A Complete Guide to Beer and Food Pairing

A Man Filling a Glass With Beer

Beer and food can be a perfect couple if you know how to make the pair. With so many different types of ale these days, beer and food pairing has become more complicated than it used to be back in the day. 

On top of that, menus are growing larger every day, and it’s no longer just burgers and wings that you can get at the bar. So, a bit of education is necessary. 

We’re here to tell you a bit more about the foods that go well with beer, explain beer pairings for different types of hops, and educate you for your next bar crawl.

So, wait no more and read our blog. Put our advice to the test next time you’re at the bar and see what goes with beer the best.

Guidelines for Food and Beer Pairing

Food usually pairs well with beer, so there aren’t many strict rules that you need to follow when doing so. But, there are certain guidelines you should keep in mind if you want to make the best beer and food pairing.

We’ve gathered them all in a list, so check them out below.


To create beer pairings based on contrasts, you should start with something that has a robust and distinct flavor. It can be either the dish or the beer. The critical part is the taste. It has to be strong and clear enough to dominate whatever it’s paired with at that time.

Beer and food pairings don’t always have to be logical. Let’s say someone asked you what goes with beer best, and they were holding a stout. Oysters probably wouldn’t be your first guess. 

Well, oysters have a salty flavor that works perfectly with the richness of a chocolaty stout. Who knew these two could match on the beer pairing chart.


This one is a bit more straightforward. Complementing flavors is one of the easiest ways to find foods that go well with beer.

Wheat beers go perfectly with desserts, fruit tarts, and dishes that aren’t heavy on the stomach. So, when you’re eating a heavy meal with a rich flavor, grab a stout or a porter. On the other hand, if it’s a hundred degrees outside, and you need a refreshment with your salad, grab a light beer.


One of the benefits of drinking beer is the possibility of using it as a palate cleanser. Think about it.

If you’re eating something very spicy, fried, or highly fatty, using a light beer to refresh yourself and cool down the throat is the perfect solution. And, the cleanse works the other way around as well.

If you’re drinking a bitter IPA, cutting it with a few french fries will feel amazing.

Don’t Overpower the Meal

If you’re a fan of dark beers with rich flavor, you should pay attention, and learn what goes with beer the best. 

One thing you shouldn’t do is allow the beer to cover the taste of your meal completely. For example, having Guinness with salmon wouldn’t make sense. You would lose all the flavor of the fish and only feel the taste of the famous Irish dry stout.

Learn to Pair Based on Style

As you know, there are infinite types of beer nowadays, and they vary in everything from taste to color. So, unless you know the foods that go well with the beer you’re having at the time, it can be pretty hard to make the right pairing.

To be able to do that, you’ll first have to familiarize yourself with multiple types of brewskies and learn their perfect beer pairings.

So, check out which foods are level with your favorite drink on the beer pairing chart.

Basic Beer Pairing Chart

  • Wheat beers: Fruity desserts and spicy food
  • Light lagers: Burgers, fries, salads, and spicy food
  • Dark lagers: Burgers and Pizza
  • Amber ales: All fried food and Pizza
  • India Pale Ales (IPAs): Steak, Mexican food, Burgers, and Barbecue
  • Brown ales: Sushi, fish, and sausages
  • Stouts: Chocolate-flavored desserts, Mexican food, and shellfish
  • Porters: Coffee-flavored desserts and Seafood

These are the basic beer pairings you can go for if you don’t want to go further into understanding what goes with beer the best. On the other hand, keep reading if you wish to become a true pairing connoisseur. 

Wheat Beers

Since wheat doesn’t add much flavor to the drink, most brewers add fruity notes to these types of beer. Because of that, most people associate wheat and fruity drinks. 

Here are some of the foods that go well with wheat beers:

  • Fruit tarts
  • Pastries
  • Buffalo wings
  • Spicy noodles
  • Salads

Light Lagers

Most of the well-known bottles on the market are filled with light lager, so the popularity of this type of brew is unquestionable. Light lagers don’t have a hoppy or bitter taste but are crisp and refreshing, so pairing them isn’t that complicated.

The best pairings for light lagers are:

  • Hot dogs
  • French fries
  • Buffalo wings
  • Fried fish

Dark Lagers

Of all the different lagers, the dark ones have the most distinctive taste. Caramel syrup and roasted malts are often added during the preparation process. This results in dark lagers having a nutty flavor with hints of sweetness.

Check out the best pairings for Dark Lagers:

  • Goulash
  • Burgers
  • Pizza
  • Sausages

Amber Ales

If you prefer beers with a dry and crisp finish, going for an amber ale may be the way to go. These beers aren’t as sweet as some people believe but still have a flowery aroma from the hops.

These are the best foods to pair with amber ales:

  • Pulled pork
  • Jerk chicken
  • Pizza


Indian Pale Ales have been the most popular type of craft beer 

for quite some time now. Because of the hops, this beer style features quite a bitter taste, so many brewers add fruity notes to the flavor.

This makes the drink sweeter and more acceptable to most palates out there. On the other hand, double IPAs also exist.

This IPA type features more hops, resulting in a strong flavor with an abundance of bitterness.

Because different styles vary in flavor, there is no specific way to recommend general food pairings, but there are certain foods most people enjoy with an ice-cold IPA.

  • Steak
  • BBQ ribs
  • Burritos
  • Fajitas

Brown Ales

If you’d like to try a chocolate-flavored beer, brown ales are the right pick. Luckily, these dry, nutty drinks pair with many different foods.

Check out the best foods to eat with Brown Ales:

  • Barbecue
  • Sausage
  • Fish
  • Sushi


Because of their color, most people assume that stouts are very high in alcohol. However, there are many mild stouts with a mix of chocolate and coffee flavor.

Though stouts mainly pair with desserts, there are salty dishes you can enjoy with a stout. 

Check out the best pairing options for Stout beers:

  • Barbecue
  • Lobster
  • Chocolate truffles
  • Chocolate mousse


If you enjoy the nutty and chocolate flavor of the stout but would prefer something a bit more crisp, maybe you should give Porters a try.

These are the best pairings for a Porter beer:

Get a Beer in Miami

If reading about all these beers and foods got you in the mood to give some of them a try, visit Glass & Vine restaurant. We’ll be more than happy to host a dinner for you.