Beer and Food Pairings – A Real World Guide

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beer and food pairings

Black-eyed peas, pork, cabbage? What? According to a variety of sources, these are some cherished and traditional New Year’s dishes, and we’re here to guide you in your food and beer pairings for your New Year’s celebrations.

Yeah, but, black-eyed peas? Cabbage? No way, Jose! It’s time to start your own traditions, and we are here to help you pair your New Year’s dishes with that perfect beer in three simple steps.

Yes, this is taking about New Year’s, but truthfully, you can use this simple guide at anytime, anywhere.

Step One – What do you like to eat?

beer and food pairings
a real world guide

If your tradition changes every year, well, I suppose it is technically not a tradition, but you still need to know what goes well with what. I don’t know about your taste buds, but mine are definitely not the same every December 31 or January 1. Eat what you want whether that be pizza, or noodles, or burgers, or veggies. Each day brings different moods and different locations, and this will change up your desires. Go with it!

Step Two – What do you like to drink?

beer and food pairings 
a real world guide

Your answer better be beer. Champagne is all fine and dandy for that toast and special kiss at midnight, but leading up to that point, our choice of beverage on New Year’s and almost any other day is BEER! But what kind of beer? That all depends on what’s going on in your life. Maybe it’s cold outside and you want something to warm you up from the inside out. Maybe it’s hot and sunny, and you want something cold and fizzy and not super filling. Go with it!

Step Three – Do what you want!

beer and food pairings
a real world guide

In the words of my son, “I do what I want.” There are many food and beer pairing charts, and most of them will tell you something different. Besides, why would you let somebody else tell you what you like? The chart listed below includes food and beer pairings that we like…today. Tomorrow, it could all be different. You are welcome to follow what we like, but brewing craft beer doesn’t really have any rules, so why should drinking it have any?

Beer and Food Pairings – A Real World Guide

Food Type of Beer Try This*
Pizza IPA – bitter, hoppy, easy
New Belgium Voodoo
Ranger IPA
Seafood Saison – herbal spice, dry,
easy drinking
Great Divide Colette
Farmhouse Ale
Pilsner/Lager – crisp, light,
easy drinking
Oskar Blues Mama’s Little
Yella Pils
Wit – Light, easy drinking,
Dogfish Head Namaste White Belgian Style Wit Bier
Wheat/Hefeweizen –
refreshing, easy drinking
Boulevard Unfiltered Wheat
Chicken Brown – flavorful, medium
Rogue Hazelnut Brown
Lager/Pilsner – crisp, light,
easy drinking
Deschutes Pacific
Wonderland Lager
Saison/Blonde – light, fruity,
easy drinking
Dry Dock Apricot Blonde
Cheese Belgian Tripel/Porter –
intense, slow drinking
Victory Golden Monkey
Belgian Tripel
Chocolate DessertsBarley Wine/Stout – intense, strong flavor, sipping Epic Big Bad Baptist
Imperial Stout

*The beers included in this table are ones that we hope you can find at your liquor store and are meant to be a starting point. While we like these beers a lot, they are not necessarily our favorites. Start with these, or try whatever you want and create your own beer and pairings.

The 3 C’s of Beer and Food Pairing

beer and food pairings
a real world guide

Ok, for those of you that insist on a true guide and some researched evidence, there is something fancy called the 3 C’s. Sounds like you are getting ready to purchase a diamond, right? It’s really not that complicated.

  • Complement – Choose food and beer that have the same flavors and intensities. Match ’em up!
  • Contrast – Choose a beer based on the opposite of the food you’ve chosen. If you are enjoying a rich, spicy dish, choose a beer that is lighter in flavor and intensity.
  • Cut – Similar to contrast, but a bit more extreme. Instead of choosing the opposite flavor of beer and food, you could choose a beer that has more spice than your spicy food. It’s a contrast, but also more intense.
beer and food pairings
a real world guide

See, told you! Even the 3 C’s basically tell you to do what you want. And after all that, there’s actually something much more important than pairing your beer and food.

Friends, of course!

Happy New Year!

Want More?

Need more resources on pairing craft beer and food, or maybe you just want to start simple and first learn how to taste craft beer. Pinkies up – we’ve got you covered with our Custom Craft Beer Tastings. We Plan; We Teach. You Taste!

Or maybe you’re really into the nuances of specific foods and beer and love getting your hands on all the resources.. We’ve got that for you, too.


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