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5 Creative Contemporary Beer Pairings

While I won’t be covering nearly every possible beer combination, hopefully these pairings will spark an ingenious idea for your next gathering. If you want to make yourself some hor d’oeuvres while in your PJs that’s totally okay too.

Don’t know which beers to choose? Choosing a great beer can be intimidating even for a more experienced beer drinker. If you are new to the beer world or just want to break out from your usual comfort zone – don’t’ fret! There are some wonderful beer of the month clubs available to help narrow down your search by sending you pre-chosen brews each month. Please feel free to comment and let us know about your favorite pairings!


– Hops is the name of the game in this category. Our favorite IPAs give us that bold bitterness we’ve become so fond of. An easy target for this beer would be go for foods that are the opposite of bitter. However, that wouldn’t necessarily be the best choice here. Sweet foods may only enhance the bitterness of your beer. A food that can hang with a strong flavored brew is going to prevail here.

My Pick:

Sriracha Wings

– Bold, sweet, tangy, and spicy! Smother your favorite wings in this crazy tasty sauce. This dish can definitely hold its own with your favorite IPA.

Amber & Reds

– Smooth and slightly malty beers like these are easy to pair with most foods, but the tricky part is getting the most out of your beverage by complimenting it with flavors that will bring out the best notes of a brew. While some ambers and reds may deliver a little more hops that others, one can usually expect a sweeter – even a bit fruity experience with these beers.

My Pick:

Lobster Roll

– When I die and go to heaven I’d like it to be a little something like this. While easily customizable, this roll is just salty and savory enough to bring out the very best from your amber.

Stout & Porters

– As a strong and ambitious blend, these brews have a lot to say. Stouts and Porters are deep in both color and flavor. This category of beer is usually created by deep roasting hops or barley and using a richer malt than an amber or red. Copious blends include coffee or oatmeal notes which are wonderfully complex flavors to try and bring out with your pairings. A smoky and salty dish will help bring out some sweetness from this beer.

My Pick:

Smoked Tempeh

– Hear me out! Tempeh is a great alternative to red meats if you are watching your calories, but that isn’t even the best part. Tempeh has an amazing texture and will hold any flavor that you add to it. Pick your favorite teriyaki or smoky barbeque sauce to marinate your strips in overnight, toss them on the grill, and you will be pleased with the result.


– Carbonated and sweet. Much like a dessert wine, ciders and fruitier blends marry best with other sweets or salty foods. These “beers” lend themselves well to interpretation. Get creative! Use one in your next dessert or maybe try some new flavors you might not try otherwise. Who says you can’t have it all?

My Pick:

Fried Ice Cream

– Need I say more? If you are a fan of the cider you really can’t go wrong. Ciders tend to have a lot of carbonation as well which will cut through the fattiness of fried foods. This concoction will pair with just about anything, but why downplay a good thing?


– Commonly referred to as the Hefeweizen, these soft and subtle beers are often complemented with a fruity flavor. Wheat beers are often labeled as a summer brew and meld very well with citrus fruits such as lemon or orange. A soft salad would be great for this brew. However,

My Pick:

Sushi or Sashimi

– Marinated fish may overpower the subtleties of your chosen Heff. So, I would suggest pairing with some tuna, shrimp, and/or crab. These lightly salty delicacies were born to bring out the boldness in any wheat brew. There’s something perfectly special about sushi and beer on a hot summer day.

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