Beer Is Food

I don’t usually drink beer with my meal.  I tend to have water with my dinner.  Clear, refreshing, and no off flavors to mix in with whatever I am eating.  But I was reminded last night that beer is food, not just a liquid refreshment, and as such should be integrated into mealtime just like any other flavor or side dish you might have.  When I was looking for a photo for this post I ran across, a Canadian blog about beer run by Stephen Rich, and he also discusses pairing beer and food together.  It is a wonderful blog, and you should check it out.

I love this picture though, because I think it represents how many of us think about beer and food together.  I’m sure it wasn’t meant this way, but the meal is the center, and the beer is a little fuzzy and kind of set off from the main focus.   That really captures how I think about beer.  Its there, I like it, but I really don’t think about incorporating it into my meal.  Case in point last night…

Last night I had a huge dinner!  It was the first time this year that we have had hamburgers on the grill.  It is beginning to warm up and I always really enjoy the first grilled meals of the season.  I had two cheeseburgers and a tube steak, and my usual salad and water.  Later that night I was looking for something to drink and realized I had a Tricerihops Double IPA from Ninkasi Brewing sitting in the garage!  So I thought that I would pop the top on that and enjoy it with some evening TV.

Well, I began drinking it and realized I was getting uncomfortable.  It was filling me up after I was already full!  See lately for whatever reason I’ve been drinking a lot of diet soda in the evening.  Not the best I know but whatever.  So I gave the brew about as much thought as I would a diet soda…WRONG!  That Ninkasi had around 400 calories associated with the 22 oz bomber, and that is a filling amount of calories whether it is before, after, or during a meal.  Those calories will be recognized, and they were.  It took me well over an hour to get through the beer.  By the way it is a wonderful beer and if you can find it get it.

So I know this post is a little rambley, but I came to a conclusion that if I am going to drink in the evening I need to budget it in calorie wise, and if I’m doing that, why not pair it with my meal?  I can only imagine how good that beer would have tasted with my burger… YUM!  So I guess my message is pair it and count it, because Beer is food.



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Categories: Beer, Lifestyle

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31 Comments on “Beer Is Food”

  1. johnking82
    March 30, 2011 at 12:43 pm #

    Thats our local Bluegrass Brewing Co.’s motto

    I love pairing beer and food together, but usually enjoy a beer while cooking even more.

    • Don
      March 30, 2011 at 12:55 pm #

      Unfortunately I had to be reminded of it by feeling bloated and uncomfortable! There are really only a few drinks that I can say this about, Beer, Milk, and Muscle Milk! That stuff will keep you full for hours!

  2. March 30, 2011 at 12:45 pm #

    I go the other direction- rather than drinking during or after a meal, I always drink before, like an appetizer while I’m preparing the meal. Or waiting for the pizza delivery guy to show up. I can’t stand the feeling of dumping beer on top of a full meal in my stomach.

    • Don
      March 30, 2011 at 12:51 pm #

      Good Idea John, but in my house getting the meal on the table is a big ordeal, we are usually serving 6 or 7 people. So, drinking a beer and getting even slightly buzzed makes me grouchy. So once all the kids move out, and meal time is a little more relaxed that sounds like good advice!

      • March 30, 2011 at 12:58 pm #

        “drinking a beer…. makes me grouchy” made me think of this:

        Sorry for the poor quality. There’s a quote just after the one minute mark that’s pertinent.

        • Don
          March 30, 2011 at 1:02 pm #

          That was a long way to go!

  3. March 30, 2011 at 1:02 pm #

    Beer is food made me think about that guy who was living on beer for lent. How’s he doing?

  4. March 30, 2011 at 1:07 pm #

    Ooooh … Tricerihops would have been tasty with that burger! Salivating. I really like that beer. And it’s incredibly cheap for how good it is—at least in this market.

    I usually enjoy my beers at lunch, in the afternoon or later later in the evening—or all three times! Dinners are a little hectic at the @BeerPoet bungalow. So while I really enjoy pairing brews with dinner, it rarely seems chill enough for me to do so.

    • Don
      March 30, 2011 at 1:16 pm #

      I know what you mean. Now that my kids are older that option has again opened up for me. It was No Bueno when they were 11, 8, 5, and 1!

  5. March 30, 2011 at 1:27 pm #

    You grilled a tube steak? What’s up with that?

    • Don
      March 30, 2011 at 2:50 pm #

      The hot dog one!

  6. Jason
    March 30, 2011 at 1:28 pm #

    Not to be critical, but maybe you should ease off one of the cheese burgers, or the tube steak, or both? That’s a lot of food even without the beer, I can’t imagine trying to put a bomber of DIPA on top of that, especially in an hour or so.

    On the pairing of food, I’d put beer paired with food over wine paired with food any day. I recall talking with one of the execs at Boulevard and he mentioned how much better cheese paired with beer is over wine. The carbonation takes it to the next level so to say. I’ve yet to try it, but have been meaning to get some beer/cheese combos lined up. Maybe that’s a topic for a future blog article for you guys?

    • Don
      March 30, 2011 at 2:52 pm #

      I know that my local bottle shop has had beer and cheese pairing events in the past. I’m sure it goes nicely, but all that cheese sounds like a colon stopper for sure!

