Indulging in a crisp, cold draught beer is mandatory for many customers when dining out. Whether it’s a favorite domestic pint, a beloved local brew or something that simply sparks a diner’s interest when they see it on the menu, beers at restaurants are just as important to consumers as the wine list. It’s essential that the different styles of beers on the menu complement the variety of flavors and food offerings at restaurants. Pairings are key for many diners.
According to 2017 Nielsen Craft Beer Insights, 71% of consumers look for complementary foods when choosing a craft beer at restaurants and bars.
Consider how many customers that percentage encompasses over the course of a week, a month or a year and how much money is being left on the table if operations aren’t offering pairable options on the menu. Check out trending these tips for offering perfectly paired beers with delicious food items.
IPAs: Bitter, bready and hoppy, but versatile
According to Datassential Menu Trends, 45% of menus feature IPAs. These brisk-tasting beers complement intense flavors and aromatic spices, which makes them a perfect pairing for dishes such as stews, curries and more. The bitter flavors of an IPA are also great for cutting the richness of ingredients such as cheddar sauce, so they’re a great addition to an order of loaded fries or an indulgent burger.
Sours: Strong and bold, paired best with foods that match
Sour beers range in tartness from delightful and refreshing to mouth-puckering, and they’ve become overtly popular in recent years. Their bold taste can overwhelm delicate flavors, so it’s important to offer them as a pairing for foods that can stand up to them. For instance, buffalo wings or Spicy Pickle Fries are hot and spicy options that are ideal for pairing with sour beers. Other options include a charcuterie plate with cured pork or other salty meats and tangy or ripened cheeses, such as blue or goat cheese, as well as fresh fruits and seafood dishes that feature a citrus flavor profile, such as mussels served with a squeeze of lemon.
Another unique way to pair beers with food is by infusing the food itself with the beer. Brew City IPA Beer Battered Gouda & Mozzarella Cheese Bites or Brew City IPA Beer Battered Onion Rings feature the bold taste of an IPA in the breading itself, making these options perfect for sharing with a table of craft beer-lovers. Brew City Beer Battered Skin-On Maxi Fries stay extra crispy on the outside, fluffy on the inside and offer a beer-forward flavor profile diners will love.
With nearly three quarters of diners looking for craft beer pairings when they dine out, it’s crucial for operators to offer an array of options that work well together or to offer foods that feature the beer itself in the recipe. From French fries to tater tots, beer-battered onion rings to beer-battered cheese bites, McCain Foods has everything restaurants need to ensure the food side of the beer-pairings menu is strong. Download McCain Foods pairing guide for or more beer and food pairing inspiration.