Beer Pairing 101

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Wait — beer with fine dining? You betcha! For a moment, forget about beer with burgers or pizza (although we indulge in those now and again, too). Today’s brews are expertly crafted to bring either bold flavors or subtle, nuanced tastes that (surprise!) pair beautifully with all types of cuisine.

When choosing the right beer, we stand by the advice given in Wine Pairing 101: Sometimes you like what you like, and that’s perfectly fine. Although lighter-colored beers tend to go with fish and poultry and darker beers with meats and heartier fare, tastes can be as complex as seasonal dishes. Need a start? Check out our recommendations for tempting pairings.

Chicken, mild seafood and pasta in light sauces

Choose an approachable witbier. These hazy, light and refreshing brews offer prominent citrus notes and other mild spices (even coriander!), as most are made with unmalted wheat in the mash. It’s a delicious palate-cleanser for a lightly creamed risotto or pasta dish, and it complements — not overwhelms — chicken and mild seafood.

Beef, lamb and pork

Indulge in a strong ale, also known as winter warmer (in season!) or old ale. Eye its amber hew, savor its sweet and malty notes and look for just a hint of fruitiness. Strong ale generally has a higher ABV and stands up to the likes of rich short ribs or filet mignon and their hearty accompaniments, such as potato pancakes or mashed sweet potatoes.

Pasta, side dishes in heavier sauces

Reach for a stout (our favorite is oatmeal stout). These midnight-colored beers bring big flavors, yet have a velvety mouthfeel. Enjoy complex roastiness, malty notes and a hint of sweet as it compliments the richness and earthiness in pastas in white sauces, and sides such as mushrooms and roasted veggies. Bonus: Many stouts boast a lower ABV (watch imperials, however, which have a higher ABV and can be a bit boozy).

Dessert, cheese and charcuterie

Go with an IPA — we’re talking a mid-ABV IPA, not an in-your-face imperial. These popular brews are bright ales characterized by ample hops. Each one distinguishes itself from the growing pack by a hop selection unique to its brewmaster. Look for a beautiful golden color and enjoy crisp, bitter and bright flavors, a welcome contrast to your dessert’s sweetness. In turn, your rich dessert creates a smooth finish to each sip.

Wondering where to try some of these combos? We hope you choose The Gables at Chadds Ford! Debate the virtues of hops, malts and craft beer with our beer-loving servers and bartenders — then let them guide you to the perfect pairing with your meal. Cheers!

The Gables at Chadds Ford is nestled in the heart of the historic Brandywine Valley. Our combination of fresh seasonal cuisine, rustic yet elegant charm and enchanting outdoor dining will keep you coming back time and time again. The Gables is also the perfect venue to host your next special event, whether you are planning a wedding, rehearsal dinner, baby shower or corporate event.

Nina Malone

Photos: The Gables at Chadds Ford