Are you a beer lover who can’t resist the scrumptious flavours of Chinese dishes? If so, we have news for you – there are some awesome beers that pair perfectly with traditional Chinese cuisine! From the spicy Sichuan dishes to sweet and sour Cantonese food, from fried rice to spring rolls – it’s time to explore how various types of beer can enhance your next Chinese meal. Let’s jump into helping you choose the best beer with Chinese food, here are my top picks.
Recommended Beer Pairings For Popular Chinese Food
As an Asian food lover, I know that it can be difficult to choose the right beer when enjoying a delicious Chinese meal.
Sichuan dishes pair beautifully with Victory Brewing Prima Pils, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale and Goose Island IPA. In each case, these are light lagers or ales that bring subtle hop notes to complement the spice from Sichuan pepper.
Similarly, Cantonese dishes like sweet and sour pork often call for Anchor Steam Beer or a Samuel Adams Boston Lager Beer; while something like New Belgium Fat Tire Ale or Asahi Super Dry lend themselves well to crispy skin chicken.
Shandong food such as fried rice, wontons and dumplings work wonderfully with beers like Sapporo Premium or Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier Alkoholferi — both offering body without clashing too hard against ginger flavors.
Last but not least is Hunan cuisine where potent spiciness requires strong beers such as Duvel Belgian Ale or Dogfish Head SeaQuench Ale Session Sour Beer.
The key take away here being that certain styles of beer – from lagers to wheats ales – will either match the intensity of heat (think IPAs), provide contrast (such as pilsners), introduce complementary flavors (like amber) into a dish’s aroma profile (saisons).
For those looking to pair beer with the fiery Sichuan dishes, Victory Brewing Prima Pils, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale and Goose Island IPA all make great accompaniments.
VictoryBrewing Prima Pils
Victory Brewing Prima Pils is a German-style Pilsner with floral and spicy hop notes highlighted by citrus and lemon. Highly sessionable and ‘beerishly’ delicious, this beer pairs incredibly well with bold flavors like those found in Sichuan cuisine.
This flavor packed lager has become one of the most popular beers among craft beer drinkers due to its crispiness, intense hops character, and distinctness of taste. Victory Brewing Prima Pils helps bring out the bright heat and spice from dishes like dan dan noodles or Kung Pao chicken while cleansing your palate after each bite.
For an unforgettable food experience pair Victory Brewing Prima Pils with the mouthwatering eats of Han Dynasty—one of Philadelphia’s premier Chinese restaurants.
Sierra Nevada Pale Ale
Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is a classic craft beer that has been produced in the United States since 1980. It is brewed with hop-forward and spicy flavors, making it an ideal pair for bold and spicy Sichuan dishes.
The beer’s slight bitterness helps to cut through the richness of oilier foods while highlighting some of their flavor notes. Aromatic Saaz hops provide clearly defined herbal notes that bring out the fragrant spices in many Sichuan dishes like fried rice, hot pots, and spring rolls.
The pale ale also has very subtle malty sweetness balanced by bitter hoppy notes which balance nicely against sweet and sour elements often found throughout Chinese cuisine.
An added bonus is its light body which doesn’t overpower the food but still gives enough carbonation to cleanse your palate between bites.
Goose Island IPA
Goose Island IPA is a well-balanced beer, with a moderate hop bitterness and solid malt bill. It is the perfect companion for Chinese cuisine, particularly bold and spicy flavors like those in Sichuan dishes.
Its robust flavor profile also complements more delicate Cantonese dishes that call for light beers like Anchor Steam or Samuel Adams Boston Lager Beer. This popular IPAs unique brewing process involves using four distinct American hops to achieve an intense but balanced hop aroma, flavor, and bitter finish making it stand out from other IPAs.
From light lagers to hoppy ales and flavorful wheat beers, Cantonese dishes pair deliciously with many types of craft beer.
Anchor Steam beer is renowned for its bright and lively flavor characteristics, which make it an ideal complement to a wide variety of Chinese dishes. The beer has a unique history, as it was the first non-industrial brew produced in America following Prohibition.
It’s brewed with lager yeast but at higher ale temperatures, resulting in a balanced combination of floral hops, sweet maltiness and hints of fruit.
The light character noted in this iconic American brewery makes it the perfect companion to many favorite Chinese foods. Cantonese cuisine can be matched excellently with Anchor Steam Beer due to its mild sweetness that compliments roasted meats and stir-fries nicely without overpowering any delicate spices or sauces.
Similarly, spicy Sichuan dishes are wonderfully cleansed with each sip regardless if you’re going for hotpot craving or spicy noodles dish –its crisp finish helps cool things down without taking away from enjoyment either way.
Samuel Adams Boston Lager Beer
Samuel Adams Boston Lager Beer is an amber-copper colored brew with a sweet and floral-spice flavor that slightly resembles a fresh-baked loaf of bread. It has notes of malt, caramel and herbs, with a medium body and bitterness.
