Last year’s craft beer sales increased by 7% to $27.58 billion. Craft beer isn’t new to American drinkers, so what’s behind this craft beer renaissance? One of the reasons why we see craft beers rise in popularity is that people have discovered they go well with food. To help you appreciate the diverse flavors, we list craft beers and food pairings you should try.
1. Cured Meat and German Wheat Beer
Bold-flavored Weiss beers from Munich and Bavaria go well with smoked or cured meats, like hams and sausages. Erdinger, Franziskaner, and Maisel’s Weisse are excellent choices that complement the salt and texture of cured meats.
2. Curry and India Pale Ale
You can choose from a dizzying array of IPAs, but the standouts in this category are Burning Sky’s Arise and Inhaler by Magic Rock. You can also go for old, reliable drinks like California’s famed Stone IPA and New Belgium Voodoo Ranger. If you’re adventurous, get a craft beer starter kit and make your own. Don’t forget to use the right hops, and that includes German Hallertau Blanc.
What food goes best with an IPA? What else but a hot plate of Indian curry? It doesn’t matter if it’s red or the more potent green curry, and it can be fish, chicken, lamb, or beef. If you don’t have a favorite yet, try sampler plates of them all and make it spicy. An ice-cold IPA may not completely put the fire out in your mouth, but this promises to be an unforgettable drinking experience best enjoyed with friends.
3. French Fries and Berliner Weisse
Berliner Weisse has a sour-sweet flavor that can be hard to find a good food pairing, but it’s as simple as a platter of chips, fries, or Pomme Frites. If you happen to be in New York, here are some suggestions. Don’t settle for the fast-food variety. Look for the Belgian-style skin-on, thick-cut fries, or Pomme Frites. You can try them with unusual dips or toppings like smoked eggplant or sweet mango chutney mayo.
4. Sushi and Pilsner
Most beers usually dominate the raw, subtle flavors of sushi. An excellently crafted beer goes well with sushi, as its crisp finish won’t slay the delicate flavors of sushi. Asahi is an obvious choice, but you can also try Hitachino Nest, Yona Yona, and Minoh Pilsner.
5. Steak and Lager
Some people may be divided on this, but craft beer aficionados swear by lager paired with specific cuts of steak, like the delicious filet mignon. Lager has a lower alcohol content and allows the beef to shine, not overpowering it. Depending on the cut and seasoning, choose the beer that complements the steak.
Many fantastic food and craft beer pairings are waiting to be discovered. If you are new to craft beers, a good way to pair them with food is to match the beer and the food by country of origin. Notice how Asahi goes well with sushi and how German beer goes well with cured meats. You can be more adventurous and experiment with food and craft beer pairings yourself. Be sure to let someone else drive you home after a night of “experimenting.”