There are three general rules of thumb when matching food with beer or wine:
1. Choose a beer or wine that either complements or contrasts with the dish. Think: Do I want a flavor that goes with this dish or one that cuts through this dish? And select accordingly.
2. Choose a beer or wine based on the weight of the dish…is it heavy, medium or light? Then choose a beer or wine that complements that weight …not by color but by body.
3. The kind of beer or wine you like can help you choose a new beer or wine. If you like lighter wines, you will like lighter beers and vice versa.
1. Light styles
Beers: lager, pilsener, dark lager, golden ale
Wines: Pinot Grigio, White Zinfandel, Riesling
Great with salads, chicken sandwiches, spicy pizzas and calzones, nachos, light pastas
2. Medium styles
Beers: amber ale or lager, red ale, pale ale, doppelbock, bock, steam, ESB, IPA, dunkel, some wheats/weizens, most ales
Wines: Merlot, Shiraz, Pinot Noirs, light Chardonnays
Great with burgers, meat pizzas, pepperoni, mushrooms, shrimp, fish & chips
3. Heavier styles
Beers: hefes, porters, stouts, barleywines
Wines: Cabernet, Chardonnay, varietal blends
Perfect with lasagna, Bolognese and marinara, steak, beef, sausage pizzas and calzones
Keep in mind that when pairing a beer or a wine with food, it is the same basic characteristics of both that should guide your choice…light, medium or heavy!
Here are some more specific beer pairing recommendations:
Chili, burgers, BBQ
Burgers, meat pies, cheeses
Amber or Red Ale
Chicken, seafood, burgers, spicy foods
Chicken, salads, brats, salmon
Smoked or roasted foods, BBQ, sausages
Steaks, oysters, any hearty/rich foods
Mexican foods, chicken, pork, spicy foods
Portions of this information are provided by Old Chicago Pasta and Pizza, used with permission.