Father’s Day Food & Beer Pairings
by David Klemt
Father’s Day is right around the corner and while it isn’t usually quite as busy as Mother’s Day, this year could be different.
After all, states and provinces are reopening, and the weather is getting warmer. In fact, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced yesterday that restaurants and bars are no longer subject to social distancing restrictions.
And hey, who isn’t looking for an excuse to get out and return to restaurants and bars?
Now, I’m going to assume that most operators who plan to celebrate Father’s Day this weekend have their promotions in place. However, to help give those promos a boost, I want to share beer pairings for classic Father’s Day menu items.
Of course, these pairings work well on any day of the week, and they’re in no way limited to dads. Anyone who enjoys beer will appreciate operators putting an emphasis on food and beer pairings.
One of the most popular foods, particularly for those seeking out comfort, burgers and an array of beers go together. For a classic hamburger, suggest an IPA, APA or Lager. Known for your mushroom and Swiss cheese burger? Brown ales, amber ales and porters work well. Pale ales go well with bacon burgers, and wheat ales and Witbier pair with veggie burgers.
Fried chicken is certainly right up there with burgers in terms of comfort foods. And it’s certainly great for Father’s Day. Suggest pairing fried chicken with a Kölsch, Märzen, Helles, and Hefeweizen. For barbecue chicken, recommend a light lager, Pilsner, Saison, Hefeweizen and Witbier. Honey glazed chicken (baked or as wings) work very well with a Kölsch.
If you have ribs on the menu, there are a few ways to go with beer pairings. Porters, stouts and German lagers are medium- to full-bodied and can stand up to bold, rich flavors and compliment smoke. On the other hand, pale ales and IPAs (lighter versions tend to work better) are lighter but can compliment barbecue flavors as well. Porters and American pale ales sip well with pulled pork sandwiches. A Märzen, Hefeweizen or Porter pairs nicely with pork chops.
Just like there are several cuts of beef for steaks, there are several beer types that pair well with steak. Brown ales, stouts, porters, IPAs, lagers and IPAs work well for different reasons. Cuts that are more flavorful (ribeye, top sirloin, porterhouse, T-bone) pair well with darker beers (generally speaking). But cuts like filet mignon, known to be lighter in flavor, work well with lighter beers (some lagers and IPAs).
Much like steak, seafood presents plenty of variety for beer drinkers. You’ll find that Pilsners compliment many different types of seafood. Generally speaking, lobster dishes pair well with a Pilsner or an IPA (that isn’t too assertive). Pilsners work great with an array of fish, so suggest one with your fish and chips or tilapia. When it comes to many crab dishes, lagers and—yep—Pilsners are excellent recommendations. Wheat beers pair well with mussels, and sours and Goses drink well with oysters.
When it comes to grilled and charred vegetables, dark beers with roast coffee, malty and chocolate flavors pair very well. Imperial stouts can certainly hold their own with grilled, roasted and charred veggies. However, black lagers and porters are lighter than imperial stouts with similar flavor characteristics, meaning they won’t overpower the vegetables.
Of course, the best way to make winning pairing suggestions is to try them yourself. Even better, include kitchen staff, servers and bartenders and get their feedback. There’s no substitute for being able to make pairing recommendations based on personal experience.