Which beer to have with your meal? What we appreciate eating and drinking is highly subjective and also depends on the particular setting, our mood and who we are with at the time. There are some useful tips though, with origin and intensity being key.

Beer is a fabulous beverage to have with food. The levels of bitterness, sweetness and sourness in beer make for countless pairings, but the carbonation and the warmth from the alcohol also have a big impact. As a rule of thumb, think of what people are drinking in the country the food originates from: for example, witbeer with steamed mussels in Belgium, hefeweizen with weisswurst in Germany, or bitter with bangers and mash in the UK.

Beer connoisseurs often talk about beer characteristics complementing, contrasting or amplifying food. Intensity is perhaps a simpler approach: go light with delicate dishes and go big with richer flavours. Crisp lagers and wheat beer usually go well with lighter dishes such as summery salads and seafood, as well as ‘smörgåstårta’ (sandwich cake). Malty and sweet, full-bodied ales are ideal with hearty pub food, Scandinavian ‘husmanskost’ (traditional home-cooked fare) and autumnal stews. Hoppy and bitter pale ales and IPAs are fabulous with fatty and spicy food – a beef burger with strong cheddar paired with a hoppy IPA is a classic. Sour and funky beers, meanwhile, work a treat with cheese, and sweet porters, stouts and barley wines are delicious with rich chocolate desserts and truffles.

Most importantly, have fun while exploring the world of beer and food. Breweries, brewpubs and taprooms are experts on their beer and will be able to recommend which beer to pair with their dishes. And if you have the chance, why not take part in a beer tasting? This is a great opportunity to try different beer styles and understand how best to match them with food.

Matching beer and food – a culinary experience

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