15th May 2019

Combining Beer and Food: Pub Food Pairings

Right now, food is a hot topic. Not just in the UK, but all over the world. We’ve mentioned before that interest in food and cooking is spiking, the same applies to drink. You only have to switch on the TV and see how many shows are dedicated to cooking. But one element overlooked is the pairing of food and drink. We’re not talking about cooking with drink, that’s entirely different, and any chef or cook worth their salt will know how to knock up a decent beer batter, that delivers excellent hearty fish and chips. We mean ‘which meals go with which drink?’, is there a right and wrong?

pub worker pouring beer from a beer tap in a pub

Now, similarly to wine pairing, it’s all down to personal taste. There’s no right or wrong, but some combinations definitely work better together than others. So, if you’re looking for more than just a lager and packet of crisps next time your down the pub, read our top 5 combo’s!

Or if you’re working in, or running a pub, maybe try the combinations for yourself, and then you can recommend them to your customers…


1. Ploughman’s – Stout / Porter


A hearty Ploughman’s demands a drink to suit. That’s why we recommend a dark beer like a stout or a porter ale if the pub has one on. The cheese, bread and chutney will pair excellently with the dark roasted flavours of the beer. Likewise, the beer will counter the sharp vinegar and pickled notes from any Silverskin onions that might be on the plate. If you’re a vegetarian don’t worry, some pubs even do vegetarian ploughman options, and because Guinness is vegan, you don’t need to miss out on the culinary delight.

Cheese board with salami

If at the end of the meal you’re having a Cheese Board, consider having half a Stout or Guinness. Alternatively, a Port is a great drink to have alongside cheese, especially Blue cheese or creamy cheeses like Brie. Note that Porter will also compliment coffee-flavoured deserts and earthy game meats such as Rabbit, Pheasant or Duck. Try a dark beer alongside a Game Pie and find out for yourself.

2. Fish and Chips – Lager or Lighter Golden Ale


The epitome of pub classic? It’s in with a shout. In all likelihood, you’ve already had fish and chips in a pub quite a few times, probably on a Friday and we’re preaching to the converted! If not, you’re certainly missing out. Ok, we get it if you don’t like batter or you’re not keen on salt and vinegar, but the humble Fish and Chips is a world beater.

Combine it with a fresh, crisp lager such as Fosters, Stella Artois, Cobra or Peroni. That refreshing taste will cut straight through the salt, vinegar and crispy batter. It also goes exceptionally well with a cold glass of Sauvignon Blanc or even Champagne, if you’re not fancying a beer. Don’t believe us? Go and try it, you won’t be disappointed.

Portion of Fish and chips


3. Burgers and Pizzas – Full flavoured Lagers


Burgers have become a staple on most pub food menus, and many pubs offer their own signature burger containing locally sourced beef. Make sure that you give the meat its due by pairing it with a delicious lager. Crafty Dan 13 Guns is a great craft lager for such occasions, but failing that, you can’t go wrong with a pint of San Miguel or Birra Moretti.

Burger and chips

Pizzas are a slightly differently beast given the amount of different toppings offered. The combination of cheese and veg, or meat lends itself to a smooth lager that can cut through all the different flavours found on top of a pizza. A good lager will cut through any grease that might be present and completely satisfy your taste buds. Especially if you’re sat in a beer garden enjoying the sunshine, or watching the football on a big screen.


4. Shellfish (Scallops or Oysters) – Stout/Guinness


Shellfish and Stout are a well-known beer and food combination, even though the thought of it might knock a few people off kilter. The dark, chocolatey/coffee aromas perfectly compliment shellfish through their slight bitter finish, adding to the salty bite of brine found with the fish.

Oysters in a shell

Some pubs will have a real ale stout on tap as part of their real ale selection behind the bar, ask about this or alternatively order a Guinness. You can also pair Oysters and Shellfish with dry white wines, champagne or even pilsner lagers.


5. Sausage and Mash – Brown Ales


We had to finish the article here didn’t we? Another pub grub classic that is potentially only rivalled by Fish and Chips for traditionalism. Most pubs offer this dish; sometimes with a home-made gravy that envelopes the mash and sausages to turn this into a stunning, comforting meal.

Sausages, mash and peas in a bowl

Brown ales are the order of the day for this dish. The nutty dark flavour will cut through the creamy mash, compliment the meatiness of the sausage and pair brilliant with any gravy thrown on top, including onions, or no onions. See what ales are on behind the bar or order a Newcastle Brown Ale, you certainly won’t regret it!

Thanks for reading our blog post about beer and food pairing, you can read more blog posts from Trust Inn’s here.

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