not too much thought—beer is pretty versatile. Hit the link for more details on the science art of pairing beer and food.