Beer pairings are a great way to liven up the flavor profiles of your top dishes, drive profitability with high-margin adult beverages, and tap into the guest demand for unique craft beers.
 
We teamed up with craft beer expert David Soper, the Head Brewer of Mother’s Brewing Company in Springfield, Missouri. His passion for food and beer is amazing. He can expound on the rich, intermingled history of beer and food, while also promoting its importance in modern restaurants. He says, “One only needs to look at the books at a restaurant once to understand why you would want to sell a beer (or other alcoholic beverage) with every plate that leaves the kitchen. There are great margins in alcohol, but beyond that you have an opportunity to elevate someone's meal by pairing it with a beer and by doing this you are not just selling them food but an experience.”
 
We’ve created a beer pairings map that will help bring your top dishes to life.

Northeast

  • Top dish

    Suggested Beer Pairing

    Why it Works

    Shrimp & Lobster

    Traditional Pilsner (Stiegl Stiegl-Pils or Firestone Walker’s Pivo)

    The bitterness of the beer will offset the sweetness of the shellfish, but the light flavors of the beer won’t overpower the dish.

    Chicken Parmesan

    French Saison (North Coast’s La Merle)

    The higher carbonation will cut the heaviness of the fried chicken while the fruity and peppery flavors of the beer will complement the acidity of the tomato sauce and the slight funk of the parmesan.

    Grilled Cheese

    American Pale Ale (Sierra Nevada’s Pale Ale or Ballast Point’s Grunion)

    The moderate carbonation will work nicely with the fatty cheese. The slight bitterness and hop flavors will act as a good counterpoint and palate cleanser.

    Bacon Cheeseburger

    American India Pale Ale (Cigar City’s Jai Alai or Bell’s Two Hearted)

    The strong bitterness and high carbonation will go a long way toward cutting the hearty meatiness of the burger, while the citrusy, floral, and resinous hop flavors and aromas will pair nicely with the sweet fatty and bready aspects of the burger.

Southeast

  • Top Dish

    Suggested Beer Pairing

    Why it works

    Fried Fish

    German Kolsch (Reissdorf Kolsch or Trillium’s Sprang)

    The lighter body of the beer will not overpower the fish, while the crispness and faint fruity hop and ester qualities will balance well with the fried fish.

    Fried Chicken

    Bourbon Barrel Aged Stout (Founders’ Kentucky Breakfast Stout or Evil Twin’s Imperial Biscotti Break)

    The rich, malty stout character and boozy bourbon barrel character of these beers along with the natural sweetness will hold up well to the rich, greasy fried chicken. Not to mention it’s the closest match to the only truly suitable libation to have with fried chicken: whiskey.

    BBQ Pork

    Northeast India Pale Ale (Trillium’s Congress Street or Tree House’s Julius)

    The juice-like fruitiness of these beers will go nicely with a tangy Carolina-style pulled pork, and the low bitterness make them a great quaffable beer to wash down hearty barbecue.

    Chicken Fried Steak

    American Porter (Mikkeller Porter or Smuttynose Robust Porter)

    The malt-forward flavors will balance nicely with the hearty fried beef while the dryness of the beer and lighter body (compared to a stout) won’t be overly filling.

Southwest

  • Top Dish

    Suggested Beer Pairing

    Why it Works

    Prime Rib

    English Barleywine (Hill Farmstead’s Aaron or Anchor’s Old Foghorn)

    This is a big beer for a big dish. Barleywines are a balancing act of malt sweetness and a clean dryness while boasting a strong alcohol. A good English barleywine should have no trouble holding its own next to even the meatiest and most perfectly medium-rare prime rib.

    Roast Beef Sandwich

    Belgian Gueuze (Gueuzerie Tilquin Oude Geuze a L’Ancienne or Allagash Resurgam)

    The bright carbonation of blended and old lambics will cut the fatty beef while the bright fruity and funky flavors will act as a great counterpoint to this robust sandwich, especially if there is some spicy horseradish mayo on that bad boy.

    Grilled Chicken Sandwich

    German Altbier (Fuchschen Alt or Alaskan Amber)

    Altbiers strike a perfect balance of flavor and drinkability. This beer’s light crisp finish will not overpower the chicken, but most alts will have enough character to hold up to flavorful toppings, strong cheeses, and grilled flavors.

South

  • Top Dish

    Suggested Beer Pairing

    Why it Works

    Tacos

    German Gose (Off Color’s Troublesome or Westbrook Gose)

    German Gose is a pale German ale with a lactic acidity that is typically spiced with coriander and salt. This pairing works by complementing flavors. Sour and salty goes great with spicy adobada or maybe even a slightly smoky cachete with some pickled veggies.

    Chicken Wings

    German Helles (Weienstephaner Original or Ballast Point’s Longfin Lager)

    The high carbonation and dry bitterness will help cool off the palate while the mild fruitiness and slight hop aroma will nicely complement that buttery, acidic, spicy buffalo sauce.

    Adult Mac & Cheese

    Russian Imperial Stout (Brooklyn Brewing Black Chocolate Stout or Portsmouth Brewing Kate the Great)

    Something about mac & cheese as an adult seems self-indulgent—and these beers are nothing if not self-indulgent. The rich, sweet and roasted malts should stand up to the baked cheese and the pronounced bitterness that a good Imperial Stout should have will go a long way toward balancing the decadent, gooey cheese.

    BBQ Beef

    Dry Stout (3 Floyds’ Black Sun Stout or Russian River’s O.V.L Stout)

    When I think of BBQ beef I think of Kansas City burnt ends. These roasted malty stouts that are surprisingly light bodied act as a great counterpoint to a tender, smoky, sweet brisket.

West Coast

  • Top Dish

    Suggested Beer Pairing

    Why it Works

    Black Bean Burger

    New American Pale Ale (3 Floyds Zombie Dust or Maine Beer’s MO)

    These are a new twist on an American classic. American Pale, since it was bastardized from its English predecessor, has been about a balance of bitterness, malt character, and hop flavor and aroma. These beers take the style and throw all that out the window. With just enough malt to hold the beer together, the aromas of bright citrus, pine resin, and tropical fruit jump out of the glass. These intense yet subtle beers would be great with almost anything, but hey, why not enjoy it with a new take on another American classic.

    Chicken Stir-Fry

    Dry Belgian Saison (Stillwater Extra Dry or Jolly Pumpkin/Anchorage Brewing Collab. Calabaza Boreal)

    With flavors in stir fry ranging anywhere from slightly sweet to garlic and umami to intense spice, I went with a beer that I feel is very versatile with a lot of character, but is not overpowering. Saisons, particularly these two, are packed with character while remaining impossibly light bodied and drinkable.

    Salmon

    Belgian Witbier (Jolly Pumpkin Calbaza Blanca or Perennial’s Funky Wit)

    The full body and spice of these beers will hold up nicely to a fattier fish like salmon while the citrus and spice quality along with a little funk should complement without overpowering.