Boneless Appétit: A Guide To Pairing Craft Beer With Vegetarian Cuisine

craft beer vegetarian pairing guide

With a comprehensive infographic, recommending delicious non-meat beer and food combos.

Today, pairing craft beer with food is one of the hottest trends in entertaining, both at home and for larger events. The great thing about craft beer is that you can essentially pair it with any meal. With the seemingly endless varieties of craft beer available to consumers these days, there are many fine food and beer pairings to choose from.

One food style that is often overlooked for craft beer pairings is vegetarian cuisine. I mean we all know that beer pairs well with burgers, wings and a good steak. This has been written about ad nauseam. What hasn’t gotten a lot of coverage until recently, is how well you can pair craft beer with vegetarian food options.

craft beer vegetarian pairing guide infographic

Click for full guide.

Pots Planters & More teamed up with award-winning author John Schlimm, author of many beer and vegetarian themed cookbooks including the Ultimate Beer Lover’s Happy Hour, The Cheesy Vegan and Grilling Vegan Style, to create a visually stunning guide to pairing craft beer and vegetarian cuisine together. The spectrum of flavors and textures found in vegetarian and vegan food is considerably broad, which allows for many pairing options for craft beer drinkers.

They found that when it comes to pairing craft beer and vegetarian food, focus on three simple approaches:

  • Give great compliments – Focus on pairing similar flavor profiles together. This may be common sense but it holds especially true with food and beer pairings. Smoother/more malty beers tend to pair well with sweeter food. More hoppy beers tend to pair well with more savory food dishes. If you want to learn about some great savory treats you could try out, you can read more online through the articles in lifestyle and food blogs.
  • Strike a balance – To balance your craft beer and vegetarian food pairings mix and match smoother, sweeter and more subtle flavored foods with intense, palate-grabbing beers and vice versa.
  • Try to play the field – Drink the beers that you like. Everyone has a different palate that will process flavors differently. Use small sampling glasses like a flight that you would order in a bar to allow for sampling of different food flavors with different beers.

The approach they take towards pairing food and beer is more of a casual laid back attitude, which encourages readers to drink and eat what they love. The thought process here, is that if you don’t like a certain type of food, the beer you pair with won’t miraculously change that and vice versa.

Take the time to figure out the basic elements of the beer that you like to drink. What you find sweet, smooth and malty versus strong, sharp and hoppy. This can help guide you to which foods will bring out different elements in your specific taste buds.

Now that we’ve covered how to approach pairing craft beer and vegetarian food together, let’s take a look at some actual food and beer pairings that will not only quench your thirst and fill your stomach when meat isn’t on the menu.

IPA + Vegetarian Pizza

Pizza and IPA’s are extremely popular so it’s not surprise to see these two paired together. Don’t skimp on either the toppings or the hops with this pairing. I personally prefer a pizza with mushrooms and tomatoes paired with something extremely hoppy like Bells Two Hearted or Hopslam.

Stout + Hummus

Two of my favorite things to snack on, at least during the cold winter months. I prefer a roasted red garlic hummus with a seasonal thick imperial stout like Brooklyn Black OPS or Goose Island Bourbon County Stout.

Saison + Falafel

Saison’s are great in the summer and the fruity blend can pair well with the distinctive mashed bean and herb flavor of a traditional falafel. If you are able to track down a highly sought Saison like Ann or Arthur from Hill Farmstead, try pairing it with a freshly made falafel with extra tahini.

America Pale Ale + Pretzels

Beer and pretzels go together like peanut butter and jelly. We’re not exactly re-inventing the wheel with this suggestion but I recommend pairing large pretzels sticks with a Zombie Dust from Three Floyds. Bonus points if you can find a way to use the pretzel as a straw.

Scotch Ale + Queso Dip

This is a great combination for football season and the colder months of the year. A homemade or store-bought queso dip will pair nicely with malt-heavy Scotch ale. If you’re in the North Carolina area seek out Duck-Rabbit Wee Heavy Scotch and pair it the ever elusive Tostitos brand salsa con queso dip. Neither will disappoint.

Dopplebock + Chocolate

The matiness and minimal hoppy flavor profile of a Dopplebock pairs perfectly with chocolate candy, cake, cookies, brownies, really any delicious dessert. A personal favorite is the Dark Heathen Triple Bock from Kuhnehnn Brewing in Michigan. Pair this with a gooey brownie and thank me later.

These are only a taste of the 30 different vegetarian food and craft beer pairings presented in the guide from Pots Planters & More and author John Schlimm. The big takeaway here is to drink the beers you like and pair them with foods containing similar flavor profiles. Everyone wins with delicious food and beer pairings. Cheers!

Find more vegetarian recipes from this cookbook’s review that Kitchenistic posted.


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Matt Zajechowski is a Senior Outreach and Content Manager at Digital Third Coast. He enjoys traveling and trying regional food and drink. In his down time he enjoys reading and spending time with this two cats.

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