A Beginners Guide to Pairing Beer with Food

Pairing beers with food is not as hard as it sounds. I find that beers tend to match seasons and not just foods. And accordingly the seasons typically produce certain foods. I will break down the four seasons and some foods commonly found during those seasons. Next I’ll give some recommendations for beers that go excellent with those foods. Most of my suggestions are microbrews as that’s my beer of choice.

Winter

I’ll start off the season with winter. I find most foods for the winter tend to be heavy comforting foods. On given days you might have a full turkey dinner, ham, soups, meats, pies and potatoes. Greens and salads tend not to sprout up here. For the heavy meals beer companies have been producing winter versions of beer. Most of these are dark and contain some spice to them. I recommend Flying Dog’s winter brew and also Sam Adams winter Lager. These are both excellent beers

Spring

Spring is when the flowers start blooming and the weather turns for the better. I find a lot of full meals with light ingredients such as basil spring rolls, enchiladas, some hearty salads with meats, and perhaps some sandwiches. Usually I reach for the so called “normal brew”. These are the flagship beers in a lineup for a company. Some examples are Sam Adams, Magic Hat #9, Flying Dog Amber Ale, and Dogfish Head Raisin D’ Etre. These beers tend to go nicely for this time of year.

Summer

Hot! That about sums up summer. I find a mixture of light foods and grill items like salads, burgers, dogs, steaks, and grilled vegetables. For these sizzling meals I like to pair IPA (Indian Pale Ales) such as H.I.P.A from Magic Hat and Dogfish Head 90 minute IPA. Another favorite is Harpoon IPA located out of Boston. I like the crispness of these beers.

Fall

Fall is an interesting time. Switching foods from light to heavy you finish off the season with a feast in Thanksgiving. With this mixture of foods I like to have a variety of beers. Everything from Magic Hat Blind Faith to Rouge Dead Guy Ale. Some other beers pop up here and there like pumpkin flavored brews. I suggest trying them as they are usually limited in supply.

It’s not really that hard to pair beers with food. Just stick with a few basic guidelines and you should be on your way to impressing guests in no time.