Four great beer and food pairings

Beer and ale work well both alongside food and as an ingredient within it. To celebrate London Beer Week we take a look at some of the classic and the more adventurous pairings.

Beer is great paired with a wide range of foods, from chocolate to cheese (photo credit: Alan Levine)
Beer is great paired with a wide range of foods, from chocolate to cheese (photo credit: Alan Levine)

A pie's best friend

There can be no doubting that a pie and a pint is one of Britain’s greatest pub combinations, with a good steak and ale pie hard to beat on a cold day. But are there any more inventive ways to use beer in a pie? Well, for starters the use of beer and ale should not be limited to savoury pies. There are a host of American pie recipes - from apple pie to pecan and pumpkin, where ale can be used. According to, slightly sweet sour beers work well for an apple pie, where the flavours have hints of apple and citrus, while for a pecan pie a richer, more malty flavour is needed - from a wood-aged beer for example.

Beer and chocolate

It might not be the first combination that comes to mind when thinking of what goes well with beer but chocolate can do just that. Stout in particular - a dark beer made using roasted malt or roasted barley, hops, water and yeast - has rich deep flavours that complement its cocoa-containing friend. How could you not be tempted by the sound of Jamie Oliver’s bread pudding with chocolate beer sauce, for example?

Chocolate and stout cakes (photo credit: Allagash Brewing)

Cheese and beer

There a large number of beer and cheese pairing guides on the internet, which confirms one thing at least - that beer and cheese go very well together. According to RedEnvelope, some of the greatest combinations are goat's cheese and a wheat beer, sharp cheddar and a pale ale, mild cheddar and a brown ale and stout and blue cheese. The two flavours are also combined in a number of recipes, from cheddar ale soup with bacon and potatoes, to beer mac ‘n’ cheese.

Beer breads

With yeast in common, beer and bread have long had a cosy relationship. Yeast is used to turn sugars into carbon dioxide and alcohol in both the production of beer and bread - however the alcohol in bread evaporates during the baking process, so don’t worry, you can’t get drunk from eating a bagel. There are a number of different beers and ales which can be used to create breads. According to the Craft Beer Channel, the best choices are a malty bitter, such as Adnams, or a very hoppy beverage like St Austell’s Proper Job.

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