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I am no sommelier, however I understand that while drinking or tasting wines a suitable matching food-stuff (be it a cheese, herb, etc) should be paired to fully engage the drink.

Is there a similar practice to observe with respect to beers? If so, are there any informational resources for the various beers and beer styles? One brewery in particular has some amazing flavor profiles for their beers; but what do you couple with coriander, grains of paradise, and leather?

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up vote 7 down vote accepted

Beer pairing dinners in my area seem to be on the rise as more craft beer-centric establishments show up. This may not be true across the world, but I see this practice becoming increasingly common.

BeerAdvocate, a noted resource amongst all the beer fanatics I know, has a guide to pairing and another specific guide for pairing with cheese.

Epicurious, home of magazine content from Gourmet, Bon Appetite, and others, has a guide to how to pair that relates beer to wine.

Brewers Association, a group of craft brewers and organization to advocate for craft breweries, has a guide to pairings with information from a published cookbook. Their online store has several titles that may provide interesting resources.

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The Epicurious link is interesting. It goes more for matching beer to your food but it's an interesting read nonetheless. The beer advocate guide on cheese though is fantastic. I am intrigued by the one suggestion "Gorgonzola and Creamy Blues meld well with Barleywines." I thought the only thing that goes with Barleywine was spinning headaches. –  mfg Nov 3 '10 at 20:44
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May I suggest experimenting with beer & chocolate pairings? You can look for obvious overlap between darkness, fruitiness, bitterness and so on - or attempt opposites for more radical comparisons.

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I hear this suggestion often but I've always found beer and chocolate to be a detestable pairing despite the flavour characteristics they have in common. There's probably some amount of personal taste factoring into this, but nevertheless, I've always thought of this pairing as an example of where the theoretical model doesn't seem to accurately predict reality... –  Aaronut Oct 27 '10 at 21:05
    
There are a few--very smooth--dark ales and stouts that I like with chocolate, but for the most part, no. –  dmckee Oct 28 '10 at 0:02
    
I'll try and remember to mention it here next time I find a felicitous combination. I've found some that I thought were knockouts, but unfortunately lack the discipline to write them down :(. @dmckee, I agree that the darkest beers are the place to look. –  Michael at Herbivoracious Oct 28 '10 at 20:51
    
I would expect almost any Russian Imperial would go well with chocolate. What would be repulsive would be something that is heavily hopped (esp. with Cascade hops). For roastier malts I suspect they would blend like coffee. I used Rasputin and Dark Bitter Chocolate as the base for a vegan chili recently and the built off each other very well. Granted, stewing the two flavors together is very different from adding both to the palate; but I did enjoy munching on them together with the peppers as I prepped. –  mfg Nov 3 '10 at 18:19
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