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The Definitive Beer Pairing Table of Contentment

Posted by Man Crates on

Wine has monopolized meal pairing long enough. After waiting patiently, beer’s turn has arrived. With the emergence of craft brewing over the past decade, beer drinkers are behaving like oenophiles. Restaurants are hiring beer sommeliers. Cities are organizing beer tasting events. And beer-and-food pairing has actually become a thing. Not sure what beer goes with what dish? As defenders of the palate and curators of fine beer gifts for men, we’re here to uncap the mystery.

Welcome to pair-adise.

Most beer aficionados have mastered the perfect pour. Executing the perfect pair, however, is another skill altogether. Without the proper pairing, a good meal and a great beer can clash like titans. We stand staunchly against flavor suppression while fully advocating pairing combinations that get 110% from every ingredient involved. There’s a general rule of thumb for creating peace and harmony between food and drink: Pair lighter fare with a lighter beer and vice versa. That’s a nice starting point, but to delve deeper, a handy beer pairing table is in order.


Pairs best with...
Salad, lighter cheeses, salmon, tuna, trout, polenta, wild rice

The clean, crisp style stays light on the palate, while balancing hoppy bitterness like a tightrope walker.


Pairs best with...

chicken, pork, lobster, shrimp, sushi, light pasta, spicy food

The army of hops pulls out its serrated blades and cuts through salty and oily foods, similar to how the acidity of a white wine works.

Wheat beer/ Hefeweizen

Pairs best with...

Soup, salad, fruity dishes, spicy food, vegetarian dishes


The fruitiness of the beer complements citrus and vegetables while breaking through spiciness like a marathoner at a finish line ribbon.

Lambic/Fruit beer

Pairs best with...

Fruity salads and desserts, pickled dishes, herbed and spiced dishes

A beer should be sweeter than its food companion to maintain a proper balance, thus avoiding acidity, bitterness and a bad attitude.


Pairs best with...
Quail, duck, heavier cheeses, burgers, wings, sausage, pizza, quinoa, faro

The hops stands its ground against the fat while the bubbles cleanse the palate with an effervescent whimsy.


Pairs best with...

Cajun food, Swiss and Gruyere cheeses, ribs, jerk chicken, seared foods, chocolatey desserts

The sweetness interacts with a hint of bitterness to escalate the richness of roasted foods—and to give jerk chicken some manners.


Pairs best with...

Barbecued/grilled food, braised meats, stews, oysters


Stouts balance the sweetness and richness of smokier, roasted flavors and bring out the umami, which is Japanese for “yummy.”


Pairs best with...

Chili, braised meats, bacon, smoked foods

Heavy hops and smoky malts activate their Wonder Twin powers in the form of coffee and chocolate notes to enrich the flavor of rib-sticking meals.

Other brews and don’ts.

After referencing the table above, imbibers of all preferences will almost be prepared to pair. Almost. Just take heed of a few more quick tips to avoid exposing those beer-embracing taste buds to any awkward moments.

  • A food and beer of the same ethnicity aren’t necessarily a regional match made in heaven. For example, a fruity Hefeweizen might be a better fit for a hot General Tso’s Chicken dish than Tsingtao.
  • When going course by course, pairing a different beer with each dish throughout an entire meal, start with lighter beers and progress toward darker brews. That way, you’ll catch the elusive notes and aromas of the subtler beers.
  • Personal preference is all that matters. Some chefs only pair complementary flavors. Others attempt to offset a dish with contradictory tastes. Feel free to experiment and discover what works best for everyone involved. The beer gods are very lenient.

To set the table for the ultimate meal with a hubby or drinking buddy, choose from our collection of personalized beer gifts, featuring pint glasses, growlers and steins. Or let him live out his dream of becoming a brew master with the Micro Brewed Kit.