Although dinner parties are much less common these days, people who enjoy them miss them even more. If you are planning to have an old-fashioned dinner party, you will be wanting to hit all the notes and get everything right. Part of the process is planning the menu, which you will likely spend the most time considering. It is traditional to choose a wine to go with the meal. But these days, you might want to change it up and choose a beer, particularly a premium craft beer. If you know what you are doing, you can match your beer to the type of food and come out looking like a genius. Food pairing with beer is not as well-known as it is for wine. Here are a few guidelines.
- Pilsner and Other Light Lagers: Light lagers are the most popular beers, so, they are a good place to start. A Pilsner is a fun and inclusive beverage. It is a party and a good time beer. If you are planning on serving light lagers, you should keep feature items that are somewhat recreational. Wings and chips or fried wontons with sweet, spicy dips.
- Dark Lagers: Dark lagers have a stronger taste and need to be paired with items that help bring out the subtle sweetness. This is a good opportunity for barbecue items with a great sauce. Sausages are excellent with a dark lager, and pizza is as well. Gourmet burgers can be the ultimate pairing with so many choices for toppings and presentation.
- Porters: Porters are a satisfying, working man’s sort of beer, maybe not your first choice for a dinner party, but don’t dismiss it, there are party friendly foods that work well to bring out the toasted, slightly mocha flavours. You might want to try an exotic stew, shellfish, or even some sweet dishes and desserts.
- Stouts: Stouts are dark beers that are often quite like porters. In fact, many of the same foods work well with stout beers. They’re usually lower in alcohol content, and that might be a consideration, and some say they are not as bitter.
Dinner parties are whatever you want them to be, so don’t feel that you must serve top-level gourmet dishes. That is fun for some, but most of us just want something that tastes good and interesting conversation. Designing the menu around a beer will provide the opportunity for a relaxed and social atmosphere. As a warmup exercise, how about a beer tasting party to choose the brew.