Homer Simpson was wrong: you can make friends with salad—as long as you serve that salad with a beer. From the floral notes of a Pilsner, to the nuttiness of an English Brown Ale, and the stone-fruit intensity of a Belgian triple — beer’s flavours sync beautifully with peppery greens, toasted cashews and even tricky asparagus.
Check out our handy Beer and Salad Pairing Chart to figure out how to a salad to pair with any beer in your fridge.
Our top three pairing tips:
1. Match intensities. Having a very light garden salad? Choose an equally light beer, like a golden lager, or risk having the beer clobber the salad’s delicate flavours.
2. Salads contain a lot of ingredients—think about the two or three most intense flavours in your salad when choosing a beer to match.
3. Watch the acidity — tangy, sour dressings can clash with beer’s flavours. To cut down on the sour, make your own dressing and substitute the beer you’re pairing for part of the vinegar or fresh-squeezed citrus.
|Beer Flavours||Beer Style Examples||Food Pairing|
|Clean & Crisp||Golden & Light Lagers||Green salad with crisp, sweet greens like red or green or Boston lettuce. Poached chicken or fish. Fresh cheeses. Cucumber, garden, watermelon and Caprese salads.|
|Bready & Snappy||Pilsners, Session IPA’s||Peppery or snappy greens (arugula, mustard). Fresh herbs (cilantro, basil, chives). Creamy additions like mayonnaise, avocado, bloomy-rind cheese. Tropical and citrus fruits. Potato, Cesar or tuna salads.|
|Toasty & Smooth||Amber lagers, Dunkels, Bocks||Lightly bitter greens with croutons or nuts. Sweet, caramelized flavours like roasted squash. Asian-style or balsamic dressings. Earthy spices like cumin, coriander, cinnamon. Soba noodle salad.|
|Lightly Fruity & Spicy||German & Belgian Wheats, Kolsch||Spicy (coriander, clove, anise, tarragon, chives) or fruity flavours (citrus, melon, banana), like a Thai mango salad. Salmon and white fish. Fresh chevre, avocado. Cesar and fruit salads.|
|Nutty & Caramelly ||Brown & Amber Ales||Peppery or earthy greens like kale, dandelion, arugula. Salmon steaks, avocado. Bright tropical flavours (mango, pineapple). Fresh herbs. Curry spices. Aged cheddars, blue cheese. Cob, Cesar and steak salads.|
|Bold & Citrusy||American Pale Ales & IPA’s||Peppery or earthy greens like kale, dandelion, arugula. Salmon steaks, avocado. Bright tropical flavours (mango, pineapple). Fresh herbs. Curry spices. Aged cheddars, blue cheese. Cob, Cesar and steak salads.
|Biscuity & Earthy||English Pale Ales & Bitters||Earthy vegetables like beets, squash and mushrooms. Nuts, toasted bread. Grain-based salads (barley, quinoa, couscous). Sharp or nutty hard cheeses like aged cheddar or gouda. Moroccan-style couscous. Lentil and bean salads.|
|Funky & Dry||Farmhouse Ales||Peppery or snappy greens. Bright, spicy or peppery
flavours. Legume-based salads. Stone fruit, tropical fruit, citrus. Washed-rind cheeses with lightly funky flavours. Pork, chicken or shrimp. Asian-style salads.
|Golden & Spicy||Triples & Belgian Strong|
|Asparagus, Brussel sprouts. Bitter chard or mustard greens. Rich creamy dressings. Stone fruit like pears, apples, apricots. Nuts. Shaved brussel sprouts & walnut salad. Chilled asparagus salad. Caramelized pears and gorgonzola salad.
Download a copy of our guide: Beer and Salad Pairing Guide