Move over, wine, beer pairs better with food

black velvet cocktail

Go to any dinner party and you are likely to find that a wine has been chosen to accompany the meal. Hostess gifts likewise frequently end up being bottles of wine. But wine may not be the best choice to serve with food, says Jane Peyton of The Beer Academy in the UK.

Peyton proclaims that beer is "actually much better pairing with a food than wine and there are so many special beers for fine dining. But snobbery means it's an uphill battle to convince people of all that. Wine as the drink of people of high status for 5,000 years and the wine industry, with its good PR has maintained that reputation."

Peyton notes that people often assume that women, in particular, only want to drink wine at dinner or parties. "Don't patronise a woman," she added. "And if she orders beer, don't assume she'll want a pale, tasteless fruit beer. She might want an Imperial Russian stout, which tastes like treacle." Peyton tries to convince women to drink beer by using Champagne flutes or brandy glasses to give it more allure. 

The global craft brewing renaissance means that consumers almost everywhere now have many interesting choices. The conventions of wine pairing spill over into beer pairing: darker beers go with more robust dishes (think stout with beef stew), and lighter beers, which often feature a crisp acidity, pair well with chicken and fish.

If you're not sure what beer to match with your meal, there are several online resources to help you. The website craftbeer.com offers a downloadable chart to help you decide which beer to pair with your food. Food sites such as Epicurious and breweries like Sam Adams (using their brews, naturally) also offer suggestions. Do you frequently pair beer with your meals, or does wine still get that honor?

Photo of The 2-ingredient black velvet cocktail (featuring Guinness Stout) from The Kitchn

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