Many people are aware that unique wine styles can offer a terrific complement to various types of food. Most people do not realize, however, that the myriad of traditional beer styles that are now available in America can provide an even greater diversity in food pairing with a wider array of flavor characteristics.
The basic rule of thumb holds true for both beer and wine, in that lighter fare is generally best matched with lighter libations. However, while wine is typically paired with contrasting flavored foods, beer is best served with complementary flavors.
Some of the leaders in the American craft beer renaissance have accepted the challenge of top level wine sommeliers to prove that beer can serve as an equal or even better counterpart to a meal. In many of these convivial competitions, which are judged by the general public, beer has dramatically exceeded wine in the extent to which it complements a variety of foods. One common stumbling block for wine sommeliers is with spicy foods, which are difficult to pair with wine, but work beautifully with a variety of beer styles which use hops as a spicing agent and have carbonation which helps to cleanse the palate of oils.
For guidance in selecting great beer styles to pair with any dish, use the interactive Beer Sommelier, exclusively available on GreatBrewers.com.
Beer vs. Wine "Cheese Wars"
35 people come to taste beer and wine paired with cheese. A beer and a wine sommelier face off, which goes better? "Cheese Wars" is a scene from The American Brew (DVD extras) featuring Garrett Oliver, author and brew master from Brooklyn Brewery and Geri Banks, wine consultant. They're given 7 of the world's most flavorful cheeses and must pair each with a delicious beer and wine. The audience smells, tastes, swirls, and votes. And the winner is...?
He Said Beer, She Said Wine
Sam Calagione and Marnie Old debate which drink wins with food, and discuss their new book, He Said Beer, She Said Wine.