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Cracking Beer and Food Pairing Code – The Three C’s

Beer, by nature, is an easy-going alcobev that pairs well with any cuisine. Still, it is important to learn some handy tricks for marrying your beer with your food to get the best out of your drinking experience. While wine refuses to pair itself with many foods such as sushi, eggs and strangely enough, even chocolate, beer is not that fussy, thereby giving us a million options to choose from.

But first, what’s the difference between a perfect pairing and a not-so-perfect pairing?
● Perfect Pairing: when two foods combined, create a better tasting and more balanced flavor than they would on their own.
● Not-so-perfect Pairing: when the foods combined give you an imbalanced flavour that either hangs on your palate or, in extreme cases, causes you to throw up.

So, How Does One Achieve That Heavenly Beer-Drinking Experience?

All it takes is one simple trick: the three C’s.


If the food on the plate leans towards the sweeter side, try pairing it with fruity beers like an apricot wheat beer or a raspberry ale. The idea here is to pair beer and food that share similar flavours and characteristics. Delicate dishes pair best with delicate beers while beers with intense flavours have been found to work well with equally strongly flavoured dishes. For this reason, some beer styles like stouts pair extremely well with rich desserts like plum cake!


Got a packed house and a lot of people to feed? On occasions like these, pairing your beer with foods that have contrasting flavours can introduce an element of surprise, instantly bringing a smile onto your guests’ faces. While the flavour profile of beer can be similar to many foods, it can be equally different too. Contrasting flavours can also balance each other out to bring out the unique characteristics of not just your pint but also of what’s on your plate. For instance, sour beers are best when paired with contrasting sweet dishes. Likewise, serving a blonde ale with spicy Thai food or an Indian spicy chicken will balance out the hotter flavours of your meal.


Cutting is like contrasting but a little more extreme.
If you’re someone with a fondness for intense flavours, this one’s for you. Matching a food’s intensity with a beer that’s equally intense in taste, if not more, allows these strong flavours to mingle and compete. The hops and the carbonation from beer have the ability to “cut through” flavours and textures on your tongue, making this alcobev the perfect palate cleanser. Using this method to pair your beer with food can result in each bite being as flavourful as the first. For example, classic American lagers have a crisp, clean taste that cuts perfectly well through the salty flavours of fried food.

The Spruce Eats
Brooklyn Brew Shop

29 January 2020
Editorial-Brewer World