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What Beer Should You Drink With Dinner? Easy, Just Start With These 5 Beer Pairing Tips

Friday is coming and that means lots of cars on the road. Instead of plunging into that deep sea called Metro Manila traffic, why not take the time to enjoy a nice cold glass, mug or bottle of beer—paired with a sumptuous dinner.

A beer pairing may seem like yet another food trend that’s getting some traction, but admittedly—and especially for us Filipinos—having some pulutan while enjoying a beer isn’t something new. The growing attention on craft beers, however, has created a renewed interest in finding dishes that harmoniously match these artisanal brews.

Potion 28 India Pale Ale with Privatus Private Dining’s Pickled Smoked Quail Eggs


So if you want to take your beer experience beyond the usual pulutan get-together, here are a few tips that should get you started on a proper beer-and-food pairing, whether you’re a craft beer connoisseur or someone who simply enjoys beer but wants to level up.


Get to know the different kinds of beer

Beer is made of a variety of ingredients such as barley, hops, and yeast. Microbrewers have been experimenting with creating interesting new flavors by adding spices, fruits, herbs, nuts, and more. These ingredients add character to the beer by incorporating fresh flavor profiles into the drink.

Blue Wheat American Pale Wheat Ale paired with Privatus Private Dining’s Baked Oysters


Go matchy-matchy with color

“There are a few rules to food and beer pairing,” begins DRAFT Restaurant and Brewery’s R&D chef Donato Avellana. “For starters, match the color of the beer to the color of the meat or food component such as you’d do with wine. Light-colored crisp beers will go well with lightly-flavored white meat, while dark, roasted grilled meat will go well with dark-colored beers.”


There’s a beer to match every dish at DRAFT Restaurant and Brewery


Try complementary or contrasting flavors

A good pairing usually plays with either complementing or contrasting flavors. Finding a common flavor—say, spicy dish with a spicy beer—helps create a harmony of similar flavors. On the other hand, contrasting flavors such as a bitter stout with a salty-sweet shellfish go well together, as the flavors play off each other. When exploring beer and food pairings, keep in mind that food that is richer and stronger in flavor goes well with strongly-flavored beers, while more delicate flavors may best complement beers that are lighter. “Combining strong and strong will bring out the umami in both flavors of your beer and the food,” adds Chef Donato.


Burning Matt Pale Ale and Privatus Private Dining’s Radical Wagyu Sliders


Go for balance

Certain dishes interact well with certain types of beer. For instance, a bitter hop or a roasted malt goes well with a sweet, fatty or umami-rich dish, while a sweet and malty beer style balances a spicy or even tart dish as it cools the palate. A dark lager pairs well with pizza and burgers, much like an India pale ale works harmoniously with barbecues and steaks. Sushi, cheese, and citrusy dishes are recommended for a pairing with a brown ale or wheat beer.

Beer with your dessert? Why not! A chocolatey dessert works well with a dry stout or a dark ale with hints of caramel. For fruit-based desserts with high acidity, go for a nutty ale or a fruity beer, and a creamy ice cream (yes!) or panna cotta will find some freshness from a classic Pilsner. Much like anything else, balance is key when it comes to beer and food pairing.


Monkey Eagle Brewery's secret, experimental craft brew, a porter, paired with Privatus Private Dining's deluxe dessert, Mini Lemon Cheese Cake with Sea Salt


Take a class

If you’re not feeling too confident about your beer-and-food pairing abilities just yet, consider taking a beer appreciation class or visit restaurants that offer beer-and-food pairings. DRAFT Restaurant and Brewery and Privatus Private Dining, for instance, have menus that complement their selection of craft beers from local and international microbreweries.


A sample of DRAFT’s beer pairing menu


Privatus Private Dining, a premium catering service with a test kitchen in Pasig, recently held a Beer Appreciation 101 event in partnership with Monkey Eagle Brewery, where they introduced local craft beers with Privatus’ cuisine. According to Monkey Eagle Brewery marketing and sales head Ricardo “Rich” A. Lopa III, “Through Beer Appreciation 101, we can reach out to people by educating them on the basics of craft beer, the brewing process, the different beer styles, and how each differs in taste, recipe, and the brewing process.” Interested diners (with a minimum of 30 guests) can arrange to experience their very own Beer 101 workshop at Privatus.


Trust your palate

At the end of the day, a beer-and-food pairing should be an enjoyable experience, so let your taste buds be the judge. Go ahead, try as many kinds of beer as you can, and find which ones you find most pleasing to your palate. Let your taste buds be your guide, and from there on, discover a whole new world of flavors. Cheers!



DRAFT Restaurant and Brewery, New Wing, Power Plant, Rockwell Center, Makati City, (0917) 507-3442

Privatus Private Dining, 8 Francisco Legaspi Street, Barangay Maybunga, Pasig City, (0917) 629-7453