June 20, 2022

How to Pair Seafood and Beer

Does beer go well with seafood dishes? This question is often asked and yes, beer and seafood can go very well together, if you follow a few basic rules. Adam Dulye, Executive Chef for the Brewers Association, the not-for-profit trade association representing small and independent American craft brewers, shares his knowledge on pairing American craft beer with seafood.

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There is no need to shy away from enjoying a nice, cold beer together with a delicious seafood dish. You simply need to know a few basics and find the right match! Whether you love eating oysters, salmons, or prawns  – there is the perfect pairing of American Craft Beer just waiting to be discovered! 

Here’s a guide to making the most of seafood and beer together:  

  • Look for synergies between the two, not just in taste and flavor but texture and mouthfeel too.
  • Avoid overwhelming the delicate flavor of fish with a bold and powerful beer style
  • Carbonation is key to lifting fat off the palate and preparing for the next bite.  Acidity and bitterness will also cut through fat
  • Use a tart beer in place of a spritz of lemon
  • Think about beer as one of the ingredients of the dish

Oysters and stout are a classic combination – the rich, malty sweetness of an imperial stout contrasts perfectly with the briny, salinity of the oysters. White fish is better off matched with a mildly tart beer to mimic a squeeze of lemon and a crisp. The effervescent pilsner will pair perfectly with fish and chips while lifting fat from the palate. 

Try pairing these favorite dishes with American craft beer:

PrawnsGolden AleLight, floral hops balance the brine of the prawns
CalamariHellesThis crisp and clean lager style cuts through deep fried batter
Smoked salmon, smoked fishMildLight malt character echoes the fish’s smokey notes and low bitterness provides the perfect partner
Ceviche GueuzeMarinade white fish eg. sea bass in a sour, tart beer and serve alongside for complimentary flavours
Fish & ChipsPilsnerHigh level of carbonation lifts fat off the palate.  Bitter finish also cuts through fat
Fish PieKölschBready malt notes and restrained bitterness compliment the delicate fish and creamy sauce
MusselsWitbierCan be used in the cooking process in place of wine.  Orange, peppery notes compliment the mussel’s salinity
Salmon/troutSaisonMild spice and peppery notes stand up to the fish’s oily richness
White fish eg. cod, sea bass, turbot, halibutGoseMild tartness and salty, dry finish compliments firm white fish.  Similar to a squeeze of lemon
OystersStoutRich, sweet malts v briney, salinity help make this combination a classic pairing

American craft brewers are widely recognized as pioneering the global craft beer revolution through innovative use of high quality raw materials, technical brewing expertise and an unswerving commitment to quality throughout the entire supply chain to ensure beer reaches the customer exactly as the brewer intended. Beer can rightly claim its place at the dinner table due to style diversity and almost its endless pairing potential. American craft beer is available throughout Europe.