This full-bodied beer pairs very well with the subtle yet spicy flavors of Chinese Hunan-Szechuan dishes, not to mention burgers! Beer experts have recommended this lager as one befitting for pairing up with Chinese food due to its robustness, richness in flavor and complexity from hops.
An event hosted at the Eldorado hotel had also included Samuel Adams Boston Lager as part of their beer and food pairing selection – proving its credibility in complementing Cantonese cuisine’s unique flavors.
New Belgium Fat Tire Ale
As one of the flagship beers from New Belgium Brewing, Fat Tire is a Belgian-inspired amber ale that pairs well with almost any meal. But that’s not all—the beer’s perfect balance of sweetness and maltiness makes it an ideal pairing option for Cantonese dishes as well as other Chinese cuisine.
In fact, many beer experts and cicerones recommend this tasty little number to pair with your favorite chow mein or stir fry. Beer aficionados at the brewery have also found that it pairs nicely with burgers and cheese.
What really sets this brew apart is its flavor profile. Not too sweet and zero overpowering hops make Fat Tire Ale stand out amongst competitors in its style category—so much so that some awards committees have recognized it for its smoothness on the palate!
With notes of biscuit and caramel interlaced throughout, these crisp yet subtle flavors are sure to complement a variety of Chinese dishes like none other, letting you bring restaurant-quality tastes to your home kitchen table.
Asahi Super Dry
Asahi Super Dry is a popular beer brewed for an authentic Japanese recipe using only the finest ingredients and carefully selected yeast. This dry, light-bodied lager has a crisp and refreshing flavour from its blend of herbal Saaz hops, which make it especially suitable for pairing with Chinese food.
With its delicate taste profile, Asahi Super Dry can be enjoyed with nearly any type of Chinese dish – from soy-based dishes to hot and sour soup, stir-fries, steamed fish or even fried rice – as its complexity helps it stand up against more intense flavors in these types of dishes.
Additionally, many people enjoy pairing this beer with Cantonese cuisine due to its peppery and effervescent nature that is able to contrast sweet and sour flavours while still complementing them at the same time.
Asahi Super Dry’s fruitiness also makes it great for cleaning up the palate after enjoying rich dishes like Peking Duck.
– Sapporo Premium, Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier Alkoholferi, Lagunitas IPA and Stone Delicious IPA are great beers to pair with the rich flavors of Shandong dishes.
Brewed since 1876, Sapporo Premium is a widely acclaimed 100% malt beer with a light body and subtle sweetness. This Japanese lager is widely popular worldwide, from Europe to the United States and of course in Japan itself.
A stylishly crisp taste paired with barley flavors give this full-bodied beer an unmistakable flavor that people love.
Sapporo Premium pairs particularly well with Chinese dishes, especially those spicier or oilier options such as mala or Shandong cuisine. The crisp deliciousness helps cleanse the palate while providing just enough flavor to neither overpower nor pass unnoticed during the meal.
Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier Alkoholferi
Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier Alkoholferi is a German wheat beer with an ABV of 0.5% and scores 77/100 on BeerAdvocate. It is golden and slightly hazy, with a large white head. The beer’s flavor profile includes notes of banana and cloves, which makes it an ideal candidate for pairing with Chinese food.
It can also pair nicely with the spicier flavors of Sichuan cuisine and stand up to the sweeter aspects of Cantonese-style dishes such as sweet & sour pork or chicken prepared in hoisin sauce – but its lightly hopped body will still be able to provide contrast against heavier mains such as fried rice or Peking duck.
When I’m looking for a beer to pair with spicy Chinese food, Lagunitas IPA is my top pick. Its unique hop aroma, slight sweetness, and moderate bitterness make it the perfect accompaniment to many dishes from Sichuan or Hunan province in China.
The hops provide a robust flavor that perfectly complements the spicier dishes while also cutting through their intense heat. On the other hand, its slightly sweet notes balance out flavors of garlic and other spices found in fried rice and other traditional dishes.
With an ABV of 6.2%, Lagunitas’s IPA is strong enough to handle sharp chili peppers but light enough not to overpower the meal’s subtler notes like ginger or cumin which are often used in certain meals.
Stone Delicious IPA
Stone Delicious IPA from Stone Brewing is a highly rated, gluten-reduced and citrus-forward beer perfect for enjoying with Chinese dishes. Its unique flavor profile is crafted using Lemondrop and El Dorado hops that give it an intense bitterness as well as its signature citrus tones.
Not only does this brew offer refreshing hop notes that contrast fattier dishes to perfection, it also offers the perfect carbonation levels to bring out sweetness in rich sauces or crispiness to fried snacks.
All this, combined with the fact that nearly everyone can enjoy it due to its careful reduction of gluten makes Stone Delicious IPA stand out when looking for a pairing beverage for Chinese cuisine.
– Duvel Belgian Ale, Dogfish Head SeaQuench Ale Session Sour Beer, Oskar Blues Old Chub Scotch Ale, and Hitachino Nest White Ale are all perfect for pairing with mouthwatering Hunan dishes.
