Beer. It goes with anything, right? Depends on who you ask but when you're pairing it with food, there's definitely some things to keep in mind.

It seems like you always hear people talk about what foods go best with a particular wine, but why don't we have that discussion more when it comes to beer? After all, there are tons of beer varieties and flavors out there. Sure, you might see a beer recommended with certain dishes at restaurants but that's usually about it. When you're pairing beer with food remember the three c's: cut, complement, and contrast.

CUT
Have you ever eaten something REALLY spicy and grabbed a big glass of water to quell the burn, only to find out it doesn't really help? That's because the chemical that makes peppers spicy doesn't dissolve in water, therefore the heat isn't removed. It's soluble in beer though and the more hops, the more it takes away the hot-factor. Pair beer with spicy Mexican food or a habanero pepper, and you're good. Ok, I definitely don't recommend eating a habanero pepper plain, just to be clear. They're considered one of the hottest peppers in the world and are not to be taken lightly.

COMPLEMENT
Selecting a beer that's a perfect complement to your meal or vice-versa can be a challenge. Here are a few tips to go by:

  • Wheat beers go great with soups and salads, vegetarian dishes, Asian dishes, and citrus-flavored foods.
  • Stouts are the perfect complement to salty foods like oysters, chocolate, and rich stews.
  • Porter dark beers go great with smoked foods, barbecue, bacon, and chilis.
  • Pilsner should be your choice with cheese as well as seafood, light salads, and are also a good choice for spicy foods.
  • Lager beers go great with some pasta dishes, Latin food, and Southeast Asian food.
  • Fruit Beers are the perfect match for foods that are driven by herbs and spices and also salads with fruity dressings. A great choice to go with a fruity dessert too.
  • Bock Beer goes well with Cajun food like jerk chicken and beef and sausage.
  • Ales are great with burgers, Mexican foods and spicy foods in general.

CONTRAST
Or you could take the direct opposite approach to the above and be adventurous. Pair a beer and a food that your friends or those "in the know" say will not or do not go together and give it a shot. What's the worse thing that can happen? You throw the food out because it's a shame to waste a good beer.

[via Epicurious]