1 – Light Lager
These light in colour (not ABV) beers, go well with lighter food – salads, seafood, pork. Matches well with spicy Asian, Cajun and Latin American cuisines. Delicious with buttery Brie, Gouda, Havarti and Swiss cheeses.
2 – Pilsner
Pilsners are great with Curried, Indian, Thai, Chinese, Japanese or Pan Asian cuisines. Especially good with light dishes such as salads, chicken and salmon. Also good with German Bratwurst. Can also be enjoyed with Monterey or Pepper Jack cheese, Blue cheese or a mature cheddar.
3 – European Amber Lager
This group includes Vienna Lagers and Oktoberfest beers. Best paired with spicy foods and Mexican cuisine. Also goes well with spicy German sausages and milder cheeses
4 – Dark Lager
These beers match well with hearty, spicy foods – seafood, pork, spicy Asian, Cajun, Latin American foods.
5 – Bock
Lighter Bock beers match well with spicy food such as Thai or Korean barbecue, fried chicken or German cuisine. Tasty with Emmenthal Swiss cheese, Camembert or Fontina. The Doppelbocks go better with rich roasted foods – duck, roasted pork shanks and cured meats. Delicious with sharp Blue and strong Cheddar cheeses.
6 – Light Hybrid Beer
These beers (Cream, Blonde Ale and Kölsch), go really well with lighter foods such as chicken and salmon. The Kölsch also goes well with German bratwurst and shellfish. The best cheeses to enjoy with these beers are Monterey Jack cheese, brick or a light nutty cheese such as Asiago or Colby.
7 – Amber Hybrid Beers
These Altbiers match well with hearty foods such as roast pork, smoked sausage or grilled salmon or BBQ meats. Aged Gouda or Crumbly Chesire cheese are good matches too.
8 – English Pale Ales
English Bitters, Special Ales and Strong Bitters go well with roast chicken or pork and fish & chips. Matches well with Mild English cheese (Lancashire or Leicester).
9 – Scottish and Irish Ales
Goes well with lighter foods such as salads, salmon and light chicken dishes. Also, moderately intense cheeses. Strong Scotch Ale goes well with roasted or grilled beef, lamb, game, smoked salmon. Delicious with aged sheep’s cheese and as a dessert beer with sticky toffee pudding or chocolate ship shortbread.
10A – American Pale Ale
A good all-rounder with most foods: great with a burger or a meat pie. A good match with earthy cheeses such as Camembert or Fontina or with nutty cheeses such as Asiago, Colby, Parmesan or a tangy cheese – Brick, Edam, Feta.
10B – American Amber Ale
Goes well with chicken, seafood and burgers or spicy cuisine. Can also be served with sharp Blue or Cheddar cheese.
10C – American Brown Ale
Matches well with hearty foods such as roast pork, smoked sausage or grilled salmon. Great with aged Gouda or crumbly Chesire cheese or with Almond or maple-walnut cake for dessert.
11 – Mild Ales & English Brown Ales
Hearty foods such as roast pork, smoked sausages, grilled salmon. Also, aged Gouda or crumbly Chesire cheese. Goes well with Almond or maple-walnut cake.
12 – Porters
Porters match well with roasted or smoked food – BBQ, sausages, roasted meat, blackened fish. Delicious served with earthy Camembert or Fontina cheeses or light chocolate desserts such as chocolate chip cookies
13 – Stouts
Stouts go well with hearty, rich food like meat pie, steak and oysters. Also delicious with Irish cheddar cheese. Sweet stouts also match well chocolate desserts including chocolate soufflé, tiramisu and chocolate espresso cakes.
14 – IPAs
English IPAs go well with strong, spicy foods such as Indian or Thai curries. Also delicious with bold desserts such as carrot cake or ginger cake. Can be served with sharp cheddar or blue cheese. American IPAs are usually served with burgers and go well with sharp or peppery cheeses. Imperial IPAs match well with rich foods such as BBQ, grilled meat and salmon as well as the above mentioned foods.
15 – Wiezen
Perfectly matched with German cuisine – lighter seafood or salad with the lighter (Weissen) beers, roast chicken or pork and German sausage with the dunkelwiezen and big flavoured roasts (duck or venison), smoked ham or game with the Wiezenbock beers. The darker wiezens also go well with big flavoured desserts.
