Beer Meets Brunch

Why should wine get to have all the Sunday fun? Explore the complex and complementary world of beer pairing. And pass the maple syrup.
Photo by Noah Fecks / Styling by Nadine Bauchamp

To many, brunch isn’t brunch without bottomless mimosas and Bloody Marys. But for some intrepid weekend warriors who aren’t afraid to break from tradition, brunch can also be the perfect excuse to go ahead and have a beer before noon. If you’re not the type to let convention stand in the way of drinking what you want, we’re here to help you break the boring brunch routine by rounding up the best sudsy saviors for a bit of day-drinking, and show you the best classic breakfast dishes to pair them with.

French Toast
Photo by Noah Fecks / Styling by Nadine Bauchamp

The Dish: French Toast

The Beer: Founders Breakfast Stout

Consider this pairing a serious upgrade from a standard cup of coffee—the bold, roasty flavors of the stout, including espresso, dark chocolate and vanilla bean, marry seamlessly with the dish’s dense, eggy bread, sweet baking-spice dusting and syrup. The stout’s ample carbonation keeps the palate refreshed, despite the heaviness of the dish and creamy texture of the brew.

Photo by Noah Fecks / Styling by Nadine Bauchamp

The Dish: Belgian Waffle with Fresh Berries

The Beer: Dogfish Head Black & Blue

A blackberry-blueberry Belgian-style golden ale, it’s the ideal companion to a Belgian waffle topped with fresh berries. Puréed blackberries and blueberries are added to the beer during fermentation, which results in complex fruity aromas and flavors that harmonize with the fruit topping. The ale’s clove-spiked orange rind, bittersweet cocoa and yeasty dough notes complement the waffle’s sweet batter flavor and crust.

Brunch-friendly Hops Cocktail
Eggs Benedict
Photo by Noah Fecks / Styling by Nadine Bauchamp

The Dish: Eggs Benedict

The Beer: Allagash Saison

Velvety Hollandaise sauce and runny yolks are the stars of this classic brunch dish, so you need a beverage that can stand up to those rich flavors and cleanse the palate. The light, effervescent body and dry, minerally finish of the saison cuts through the fatty richness of the dish, while the beer’s nuances of white pepper, whole nutmeg, clove, ginger and orange zest are a spicy counterpart.

Photo by Noah Fecks / Styling by Nadine Bauchamp

The Dish: Vegetable Frittata

The Beer: Sprecher Black Bavarian

A crisp, clean lager is the way to go for this baked egg dish. But not just any lager will do—turn to the dark side for complexity added to cereal-grain notes and subtle caramel richness. This black lager, or schwartzbier, brings everything you need to the table. Its robust notes of roasted coffee bean, cocoa nib and licorice are framed within a clean, direct and precise mouthfeel. The lager’s ample carbonation and dry finish cut through the richness of the eggs, while the char and earthy spice play nicely with the veggies.

Lox & Bagel
Photo by Noah Fecks / Styling by Nadine Bauchamp

The Dish: Bagel with Lox and Accompaniments

The Beer: Westbrook Gose

A traditional German-style sour wheat beer that’s brewed with coriander and salt, this gose is the perfect partner to a masterfully built brunch bagel. It’s light enough to not overpower the flavors of the lox and its accompaniments, while the wheat core harmonizes with the bagel. The beer’s crisp, subtle salinity and earthy, peppery spice matches the salmon (and capers, if that’s your thing), while its lemony acidity lifts the fattiness of fish and cream cheese, prepping you for the next bite.

Published on September 9, 2016
Topics: Pairing Recommendations
About the Author
Lauren Buzzeo
Managing Editor, Print, and Tasting Director

Reviews wines from South Africa and Languedoc-Roussillon. Reviews beers.

Buzzeo joined Wine Enthusiast Magazine in 2006 as a tasting coordinator, and eventually became Tasting Director and Senior Editor, responsible for overseeing all aspects of the tasting and review program. Most recently, Buzzeo assumed the role of Managing Editor. Since coming to Wine Enthusiast, she has made it one of her personal missions to promote the acceptance of cross-drinking, encouraging everyone to embrace finely crafted libations across all beverage categories. Buzzeo is also an avid homebrewer and a member of the AHA (American Homebrewers Association). Email:

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