Beer and Salad Pairing 101

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 FlavoursBeer Style ExamplesFood Pairing
Clean & CrispGolden & Light LagersGreen 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 & SnappyPilsners, Session IPA’sPeppery 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 & SmoothAmber lagers, Dunkels, BocksLightly 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 & SpicyGerman & Belgian Wheats, KolschSpicy (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 AlesPeppery 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 & EarthyEnglish Pale Ales & BittersEarthy 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 & DryFarmhouse 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
Golden Ales
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

January 24th, 2017|BEER & FOOD|