Summer Beer and Wine Pairing Tips For A Perfectly Balanced Meal

At the start of summer, nothing gets us inspired to host personal parties at home like discovering a perfect beer or wine pairing. There’s something truly special about a light summer salad and the perfect Pinot grigio, or a large leafy green salad and a classic German wheat beer

The whole process of pairing can feel a little overwhelming with such a considerable beer and wine list these days. Before you throw your hands up and grab your go-to favorite off the shelf, remember the number one rule: balance acid with acid. Acidic foods and acidic wines and beers actually taste less acidic. The second most important rule is that hoppy and fizzy beverages cut through fat. Before experimenting, take a look at these essential guidelines for pairing beer or wine with your dinner tonight. Who knows, by the end of summer identifying perfect meal and beverage pairings might become second nature.

 

Seafood

 

Grilled White Seafood and Spanish White Wine

Raw shellfish or spicy seafood is great with Txakolina, a fizzy wine from the basque country of Spain. Oyster and grilled fish are also fantastic with Rias Baixas wines, and they are able to balance a bit of spice. For grilled lean white fish, opt for Pinot Grigio or Chenin Blanc.

 

Fried Seafood and Prosecco or Champagne

Sparkling wine cuts through the heaviness of fried food. If you don’t like bubbles, select a riper wine like a dry Riesling for buttery shellfish like Lobster.

 

Buttery Shellfish with Garlic and Saison

Fruity, spicy beers like a Saison or German-style Hefeweizen enhances the natural sweetness and cleanses the palette.  

 

Garden-Fresh Ingredients

 

Garden Cherry Tomatoes and fruity Rosé

Fresh tomatoes and a blush wine like a Rosé interact wonderfully together. Tomatoes aren’t hard to pair with, they just don’t do well with oaky chardonnays or tannic reds–it’s too overpowering.

 

Summer Greens and White Wine

Pinot Grigio is perfect for a summer chickpea salad or a salad with apples and nuts. For a simpler salad of baby greens and goat cheese, go for a Sauvignon Blanc.  

 

Greek Salad with Feta and Beaugolais

The bright Beauejolais perfectly balances salty feta on a fresh greek salad.

 

Red Meats & BBQ Favorites

 

BBQ Ribs and Zinfandel

Glazed BBQ ribs and a bold yet light Zinfandel is a perfect pairing for a backyard BBQ.

 

Chicken and Chilled, Lighter Reds

While the saying goes, “White wine with white meat and red wine with dark meat,” but chicken is so versatile it really comes down to what you like. White meat pairs well with Chardonnay (or a Merlot if prepared with a tomato-based sauce), while dark meat pairs better with a Spanish Garnacha or Pinot Noir. If you’re enjoying BBQ chicken, stick with a light-bodied, fruity wine like a Zinfandel.

 

Desserts

 

Chocolate

When it comes to pairing wine with chocolate, you actually want the wine to be sweeter than the chocolate. Otherwise, the wine will taste bitter rather than enhance the flavors in the chocolate.  Milk chocolate pairs best with Merlot, Riesling, Pinot Noir and Muscat, while Dark chocolate is best with Cabernet Sauvignon, Chianti and Port.

 

Fondue and Sauternes

The decadent flavors of Sauternes are a blissful match for rich fondue.

 

For more pairing tips, learn about our herb pairings here.