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Beer Pairing with Michelin-Star Food: A Guide for Managers

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Michelin Star cuisine should be served with high-quality beverages. From the coffee and tea to mocktails, signature cocktails, and beer for cicerones - everything needs to be planned well. Beverage management is always important in the restaurant industry but especially so if you wish to gain a Star or already have one. (see: how to earn a Michelin Star and how do you lose a Michelin Star)

In other articles, we have covered the importance of excellent tea pairing for your restaurant and how non-alcoholic beverages can improve customer experience. However, one category that truly needs special attention is beer and great beer pairings. This is something to keep in mind when you are organizing inventory for your restaurant.

Research has shown that 6 in every 10 adult Americans enjoy alcoholic drinks. Most of them favor beer among everything else. These numbers clearly show that your beverage management needs to be on point when it comes to beer. 

But how can you incorporate beer in your Michelin Star restaurant? Would it make sense and how does it pair with different dishes? Let’s talk more about that!

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Beer Pairings for Restaurants

Beer is your friend, regardless of what type of restaurant you are running. As a business owner, you need to understand the importance of beer and the value it will bring to your restaurant. Whether it’s beer on tap or canned beer, give customers what they want. Also, be sure to learn about beer expiration.

Different beers vary in color, taste, alcohol content, and mouthfeel. So to make a good pairing, you must understand the various styles of beer. Here’s how different types of beer are paired with food. This will take your Michelin restaurant to the next level!

Key Takeaway: There are many beer varieties, which go with different dishes. This makes food and beer pairing options numerous and beer - a great beverage to serve in your restaurant.

Light Lagers

Light lagers are pale in color and have a crisp and refreshing taste. Most beers of this kind don’t have a strong flavor, and they are rarely hoppy or bitter. This beer style is super popular in the US, and many well-known brands produce it. 

Because of the refreshing flavor light lagers have, they're great for pairing with spicy foods, but they can be had with just about any dish. Although they are commonly paired with buffalo wings, french fries, hot dogs, and noodles, you can incorporate this beer into your Michelin Star restaurant menu. For example, you can try seafood pairing, pairing with different salads, and dishes that go well with light drinks. Light lagers can be used in almost all kinds of combinations. 

Wheat Beers

Wheat beer is brewed with a mixture of wheat and barley grains. This gives the beer a smoother texture and lighter carbonation, which is different than other types of beer. The wheat doesn't add much flavor, so many brewery staff adds citrus and other fruity flavorings to the beer.

Wheat beers are very versatile. They can also be paired with various types of foods. From salads and spicy noodles to fruit tarts and pastries, they are a great option. Make sure you have great wheat beers on your great menu!

India Pale Ales

India pale ales (also known as IPAs) are one of the most popular styles of beer in the craft brewing scene nowadays. Usually, IPAs have a medium amber color and a quite bitter flavor. To make the bitterness more palatable, most brewers add citrus or herbal tones to the drink. There are also double IPAs, made with even more hops and a strong bitter flavor.

Because of the large variety of IPAs on the market today, there is no rule of thumb when it comes to craft beer food pairing. Some common food pairings are steak, curry, fajitas, burritos, and barbecue ribs.

Amber Ales

Amber ales are characterized by a medium mouthfeel, plus colors that go from amber to a deep reddish-gold. This type of beer has a strong flavor of malt and notes of sweet caramel. It doesn’t have an overpoweringly sweet flavor, and many such ales have a dry and crisp finish. Even though the flavor from the hops isn't strong, they give a light and flowery aroma.

Amber ales are excellent beers for cleansing your palate, due to their dry and crisp finish. Great pairings for amber ales are brisket, jerk chicken, pizza, and barbecue pulled pork. 

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Dark Lagers

There are different types of lagers and the dark ones have a distinct taste. Dark lagers are made with roasted malts, and often they have caramel syrup added for sweetness. The roasted malts give it a nutty flavor, and the caramel adds a hint of sweetness, but it’s not overpowering.

Dark lagers are the most popular in Europe. They go great with hearty traditional European dishes. This type of beer can be paired well with goulash, bangers and mash, burgers, pizza, and sausages. 

Brown Ales

Brown ales have hints of chocolate and coffee. English varieties of brown ales typically have a dry and nutty flavor. Craft brewers tend to not accept brown ales because they lack the extreme flavors and hoppiness that are fashionable nowadays. However, they are tasty and pair well with many various foods.

Brown ales are versatile when painting with food. They go with pretty much everything! Their rich chocolate and nutty flavors go well with roast pork, sausage, fish, sushi, and barbecue.


Porters were originally dark and strong. However, nowadays, porters are milder and come in a variety of flavors. They kept their signature dark color, roasted flavor, and toasty aroma. This beer type is made with roasted brown malts. The malts give the beer strong notes of coffee, chocolate, and caramel. 

Porters have a rich and deep flavor. That’s why it is best to pair them with foods that have similar tastes and textures. They go great with Mexican mole, crab, lobster, rabbit, venison, and game meats. 


Stouts are best known for their black color and dark, roasted flavor. Despite their appearance, they are not high in alcohol content, bitterness, or flavor. There are many mild, well-rounded types of stout. This style of beer typically has strong hints of chocolate and coffee, and also a silky smooth consistency.

Because this type of beer has a chocolaty flavor and low alcohol content, it’s the perfect pairing with desserts. Stouts can be paired well with shellfish, barbecue, lobster, chocolate mousse, and chocolate truffles. 

Frequently Asked Questions about Beer Pairing for Michelin Star Restaurants

If you own a restaurant included in the Michelin Star Guide, or you are striving to gain your first Star, beverage management is of high importance. Although a Michelin Star is earned based on the quality of food (see also: Michelin Star chefs), beverages are what can make or break the experience of customers. Great drinks, paired with the right types of food will ensure customer satisfaction

Here are the answers to some common questions regarding beer pairing with Michelin-star cuisine. 

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Should I Serve Different Beers in My Restaurant? 

Yes, you should serve various types of beer in your restaurant. Whether you have a Michelin Star or not, beer is a drink preferred by many people and customers will be asking for it. 

Beer is in fact, a great drink to have with a variety of foods. This means that there surely will be great beer pairing options even with your Michelin-star cuisine. 

Does Beer Go Well with Seafood?

Yes, beers like porters, brown ales, stouts, and light lagers go with a variety of seafood dishes. This means that your seafood restaurant can greatly benefit from serving a range of quality beers. 

Whether you choose to source from local breweries or import other unique or more common beer brands, you will not go wrong. Most people in the US love beer and enjoy having it with their meals, whether at a restaurant or home. 

What Never Goes Well with Beer? 

There’s no specific food that doesn’t go with beer in general. Different beers go well with different foods. 

You can try different combinations to see what works for you or follow the general recommendations listed in the article. There are many great combinations of food and beer you can make!

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