Beer’s role at the dinner table used to be so simple. Like wine, it was there to work with your dish, be it a brisk Pilsner cutting through your burger’s fatty richness, or a floral and bitter IPA quelling a curry’s flames.
But in the latest quest to push the boundaries of flavor and aroma, beer makers are plucking ingredients from the fridge and farmer’s market and making brews that taste like, well, a meal.
Short’s Brewing makes the brunch-ready Bloody Beer with tomatoes, horseradish and dill, while Off Color Brewing’s Dinosmores mixes suds with marshmallows, cocoa nibs and graham flour. Right Brain Brewery’s Thai Peanut is packed with peanut butter, cilantro and peppers for a taste reminiscent of pad Thai.
The best of these food beers have a singular rich flavor, that is, they don’t taste like a standard beer that’s simply been seasoned.
“We’re not just putting parsley on the plate,” says Moody Tongue Brewmaster Jared Rouben, a Culinary Institute of America grad. “We’re trying to bring the food and beer worlds together.”
4 Food Beers to Crack
Flying Dog Pearl Necklace Oyster Stout (Maryland)
Whole Rappahannock River Oysters—shell, meat and juice—and a sprinkle of sea salt supply the roasty stout with an unmistakable brininess.
Martin House Brewing Company Day Break (Texas)
Inspired by cereal, this subtly sweet ale is made with a quartet of grains, a dollop of honey and milk sugar. Day Break will brighten any brunch.
Westbrook Brewing Co. White Thai (South Carolina)
Cooking Thai curry led Edward and Morgan Westbrook to season a Belgian witbier with lemongrass, ginger root and lemony Sorachi Ace hops. It’s a vacation to Southeast Asia in a glass.
Terrapin Beer Co. Liquid Bliss Chocolate Peanut Butter Porter (Georgia)
Go nuts for this silky, comforting Georgia porter that partners rich goobers with chocolate. It’s a peanut butter cup on a bender.