The Ultimate Beer Pairing Guide

Bob Barnes - A great new book for any beer lover.

Just off the press is BEER PAIRING: THE ESSENTIAL GUIDE FROM THE PAIRING PROS, a book on matching craft beer with delicious food. Unlike wine, there just aren't many in-depth resources to guide both beginners and beer geeks for pairing beer with food. Now to the rescue come two luminaries in the beer world, Julia Herz, craft beer program director at the Brewers Association and publisher of; and Gwen Conley, director of brewery production and quality at Port Brewing/The Lost Abbey in San Marcos, California (who was featured in the Beer Geeks Port/Lost Abbey episode).

In addition to the vast knowledge imparted by Herz and Conley, there are tips from several other well known beer industry pros including Garrett Oliver, Brewmaster of Brooklyn Brewery; Stephen Beaumont, one of the world's most authoritative voices on beer and author of numerous books; Ray Isle, Executive wine editor of Food & Wine Magazine; Dr. Nicole Garneau, Chair of Health Sciences at Denver Museum of Nature & Science; Steve Parkes, Owner of Drop-In Brewery and American Brewers Guild; Fred Bueltmann, Owner of New Holland Brewing Company; Chef Adam Dulye, Executive Chef for the Brewer’s Association and; and Lucy Saunders, Author and Professor at the Siebel Institute of Technology.

After an introductory chapter describing beer, its ingredients and the three types of pairing (Home Run, Middle of the Road and Train Wreck), the following sections explore topics such as how to taste beer, pairing practices, pairing by beer style, pairing with cheese and chocolate and cooking with beer.

I especially like the Geek Out sections, scattered throughout the book, which touch on topics such as Beer Over Wine, Salty Meets Bitter, Papillae (a tutorial on the tongue and taste buds) and Chemical Interactions. It’s also refreshing to see instructions on becoming a tasting anarchist—in which you are advised to throw out the conventional advice and figure out what works for you. Of interest too are some wacky pairings I never would have considered, such as pickled vegetables with an IPA, maple-iced donuts with a Belgian-style dubbel, bacon with an imperial red ale, pineapple upside-down cake with a double IPA and teriyaki jerky with a German-style märzen/Oktoberfest.

Included in the 216 pages are 73 visually stimulating colorful photos and several graphs and charts detailing interactions of certain beer styles with certain foods, geeky science facts and nuances such as a beer dinner checklist.

Anyone in the industry planning on hosting a beer dinner or a beer connoisseur wanting to wow their friends with an eventful feast should consider this their bible on the subject.

BEER PAIRING: THE ESSENTIAL GUIDE FROM THE PAIRING PROS is published by Quarto Publishing Group USA Inc./Voyager Press and is available at

The Author:

Bob Barnes is editorial director of The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional, regional correspondent for Celebrator Beer News and writes the Top 10 Beer lists for He welcomes your inquiries and can be reached via e-mail at

The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of Ora Media, LLC, its affiliates, or its employees.

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