How to Pair Food and Beer

Food and beer can be paired to match in flavour according to the same principle as wine, or you can hit the palate with a delicious contrast. If you like to play by the rules, a general guideline is as follows: Ales can generally be paired with anything you would pair red wine with, while lagers can be paired as you would typically pair white wine.

pairing food and beer

Remember that taste varies from person to person, so be prepared to throw away the rule-book and try new combinations. One of the great qualities of beer is that it allows for a mischievous amount of experimenting, honestly, can you really ruin beer? No. Beer is always great. In order of events, supposing you are hosting guests or looking for a great beer to compliment your meal while dining out, let’s look at a few tried and tested winning relationships between our craft beers and eats.


A great sipping beer that goes perfectly with the famous Yes Chef Deli cheese platter is The Graduate. Serve this brewsky with the starters if you’re entertaining for a pairing that hits the palate like a cool breeze on a summer’s day. Salted nuts and fried foods are other optional camaraderies to this India Pale Ale. As they say, after a few of these, you will be graduating cum laude with a degree in Mandarin.  

pairing food and beer

 Beers, brus, braais and the main course

If you’re looking for the perfect braai accompaniment for a lean steak, a Pale Ale, like The Cheerleader, is your girl. A rich, fatty cut, on the other hand, would demand something darker like a stout or porter, allowing the stronger bitter flavours to cut through the richness of the food the same way the tannins of an oaky cabernet would.

The refreshing crisp, clear taste of a gold star pilsener is the perfect beer to enjoy with fish, so offer it to guests who prefer white meat on the grill. The Dean loves umami flavours, so include sushi, dishes that contain pesto and basil or a traditional ham and cheese toasted sandwich on your menu at meal time.

Having a casual dinner date with friends at home? The two all-American favourites come together for a classic meal. The Quarterback, an American Pale Ale, compliments pizza so beautifully you could serve the pairing at the dinner table in Buckingham Palace. The easy-drinking beer contains a fruity stance flavoured with Cascade and bittered with Centennial. A hit with the cheerleaders, this drink is sure to go down very well, so invite friends over, open a box of pizza, and throw in a few board games for a winning evening.

There is room to play with ideas here: Curry for dinner? Add a beer like The Cheerleader for the perfect fare.

pairing food and beer

 Dessert with a brewski

Desserts are best paired with sweet or bitter beers, and a higher carbonation to help refresh the palate between bites. Once again, we highly recommend an experimental outlook and a playful attitude, so open a few beers and see what your palate tells you.

If you like the wine and dessert pairing mindset you can keep your beer slightly more crisp than your dessert. Which means a chocolate dessert with slightly bitter cocoa undertones would take a crisper beer than a custard dessert, which is rather milky and slightly sweeter. If you prefer a good contrast, try a bitter beer with a sweet dish, you might find the undertones to work just perfectly if you choose the right beer. The Fes loves chocolate, and chocolate loves him back, so add this ale to your chocolate dessert for a pairing that absolutely rocks.  

For those who love chocolate, add beer and make the treat even more enjoyable. If you are having chocolate that is enriched with flavours like caramel, find a beer with those same undertones. This is precisely why The Fes is such a great ale to pair with chocolate, it boasts hints of caramel and toffee.

pairing food and beer

Looking for a beer to compliment your next meal at the deli? Visit us at the 1000 Hills Brewery and Yes Chef Deli, it might not be Buckingham Palace, but our food and premium craft beer is certainly fit for a king (we won’t be held liable for any Mandarin that results from drinking our beers). Take a look at our menu here to prepare your food and beer pairing!