The pairing of wine with food is a classic tradition. Sommeliers - wine stewards - spend years training their palattes to not only recognize the subtle differences between wine vintages, but also learn how each of wine's qualities interact with different foods to make a explosive tastebud experience.
But, the complexity and diversity of beer can also match the variety of flavors in your meals. Craft brewers exercise great care to create subtlety and nuance in their brews. So, sure, ambers will always go great with pizza and cheeseburgers, but don't stop there.The Kitchn has created a great little chart that helps you think about the weight, hops, roast, etc, and match them to your meal wonderfully:
• Pale Ales - Salads, light appetizers, fish and seafood
• India Pale Ales (IPAs) - IPAs can stand up to a little more richness and flavor. They can go well with things like pulled pork, pizza, and fried chicken, as well as lighter salads and seafood dishes. And if you like heat, try an IPA with spicy food - the hoppiness really pumps up the spice quotient!
• Hefeweizens and Wheat Beers - Fruit dishes, dinner salads, grain salads, and desserts made with warm spices (cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg).
• Amber Ales - Ambers are a good middle-of-the-road beer and go well with just about anything: burgers, grilled cheese, roast chicken, soups and stews
• Stouts and Porters - Barbecue, stews, braised dishes - any kind of meat dish, really. Also rich desserts with chocolate and espresso flavors.
Their theory seems to be pair lighter beers with lighter food, but if you think that a light ale matches your stew perfectly, go for it, and I happen to love a stout and a salad.
What are some of your favorite beer/food combos? Tell us in the comments.