Just as the leaves change in the fall, so do the season’s flavors. Look around, and you can find just about anything with pumpkin spice added to it. With summer ending and fall flourishing, it means there are plenty of classic fall dishes being cooked, baked, roasted, and served for gatherings of family and friends. But you can’t have an empty glass next to all of that delicious food! This is when pairing your food with the right beer becomes important.
There are no definitive rules when it comes to matching foods and drinks, and experimenting with combinations is certainly a pleasing endeavor. Finding the perfect match can be more complex than you think. However, pairing the right food with the right beverage can bring the best out of your fall meal.
There are several approaches to consider when pairing a beer with your food. Should the beer mirror and complement similar flavor characteristics in your food? Is a light-bodied beer more apt to pair well with lighter fare? Or would contrasting styles better suit your meal, like sweeter, maltier beer offsetting the spiciness of a dish? It’s entirely up to you and your palate.
On the other hand, this is fall we’re talking about, so you can’t go wrong having a pumpkin beer with everything. With that in mind, here are a few classic fall foods and the beers that help make a perfect pair:
CHILI & STEW
If the chili you’re eating was made with beer, then the answer is simple: drink the same beer. If not, porters, stouts, and IPAs are all fine choices to pair with many types of chili. Other hearty foods like thick beef stews go well with a heavier-bodied porter, stout, or darker ale.
SWEET POTATOES & SQUASH
These fall offerings can be used in a variety of dishes like salads, pasta, or soup. A butternut squash or sweet potato soup is an ideal fall offering. A light-bodied, crisp beer is the choice here. IPAs, pilsners, and other light lagers complement the lighter fare.
ROASTED PORK & POULTRY
Roasted chicken, turkey, or pork dinners are very traditional. Pilsners, saisons, or even some amber ales are all excellent beers to pair as they complement the herbs and spices, as well as provide a refreshing palate cleanser.
Märzens and Oktoberfest beers are literally made for the fall! As the epitome of fall beers, these amber lagers have a maltiness that provides a nice contrast to the salt and spice of grilled meats like bratwursts, ribs, or pork chops.
Don’t forget dessert! Some experts suggest that your drink should be sweeter than your food. Stouts are a perfect match for a sweet dessert like pumpkin or apple pie. Used to having coffee with your dessert? Try a smooth coffee stout with that savory slice of pie.Now that you have paired your food with the right beer, it’s time to pair your beer with the right glass.
Matching food flavors with beers is only the first step. When you pair your beer to the proper beer glass, you can accentuate both the beer’s taste and aroma. Read the Birrateque Guide to Craft Beer Glassware and discover how unique beer glass styles can positively affect your craft beer’s potential.