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How To Combine Beer With Food

We often get questions about combining food with beer, this is indeed a super interesting subject that one can experiment with endlessly! Here’s a little introduction to get you started.

Beer has a very broad taste spectrum and contains flavor nuances that are not present in wine. It’s a nice exercise to experiment with different types of beer with dishes you would normally always pair with wine. In addition, wine simply does not work with some dishes (chinese, ramen, curries, roti etc!) And beer is a much better table companion!


Taste ‘hooks’

Beer and food combinations should harmonize or contrast. In this way, sweetness and maltiness balance spicy or sour dishes. Combinations often work best when the products have common smells and tastes, so-called flavor ‘hooks’. The basic flavors and intensities must match or, if different, complement each other. If the pairing is right, your beer and food will bring out the best in one another and combine to become a whole new taste experience!



Do you want to know which beer goes with a steak? Unfortunately, there is no easy answer.  Actually, there are no rules, but you see per dish which beer best complements it. Many aspects play a role including how your dish is seasoned, from which part of the animal your meat comes, how it is cooked etc. Try out different beers and trust your own taste. Here are some things to remember if you want to have a dinner with matching beers:


-Aperitif. Start with a light beer without too much residual sugars, carbon dioxide or alcohol. A Saison, for example, is a good aperitif beer.

Our Kaapse Harrie, a delicious saison, gluten-free and brewed with szechuan pepper, goes super well with a tasty piece of farmhouse cheese or cheesy appetiser!


-Harmony: Delicate dishes call for delicate beers, and distinct flavors need distinct beers. Light beers get overwhelmed by intense dishes and vice versa. When pairing, try to achieve a balance. The alcohol percentage is a good guideline because the higher the percentage, the stronger the flavors in your dish must be to balance this. If a beer is above 6%, it is generally not well combined with light dishes such as fish, salad or eggs. For example, a salad goes well with a Berliner Weisse and a Strong Ale compliments a spicy bean dish.

Try our Kaapse Nelis with a salad Nicoise or a Kaapse Matador with Chili Con Carne!


-Spice. Hop bitterness and a spicy dish reinforce each other: a spicy curry and an IPA are not a good idea. With a really spicy dish (the kind where the flames blow out of your mouth) it is also better not to drink beer with a high alcohol percentage, because that’s asking for trouble! The high amount of alcohol only makes it even hotter! To soften spiciness opt for a stout or a porter. The soft malts downplay the heat of the dish.

For example, try RottKaap a Czech Black Lager (also known as schwarzbier) with a spicy Thai curry!


– Creamy / buttery. If you have a creamy or buttery dish, choose a (slightly) bitter beer such as an IPA. The bitterness lifts heavier dishes. You can even play with the seasoning in your dish by choosing an IPA with spicy hops.

Our Kaapse Karel, for example, goes well with soft Asian dishes such as Pad Thai, but also with buttery mashed potatoes.

Or how about Kaapse Maria with risotto?


– Bubbles. Beer also works well with fatty foods. The carbon dioxide bubbles in beer cut through grease in the mouth and have a neutralising, palate-cleansing effect.


Cheese & Oysters:

Two foods that are traditionally linked to wine, but don’t let that limit you! Did you know that oysters and stout are a traditional Irish combination? The salty flavors of the oyster combine perfectly with the roasted, dry notes of a stout.

Beer and cheese also go great together, let yourself be guided by the taste rules mentioned above. For example, a light, young cheese goes well with a soft saison like Kaapse Harrie. You could try a spicy old cheese with a sweet, barley wine like Kaapse Leen. Or how about a French cheese, combined with a fruity New England IPA like Kaapse El?!


Combination examples


What Beer Goes Well with Fish?

Kaapse Harrie, Kaapse Nelis (white fish)

Kaapse Karel, Kaapse Maria (mackerel, salmon, smoked fish)


What Beer Goes Well with Shellfish?

Kaapse Tess, Kaapse Gozer


What Beer Goes Well with Beef?

Kaapse Gozer, Kaapse Carrie, Kaapse Matador, Kaapse Marcus


What Beer Goes Well with Vegetable dishes?

Kaapse Nelis, Kaapse Harrie, Kaapse Tess, Kaapse Kalimero


What Beer Goes Well with Pork?

Kaapse Maria, Kaapse Karel, Kaapse Zweipac, Kaapse Dennie


What Beer Goes Well with Curries / spicy foods?

Kaapse Gozer, RottKaap, Kaapse Marcus, Kaapse Matador


We hope this has helped you a little bit! Use your senses, play with non-obvious pairings, keep experimenting and looking for the magical combination! Bon Appetit and Cheers!