How to Pair Your Super Bowl Starters With Beer

By Julia Herz & Gwen Conley | January 30, 2016
beer pairing guide - beer and chips
Voyageur Press,

Chips and dips, nuts, pizza, wings—there are so many delicious possibilities for every one of these foods. And let’s not forget about cheese. Whether you’re making a pepper jack grilled cheese or a bowl of gorgonzola mac-and-cheese, there’s a beer for that!

Chips and dips: The salty crunch of chips is a natural match for beers of all stripes. In fact, flavored chips with different beers can make for some fun pairings. Bring in the dips for some next-level flavor matching. It’s easy to forget as you munch away at a party, but salsas, queso, and guacamole are packed with both strong and subtle flavors that make for interesting pairings. Plus, who won’t thank you for bringing chips, dips, and beer to the next gathering?

Roasted tomato and chipotle corn salsa with pilsener or golden ale: The toasted malts and carbonation combine with the roasted, smoky, and earthy characteristics of the salsa in such a way that you’ll find this seemingly simple pairing calling for another bite, then another sip, then another bite . . .

Queso dip with British-style barley wine: This may seem crazy, but the higher alcohol and carbonation cut right through the richness of the cheese. Sweet malts complement the dairy sweetness of the queso but cut the spiciness of any pepper, and the finish combines sweet, salty, and savory.

Corn, black bean, and roasted red pepper salsa with American brown ale: Roasted chocolate malts complement the earthiness of the black beans. The mouthfeel is silky; the finish is sweet and roasted.

Guacamole with a hoppy American pale ale: Citrus from the hops meets the lime in guacamole, toasted malt meets corn chips, and the carbonation cuts and lifts fat so nothing is overwhelming—it’s all in harmony.

Pineapple salsa with German-style hefeweizen or Belgian-style saison: The acidic tart and sweet notes from the salsa play with the creamy, yeasty mouthfeel and high carbonation from the hefe. It all combines in a most interesting crisp, clean finish with a touch of complex spice.

Excerpted from Beer Pairing: The Essential Guide from the Pairing Pros by Julia Herz and Gwen Conley. Voyageur Press, 2015.