Wine and Beer Pairings: What Tastes Best with Ham, Poultry, Lamb, and Fish?

March 30, 2018 | Food Lion
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You already know red ale goes with burgers and bold red wine goes with prime rib. What about ham, poultry, lamb, and fish? Which beers and wines go with these dishes? It helps to know how to balance out the tastes of food and beers, according to With food and wine pairing, it's not about the meat, poultry, or fish, it's about the way you cook it, according to Just walk down any beer and wine aisle — faced with a huge selection, you'll quickly realize it's best to know which types should grace your dinner table.

Smoked or Roasted Ham: A ham without glaze needs a clean, classic, and crisp pilsner or lager just to balance the salt. On the wine side, pair with fruity wines such as Riesling, Moscato, Chenin Blanc, zinfandel, rosé, Lambrusco, or Grenache.

Honey-Glazed Ham: Wheat beers and wheat malts, including witbier and hefeweizen, balance the sweetness, saltiness, and bold taste of honey-glazed ham. Sweeter beers, such Belgian tripel, and darker ales also enhance the glaze's taste. Fruity wines that fare well with smoked or roasted ham are best for glazed meats, too.

Roast Chicken: Bitter beers for bold palates or blonde ales are best with roast chicken. Full-bodied wines with smoky, oaky notes, such as chardonnay and Pinot Noir, hold up well with flavorful, highly seasoned chicken.

Southern Fried Chicken: Try a classic light lager with the right balance of bitterness and carbonation to cut through the richness of fried chicken. Light, dry, and sparkling white wines have similar effects.

Grilled/Roasted Lamb: Pair a flavorful beer to match lamb's intense flavor, such as a strong ale, malty stout, or porter. Lamb generally pairs well with Bordeaux, Burgundy, Rioja, fruitier tastes, and dry rosés.  If you are looking for a more exact match, it would be helpful to think about how the lamb is prepared.

Seafood: When it comes to beer and food pairing tips, the general rule of thumb is that amber and red ales match any fish. Dry white wine pairs with seafood like shellfish, and for heavier, sauced dishes, try light reds or rosés.

Grilled Salmon: This lighter fish pairs well with a classic light pilsner. Tropical, fruity wines such as Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir, and rosés also enhance grilled salmon.

Fish and Chips: Bitter beer is better. Citrus-flavored white, sparkling white, and crisp Sauvignon blanc wines hit the spot perfectly with this and other fried fish dishes.

Sushi: Wheat ale and hefeweizen beers taste great with sushi. Clean, crisp, dry white wines, especially Japanese wines made from the koshu grape, pair with sushi. Try dry Riesling, too.

Steamed Mussels: For this lighter seafood dish, try a dark lager. You can also go for crisp, dry wines, including Pinot Grigio, chardonnay, and Sauvignon blanc.

Blackened Fish: Try porter for a best beer pairing that compliments the spice in this dish. Many wines pair well, including Riesling, chardonnay, Sauvignon blanc, and Pinot Grigio.

Impress your guests with your food-pairing knowhow. For recipes to pair with beer and wine, head over to Food Lion's recipe section.


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