“Beer and a burger” is such a vague phrase. The same goes for “pie and a pint”. What kind of burger or pie, and, more importantly, what type of beer?


Why just burger or pie? Is it the appeal of the alliteration? In which case, why do pubs not also offer popcorn and porter? Or popularise Gouda and Grolsch? The point of all these questions is to highlight the fact there’s a superabundance of things to eat – and beer complements them all! Even salad. Really!

Beer sommelier and writer Jane Peyton believes that beer is foods perfect partner because of its diversity of aroma, flavour, texture and body. “What other drink can match with every meal of the day and every dish on the menu?” asks Jane.

Jane’s fellow drinks scribe Will Hawkes agrees, saying it’s the “diversity and dexterousness” of beer that marks it for culinary greatness. “There are so many different flavours that there’s really no food that’s out of bounds.”

The past decade has seen beer grow in sophistication in step with our increasingly cultured and diverse eating habits, says drinks writer Andy Hamilton.

“Beer flavours can range from dark chocolate, sour and tart, sweet, bready, delicately perfumed, oak aged, and everything else in between. We have far more flavours than with wine.”

Andy recommends allowing dark and complex porter entwine a gourmet scotch egg, and he insists you unite Arbroath smokie with Theakston’s Old Peculier, a full-bodied and singular classic. But don’t fill up on snacks because it’s mealtime. Here are six delicious beer and food matches:

FoodBeer styleBeerBrewery
SaladPilsnerPilsner UrquellPilsner Urquell
Fish and chipsBlondeSpindriftAdnams
Spicy curryBitterHakaButcombe
BurgerIPAJaipurThornbridge
Sausages and mashBelgianOrvalOrval
Lamb chopsAleBishops FingerShepherd Neame


Getting full? Save room for pudding! It’s a winner with ale. Take writer Jane Peyton’s word: “My favourite beer and food match is dessert. Some of the commonly found flavours and aromas in beer include caramel, biscuit, fruit, chocolate, coffee, honey, liquorice, toffee and vanilla, all of which are also in desserts. A match made in heaven!”

She’s right: every beer has an afters to fit. But what goes with what, specifically? Well, lemon tart is best with a wheat beer, while British bitter gives a refreshing belt to something stodgy and simple: bread and butter pudding, say. Or a porter such as Harviestoun Old Dubh, with its notes of toffee, dark chocolate and coffee, is a great friend to a chocolate brownie.

Now we’ve made it to the cheese course. Here’s writer Will Hawkes again: “Beer really shines with cheese. Try English IPA with farmhouse cheddar like montgomery, saison with aged goat's cheese, or barley wine with Colston Bassett stilton. Each combination sings. Beer and cheese were made to go with each other.”

What he said. Bon appétit!

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