Black Flannel Academy

Basic Food & Beer Pairing Concepts

Here we discuss basic food & beer pairing concepts designed to provide context for understanding why some food and beer pairings work while others, not so much.

successful Outcomes

  1. Desirable flavors are highlighted in both the beer and the dish
  2. Combination of the two invokes memory, emotion, deeper thought
  3. Pairing creates new flavors not present in either the beer or the dish

Pairing Process

  • Drink beer and evaluate
  • Eat a bite of the dish
  • Drink beer again
  • Evaluate the interactions


  • Match Intensity of food item to beer
    • Light – Pilsner with Triple Cream Brie
    • Heavy – Imperial Stout with Blue Cheese
  • Complimentary – similar flavors present in both the food & beer
    • Toasty malty flavors of a Dunkel with a pretzel
    • Indian Curry with Cloves and Dunkles Weissbier (clove phenolics from yeast)
  • Contrast/Cut – Works two ways:
    • Contrast – opposing flavors highlight flavors in the other
      • Roasted malts with sweet creamy desserts
      • Mussels & a sour beer, food seems richer and sweeter due to the acidity of the beer
    • Cut – beer traits help refresh the palate by lifting, cleansing, or removing rich or fatty flavors from the palate. Common “cutting” beer traits include carbonation, sourness, and bitterness, and to a lesser extent, alcohol and roastiness

2.Combination invokes memory & emotion

  • Potential to tap into memories and create emotional responses
    • We all have memories around food and flavors
    • Varies from person to person / it’s a hard thing to plan
    • When this hits, it’s pretty magical
  • Example: nutty oatmeal stout with raspberry pie

3.Pairing creates new flavors

  • Create new unexpected flavors not present in either the beer or the dish
    • Harder to predict, but most impressive when this works
    • Surprising example: English Barley Wine with Stilton

What do you perceive?

Food & Beer pairing is a very personal experience.  Curated food & beer pairings presented at Black Flannel Brewing Co. are tested by our staff of Certified Cicerone’s  who found elements of success in the pairing.

We won’t necessarily present what we perceived so we don’t influence your perception.  Of course we’d be more than happy to discuss any time, once you’ve formulated your own opinion.