It some times is more of a challenge to pair different beers with the food. On the other side of table favorite beers are the main on the menu and foods should compliment the kind of beer served. The reason behind this is because Beer can be remarkably complex in its flavor and aroma. It can smell and taste of freshly baked bread or of fresh flowers, citrus and pine like Dogfish Head, Budweiser, some light pilsner and ale. Beer can also be sweet or bash with a bitter head like Heineken, Kingfisher, Kotsberg, Corona and others. There are almost over 70 various styles of beer and the range of taste combinations is varied. So how should we pair beer with food or visa versa? And it is not as easy as it seems but to pair the correct beer can be intimidating and nerve wrecking sometimes. Remember few guidelines while pairing beer and food and use it to initiate the process and later just go with the flow.
Check the label of the beer bottle. Brewers like to put right on their labels what style of beer is in the bottle and what kind of flavors you can expect.
Aroma- This mostly depends on the amount of malt or hops used in making the beer. For example German hops, American hops or Irish hops can be used; similarly the barley malt is also of variety. How a beer smells will be a good precursor to how a beer tastes. Use these senses to help you decide what food to pair with the beer you are drinking or plan to drink.
Intensity- Generally, match a beer of particular intensity to a similarly intense food. For example, an American IPA is a hoppy, very bitter style of beer with an above average alcohol content. You should not pair this with fish, shrimps and scallops because the intensity of the beer would crush the delicate flavors of the seafood. Similarly, dont serve ribs or chicken wings slathered in barbecue sauce with beers like Budweiser, Kingfisher light, Haywards etc. because here, the ribs would over power the beer. The key is to pair with balance.
Harmony- Pair foods which compliment the beer flavor. For example, a dry stout has roasted barley and coffee aromas with a flavor profile of roasted grains, dry coffee-like finish and bittersweet chocolate in the palette. Try pairing this with foods of similar flavors such as bittersweet chocolates, fudge brownies or coffee cake. The roasted grain flavors also match well with grilled meats that have a bit of char in them.
Opposite attracts - Counteracting the above lines, also try pairing of contrasting flavors. Thai, and even Indian curries, with their spiciness and heat can be counterbalanced by a malty bock. Perhaps something rich, sweet and creamy can counterbalance by an American Pale Ale.