The 3 C's of Pairing Beer with Food Cut

There are lots of ways to approach pairing beer with food. You can pair beer and food that complement each other, contrast with each other, or, our final C, cut each other.

Cutting is similar to contrast, but taken to the extreme. We're talking about big bold flavors or sensations when we think about cutting; think about biting into a rich, fatty piece of BBQ, or scorching your tongue on a spicy pepper. Much like contrast, you want to pair those intense, extreme foods with a beer that will take it down a notch. So, try cutting the richness of a fatty cheese with the bright sourness of a gueuze or fruited lambic.

This final C makes for fun and imaginative pairings because it challenges you to one-up whatever food you're eating with the beer you're drinking. Get creative!

Cut: Curry with IPA or Doppelbock

One of the most classic pairings is one you might not expect to work. We like cutting the spicy heat and flavors of an Indian curry with the intense hop bitterness and malt richness of an American IPA. This is a good example of meeting intensity with an equal (or greater) intensity to allow the strong flavors to mingle and compete. The intense citrus and pine flavors from the hops meet the intense spice flavors of the curry, while the malt helps cut through the heat. We like Stone Brewing Co.'s Enjoy By IPA, or brew your own with our Warrior Double IPA.

Not everyone is a fan of intensely hoppy beers. So what can you do to beat the heat? You can calm spice by going from one end of the spectrum to the other. The heat from spice is calmed by sweetness, so rather than relying on intense flavors to calm the burn, we can use malt sweetness to do the same. A nice German Doppelbock is one of our favorite beers to pair with a spicy curry. The roasted, sweet prune and plum flavors of the beer help cut through the intensity of the curry, soothing the heat in the process. Try the Spaten Optimator or Tröegs Brewing Company's Troegenator with your curry -- you'll be sweetly surprised.