There are two philosophical views when pairing beer and food. One approach is to select a beer that has counterbalancing flavor compo- nents. An example of this is selecting a lighter, thirst-quenching beer to offset a particularly spicy dish. The other approach is to select a beer that has similar attributes to the food in question, allowing the flavors to harmonize and reinforce one another.


Beer is a wonderful cooking liquid for many recipes. When used for braising meat, beer is a natural flavor enhancer and will prevent flavor from leaching out of the meat. Beer also will create richer flavor in stocks and broths as opposed to using water by itself. Steaming mussels or clams in beer allows a more natural seafood aroma to permeate the flavor: beer is also great for boiling prawns. In batters, the carbon dioxide will create a lighter texture. In some instances the beer is an integral element of the dish, as it is in O’batzda, a freshly-made Bavarian cheese. It is important that the right beer used for cooking. In general, a malty beer, low to moderate in bitterness, is optimal. When braising or boiling, you should normally use a 50:50 beer to water ratio. The best Gordon Biersch beers for braising are Märzen, Blonde Bock, WinterBock and Maibock. The bitterness of the Czech Style Pilsner is perfect as a thirst quencher to compliment spicy dishes, but its high level of bitterness will overshadow the subtle flavors when used for cooking.