Love Meat And Beer? Here’s How To Do It Right

Do you relish a grilled steak and a cold beer?   It is hard to find a food and drink pair that beats this one. It is a classic and a food staple in many cultures.  The perfect pairing comes from knowing your beer and how its flavor plays into the flavors of different meats. The good thing is that with the variety of beers and meats, your pair options can be as wild as you imagine. How can you have a delightful meat and beer pairs each time?

Know Your Beer Flavors

Understanding different beer tastes is key to picking the right meat to go with it.  There are thousands of beer brands, so how do you remember all the flavors? Some aficionados can tell a beer’s flavor while pouring at the beer tap just by looking.  You only have to remember the broad categories of beer:

  • Lager – These beers have low hops and high carbonation.  Grains such as corn, oats and rice are added when brewing, which gives the beer a grainy flavor. Lagers are pale yellow and translucent. 
  • Pilsner – Some people consider these lagers, but they have a stronger flavor profile than proper lagers. They have a tinge of bitterness and are yet spicy and floral because of the hops.  The malt leaves a bit of grainy flavor as well. Pilsners are light golden and clear.
  • Pale Ale – These beers have a medium to high hop flavor with a hint of citrus. The overall  flavor is clean and crisp. Pale ales have a golden color.
  • India Pale Ale –   It is darker than a proper Pale Ale, which gives it a stronger flavor with a hint of bitterness. There is also a long hoppy flavor and a dark golden color.
  • Stout – These beers are distinctly dark. The flavor is also deep and bitter, akin to burned espresso coffee. 

Know the Flavor Pair You Want

There  are four main ways to pair  meat and beer flavors:

  • Complementary flavors – These pairs go together. Richer meats with a strong flavor like lamb and dark poultry go well with richer flavored beers like Pilsners. 
  • Contrasting flavors –   Bitter/sweet flavors make a contrast that creates a buzz in the flavor buds.  Grilled and BBQ meats with their sweet juicy flavors go well with dark stouts with strong bitter flavors.
  • Subtle flavors –  These flavors are barely noticeable because they do not overwhelm or create a contrast. Pale ales  go well with almost all kinds of meats because they are clean and crisp 
  • Cleansing flavors –   These beer flavors wash away strong food flavors like curries and seafood. Spicy and fatty meats go well with lagers or stouts, which overwhelm the stronger flavored meats.

Pairing With Common Meat Cuts 

There are all-time favorite pairs that can never let you down. Beef steak is the classic favorite because it pairs well with  different beers. You can grill it for a stronger flavor and pair it with a stout, or curry it and wash it down with a clean and crisp IPA.

If you are looking for more adventurous flavors,  try spiced seafood with an equally strong flavored stout. But you can also opt for lighter grilled seafood flavors that go well with lighter lagers and pale ales. 

Beer and chicken wings are  a favorite snack.  A citrus pale ale goes very well with spicy buffalo wings because the lemon notes complement the spicy flavors. You can also opt to contrast with a pilsner’s slightly bitter taste.

You can never go wrong with meat and beer pairs. There are so many meat types and equally, many beer types to try. It is an adventure your palate should try. 

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