16A – Witbier
Classically paired with steamed mussels, this beer goes well with any light seafood dish including sushi and sashimi or smoked salmon. Can also be served with Mexican, Thai or Indian dishes because of the coriander used in the brewing process, but the beer doesn’t go well with anything too spicy. Delicious with citrus desserts such as sorbets or citrus crepes and can be served alongside peppery or tangy cheeses (Pepper Jack, Edam or Feta)
16B – Belgian Pale Ale
A perfect match with Belgian style mussels but also goes well with chicken or spicy dishes. Also delicious with Blue or Cheddar or the more pungent Gorgonzola or Limburger cheeses. Can also be served with a tangy Brick, Edam or Feta cheese.
16C – Saison
Perfectly matched with curries or Thai food especially seafood and poultry. Serves well with earthy Camembert and Fontina cheese or nutty Asiago, Colby or Parmesan. Can also be enjoyed with a pungent Gorgonzola or Limburger cheese.
16D – Bière de Garde
A good match with Indian or Middle Eastern cuisine, seafood or salads. Goes well with nutty cheeses including Asiago, Colby or Parmesan or with tangy Brick, Edam or Feta cheese.
17A – Berliner Weisse
Matches well with the lightest salads and seafood. Also goes well with a mild cheese – buttery Brie, Gouda or Swiss.
17B – Flanders Red Ale
A good match with rich meats or fried dishes. Delicious with earthy cheeses such as Camembert or Fontina or with sharper cheeses such as a Blue or Cheddar.
17C – Flanders Brown Ale
A good match with rich meats or fried dishes. Delicious with a light fruit tart or earthy cheeses such as Camembert or Fontina.
17D – Straight Lambic
Works well with lighter foods. Can be served with sharp Blue or Cheddar or pungent Gorgonzola cheeses.
17E – Gueuze
This is a good all-rounder when it comes to cheeses – buttery Brie, Gouda, Havarti or Swiss cheese, sharp Blue or Cheddar or a pungent Gorgonzola or Limburger.
17F – Fruit Lambic
Being fruity, this goes well with desserts and chocolate, but can also match well with salads or as an apéritif.
18A – Belgian Blonde Ale
Perfectly refreshing with salty, fried food such as fish and chips (frites). Goes well with hard cheeses such as cabriolet.
18B – Belgian Dubbel
A perfect match for BBQ (especially ribs!), meat stews, steak or roasts. Matches with buttery cheeses like Brie, Gouda, Havarti or a pungent Gorgonzola. Delicious with milk chocolate, chocolate bread pudding, tiramisu and chocolate cake.
18C – Belgian Tripel
This beer matches well with roast pork or poultry and Mediterranean seafood dishes. Goes well with creamy desserts and sharp (blue, cheddar) or pungent cheeses (Gorgonzola, Limburger).
18D – Belgian Golden Strong Ale
This beer goes very well with spicy foods – Cajun or Thai food. Also matches well with crab cakes, salmon, pheasant and other game, roast turkey or chicken. Works well with non-chocolate desserts such as apricot-amaretto tart, baklava and Linzer torte.
18E – Belgian Dark Strong Ale
Pairs well with BBQ and grilled meats. Also goes well with sharp (Blue, Cheddar) or pungent cheeses )Gorgonzola, Limburger)
19A – Old Ale
Should be served with big, intense dishes such as roast beef, roast lamb, grilled meats and venison. Stands up to rich desserts such as spiced plum-walnut tart, classic cannoli nad toffee apple crisp. Also goes well with buttery cheeses – Brie, Gouda, Havarti, Swiss
19B+C – Barleywines
Overpowers most main dishes – best with very intense foods such as strong cheeses or intense dessert – Stilton and walnuts, rich, sweet desserts, chocolate hazelnut torte or toffee caramel cheesecake
20 – Fruit Beers
Best drunk with salads and lighter foods or light desserts
21 – Spice, Herb or Vegetable Beers
Chili flavoured beers go well with BBQ and Latin American dishes and smoked meats. Can also be served with Monterey/ Pepper Jack cheese. Pumpkin Ales are best served with poultry, especially roast turkey and with desserts. Other spiced beers can be served as an Apéritif or a Digestive.
22 – Rauchbier (Smoked Beers)
BBQ or German meat dishes including venison and salmon. Goes well with sharp cheeses including Monterey/Pepper Jack, Blue cheese and Cheddars
Taste is very subjective, so the list above is only suggestions based on BJCP beer categories. The general idea is to choose a beer that enhances the flavour of the food and vice versa.
Match strength with strength by using your common sense that delicate dishes work best with delicate beers. The more hop bitterness a beer has, the heartier, more assertive and strongly-flavored the meal needs to be, to maintain a good pair between malt and morsel. Try not to overwhelm your palate with too complex a character because flavor intensity involves a variety of qualities in the beer such as alcoholic strength, malt character, hop bitterness, sweetness, richness and roastiness.
List above compiled with thanks to the following: