The craft brewing industry has made it possible to find beer in a wide range of flavors. While you might already have a taste for a specific type, it’s always good to know how to plan the perfect beverage pairing for any special meals where you want to enhance the flavors. From rich stouts to light lagers, here is what you need to know to start pairing beer with your catered meals.

Avoid Overpowering a Meal

When it comes to catering, Monmouth NJ event planners want to remember that the food should remain the star of the show. It might be tempting to pull out your fanciest beers when it is time to impress, but it won’t do much good if your guests can’t taste the food. Always pair beer so that it enhances the flavor rather than covering it up. An easy way to do this is to think lighter for delicate flavors. For example, a light ale with a low alcohol content will pair better with our Chicken Francese, while a heavier porter would go great with BBQ pulled pork.

Use Beer Choices for Palate Cleansing

If you are serving several courses or are hosting an event that is heavy on the appetizers, then you might also need to consider how the beer works for cleansing the palate. Many people will take a sip of beer rather than water when they change to a new part of their meal. For example, a light, crisp beer can help lower the heat level in your guest’s mouth if they are switching from a spicy food to a mellower flavor.

Know How to Use Specific Elements

Some of the best craft brews are created to emphasize certain flavors. You can often determine the main elements just by reading the beer label since brewers often list what makes a beer unique. For example, they may make references to using blood oranges, honey or even pumpkin in their beer. Thinking about how these elements will complement or contrast with your menu selections helps you figure out how well they’ll go together.

Pair Based Upon the Beer Type

One of the simplest ways to pair beer is to just look at the type and what it is known for going along with. Jersey Shore catering teams often use this general rule of thumb for figuring out which beers to suggest for enhancing the menu. For example, you’ll find that India pale ales, which are hugely popular right now, are great to use with spicy and strong foods. Meanwhile, an American wheat ale is lovely with salads and lighter pasta dishes. Starting out with this basic list can help you begin narrowing down your options to a specific beer.

As a beginner, you might still run into occasional times when you just aren’t sure what beer goes with your meal. We encourage you to experiment and have fun. You just can’t go too wrong when you’ve already planned a delicious menu. Our amazing team of culinary experts is also always ready to help. Just ask when you order your meals, and we’ll do our best to make sure that you plan for the perfect beverage pairing.

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- Chef John Deatcher

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