2. Consider Your Flavor Goals.
Once you’ve picked a brew or two (or three or four) to work with, Thompson says it’s time to “start thinking about the food components—do you want to compliment the beer's flavor, do you want to contrast it, or do you more want to bridge, or melt, those flavors together?” Complimentary flavors, for instance, might come from a citrusy IPA paired with a mandarin orange salad, or from the pairing of a dessert stout with cheesecake. If you’re feeling really adventurous, you can even use a stout to make floats “so the sweetness of the ice cream compliments the richness of the stout,” Thompson explains. When working with contrasting flavors, which Thompson suggests tends to be the best option with yeast-centric brews, it’s important to think about flavors that might cut through the stronger flavors of the beer, such as a sweet-and-salty pairing of sweet potato fries with a hefeweizen.