Beer and food can complement or compete. Matching the right brewski with the right dish can take a culinary, restaurant or brewpub experience to another level. The wrong combo can bust a gut. Let’s consider seafood today — delicious pairings like a seasonal craft wheat and Maine lobster. Here are some tips to navigate this world of flavors like a captain. Also be sure check out this guide for your next feast. Now, let’s start with…
Pale ales are versatile brews that range from malty amber to citrusy, golden, hoppiness. Pale ales are named for their light shade and bright flavor, distinguishing them from IPA beverages. Pair with prawn cocktails and grilled oysters — or raw! Pale ales generally always work well with seafood, especially lobster, where the mild flavor doesn’t overpower the lobster’s delicate flesh. Choose a pale ale as an appetizer with a retro classic prawn cocktail, any oyster dish, or lobster for any course. The hint of citrus flavor marries nicely with the mayonnaise dressing of the cocktail or the buttery sauce often served with lobster.
India pale ales
This style is arguably one of the most democratized today. As we all know, nearly every brewery is producing an IPA, craft or not, these days. There popularity does not help their seafood pairing compatibility. IPAs can be tricky to pair with seafood, thanks to their delightfully aggressive taste. However, buttery smooth lobster is an ideal accompaniment as it counteracts the bitterness and soothes the palate between swigs. In fact, it’s a marriage made in heaven.
Stout or biere brune
Stout, porter, or biere brune features spicy flowers and wallflower aroma that combine admirably with a Lobster Thermidor’s creaminess. Think of dark shades, from mahogany to ebony black, a thick, creamy, smooth, and mellow mousse on the palate. The dark beers are brewed with heavily roasted brown malts, which give them notes of café au lait, mocha coffee, cocoa, gingerbread, and aromas of ripe fruit. Their alcohol content is generally between 4.4 and 6° and is no higher than other beers. They are best enjoyed around 10° or even at room temperature. Pair with classic New England chowders featuring oysters and shellfish, lobster, haddock, sushi, Asian cuisine, smoked meats, red meats, stews, game, foie gras, reblochon, Roquefort, chocolate desserts (mocha, chocolate fondant).
Belgian-style and wheat beer
Coming back to the theme of pairing seafood, Belgian beers and wheat beers would be the big favorites. These beers are known for their tangy, lemony punch paired perfectly with seafood. Yeast and wheat make up wheat beers. They impart revealing flavors and aromas.
More pairings with seafood
Mussels and spicy shrimps
Beer and Belgian mussels make a great mix. Seafood such as spicy shrimp with wheat beer also makes a delicious pairing. The citrus flavors can chill even the spiciest palates.
Crab cake and crab legs
Pair a Pilsner with a crab cake. The strong flavor of beer pairs perfectly with a traditional crab cake’s strong flavor. For whole blue crabs and crab legs, a lager is ideal. The clean, light taste of the beer pairs exceptionally well with crab meat.
Kevin Fagan is the content manager at LobsterAnywhere. He is a New-Englander that likes to (try to) cook gourmet food at home.