  7. March 30, 2011 at 1:29 pm #

    Beer and food definitely go hand in hand. If you match them up right, they totally enhance each other (same goes with wine). I remember asking one of the salesman at this really nice wine store in NJ ( what wine I should pair with BBQ. He offered up some fruity reds and whites that I could buy, but then he told me that he usually has beer with BBQ. The only beers that I steer away from with food are super dark beers (imperial stouts, etc) cause I think they are way too heavy and overpowering to pair with food. Then again, Guinness and pub grub go together really well (especially a Big Irish Breakfast!), but then again, Guinness is actually pretty light when compared to most US craft beer.

    • Don
      March 30, 2011 at 2:54 pm #

      I always thought pairing a big stout like Victory’s Storm King or Avery’s Mephistopheles would go really well with a nice rare grilled steak and a potato. Heavy? To be sure, but satisfying!

      • March 30, 2011 at 8:14 pm #

        Hmm… never thought of thought. While I think it may be a bit over the top, I’d be willing to give it a try. When it comes to food and drink, I’m pretty fearless. 🙂

      • March 30, 2011 at 9:17 pm #

        YES! For our birthday dinner (my wife and I were born two days apart; she’s older BTW), we had this fantastic steak I paired with a Mephistopheles. No pairing is better than a steak and an imperial stout.

  8. March 30, 2011 at 1:38 pm #

    Two words: beer, pizza. How can you not have one without the other?

    I think the key to beer/food pairings is how heavy the meal is, rather than what the gastro-pubs say goes together (beer snobs who think wine snobs are getting too much attention). If the meal’s heavy and hearty go with a pilsner or light lager, if it’s just a sandwich and chips, then a more robust ale.

    I personally can’t even imagine dinner without a beer, or on rare occasions, some other type of alcohol; I just seem to digest better that way.

    • Alex
      March 30, 2011 at 2:40 pm #

      William, have you been to Hops and Pie yet? It’s well on its way to being my favorite place in Denver.

      • March 30, 2011 at 3:12 pm #

        No I haven’t been there yet, thanks for the tip! Looks like they have some great brews in addition to the pizza. Ska, Strange, and Dry Dock are some of my favorite Colorado breweries! I’ll definitely check it out.

        (In my opinion) Best delivery pizza in Denver: Enzo’s End. Best Coal-fired: Marco’s.

      • Alex
        March 30, 2011 at 3:32 pm #

        +1 on Enzo’s End. I’ll have to check out Marco’s too.

    • Don
      March 30, 2011 at 2:56 pm #

      I think parenthood did me in with beer and dinner combo. I like the thought of beer and pizza, but I’m not a huge pizza fan in the first place. If I would have had that beer, I’m pretty sure that second cheeseburger and the hot dog would have been unnecessary.

  9. NicM
    March 30, 2011 at 2:53 pm #

    I’ve been reading The Brewmasters Table and now I can’t even think about food without immediately thinking of what beers would pair best. My favorite chocolate bar (dark chocolate, sea salt, almonds) for the last two years just became The Best Thing Ever after following Garrett’s advice and trying it with a sour beer.

    • Don
      March 30, 2011 at 3:05 pm #


  10. March 30, 2011 at 9:14 pm #

    There’s so much in this thread to address that I don’t know where to start. NicM mentioned the Brewmaster’s Table, a must read for any beer geek. That book completely changed how I look at food and beer pairings. There’s also He Said Beer, She Said Wine with Sam Calagione doing the beer half. From these books, I’ve learned that beer is far superior for pairing with foods.

    Online, you should check out The Beer Sommelier (or the Beer Cloud app) found at . Beer Advocate is another great place to find pairings at .

    Just this past Sunday, my beer club conducted a beer and chocolate pairing event, featuring Patric Chocolate. Patric supplies cocoa nibs to Jolly Pumpkin and Northern Brewer. What I found was that the stouts and porters folks typically try to pair with chocolate paled in comparison to fruity lambics and even my own black IPA.

    That Tricerihops (had it, it’s great), would pair well with your burgers, especially if the cheese was a goat cheese. Either way, the hoppiness will cut through the fattiness and the sweet malt presence of such a big DIPA pairs well with the richness of the beef. It would have been a much better pairing than your water.

    I like to have a beer with dinner. (Well, before and after as well, but that’s not always a good idea.) What I do now is I cut back on the seconds and dessert to make room for the beer. Beer and food pairing is too much of a good thing not to plan for it.

    • Don
      March 31, 2011 at 8:33 am #

      Glad you liked the tricerihops Zac. It is a great DIPA. and thanks for the pairing resources. I know I need to get more into it.

  11. April 6, 2011 at 3:49 pm #

    I love to have beer with appetizers pre meal. Cheese and crackers, sausage, chips.. As for the meal, I usually have water.

    • Don
      April 6, 2011 at 3:54 pm #

      I think my not having beer with a meal goes back early in my marriage when we had little kids. I would get grouchy and everything just seemed harder and less appealing with the kids and my wife. So I stopped. I think now I would have no problems with beer and a meal, since the kids are older and not demanding any more.

  12. April 6, 2011 at 3:50 pm #

    But when I DO have a beer with dinner, it’s been Kolsch.


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