Duvel Belgian Ale
is an iconic beer that works amazingly well with Chinese food. It’s light body and clean taste make it the perfect complement to many dishes, particularly those with rich flavors such as fried rice.
This Belgian ale has a golden color and carries subtle notes of fruit, spice, hops and malt which give it complexity and balance for pairing with bolder dishes like Peking Duck or Hot & Sour Soup.
In addition to its flavor profile, the effervescence of this beer helps cut through richer flavors while cleansing the palate between bites so you can enjoy all your favorite dishes without feeling too full afterwards.
For example, Duvel pairs wonderfully with Sichuan dishes such as Kung Pao Chicken due to its crispness that balances out spicier ingredients like ginger and garlic.
Dogfish Head SeaQuench Ale Session Sour Beer
This beer is an excellent choice for pairing with Hunan dishes and other Chinese cuisine. It has citrusy-tart flavors, with low alcohol content which makes it a great accompaniment to spicier or heavier dishes that may otherwise overpower the palate.
The blend of three German styles — Kolsch, Gose and Berliner Weiss — gives SeaQuench Ale its unique flavor profile.
The lime peel, black lime and sea salt ingredients lend complex depth to the aroma while hinting at a salty finish on the tongue that perfectly complements hot & numbing Sichuan dishes like Mapo Tofu or Twice Cooked Pork Belly.
Its light body also pairs wonderfully with lighter Cantonese fare such as steamed chicken feet in fermented soy sauce or Shandong Caramelized Prawns — bringing out all the nuances in the sweet oyster sauce-based marinade without stealing any of their thunder.
Oskar Blues Old Chub Scotch Ale
is a must-try beer for Chinese food lovers. It’s a Scottish Strong Ale brewed with a high amount of malted barley, specialty grains, and a touch of smoke — giving it an incredibly creamy mouthfeel as well as flavors of caramel, chocolate, and lightly roasted malt.
The combination of these bold yet smooth flavors makes Old Chub perfect for pairing with spicy Hunan dishes like Sichuan Dan Dan Noodles or double-cooked pork belly.
Hitachino Nest White Ale
Hitachino Nest White Ale is a Belgian-style beer brewed with wheat malt, orange peel, coriander and nutmeg. It has an unmistakable flavor that sets it apart from other beers – a lightly spiced citrus taste with notes of banana and clove.
This beer pairs perfectly with Hunan dishes as the spices in the ale complement those of the cuisine while its slightly sweet taste counteracts the heat of chilli peppers in Sichuan recipes.
The brew masters use traditional Japanese brewing methods to bring out more flavors from each ingredient for an ultimately delicious experience.
This unique beer has received many recognitions over the years, having won gold medals at multiple prestigious competitions such as Brussels Beer Challenge 2017 and World Beer Awards 2019 America’s Best Wheat Beer/ Belgo Style Category.
This white ale pairs well with Chinese food and sushi or seafood, making it perfect for any East Asian meal.
Pairing Principles For Chinese Dishes With Beer
When pairing beer and Chinese food, consider complimentary flavors, contrasting tastes, palate-cleansing potential, intensity levels of the ingredients in certain dishes, as well as personal preferences to experiment with unique combinations.
When it comes to pairing beer with Chinese food, having complementary flavors in both components of the meal can elevate the experience. For instance, saaz hops—used in pilsners and lagers—complements chili heat found in many spicy dishes like Sichuan-style eggplant.
Combined together, intense heat against a crisp background makes for an unbeatable combination. Similarly, sweetness of hoisin sauce compliments stouts and other dark beers that are made with roasted malt or chocolate essence; this level of complexity is worth exploring.
With a richly flavored food such as Peking duck you could pair a Dubbel Belgian Ale with hints of caramelized sugar from its complex malts that beautifully complement the dish’s richness without overpowering it.
Contrast In Flavors
One of the most important principles when it comes to pairing beer with Chinese dishes is contrast in flavors. Contrasting flavors can highlight and play off one another, adding depth to a meal and enhancing the overall dining experience.
For example, hoppiness found in an IPA like Lagunitas or Stone Delicious can work well with spicier Sichuan dishes. The bitterness of these beers will cut through the heat and balance richer, spicier foods without overpowering them.
On the other hand, malt-forward Amber Ales such as Duvel Belgian Ale pair wonderfully with sweet and sour Hunan food. The sweetness of the malt contrasts nicely with the sauciness that defines Hunan cooking while the hops provide a mild acidity that brings out daintily prepared fare’s subtle nuances.
Saisons are great beer choices when enjoying simpler Cantonese meals or hotpots full of complex aromatics; their slight funk highlights delicate ingredients like fish and chicken yet still stands up robustly against heavier sauces and strongly flavored condiments such as garlic chili paste or black bean sauce.
Cleansing The Palate
Pairing beer with Chinese food can help balance the flavours of a meal and cleanse the palate between bites. Beer has carbonation which serves as a sort of ‘scrub brush’ for your taste buds, providing refreshment that helps to wipe away heavy or greasy flavors after one bite before diving into another.
The right beers can also provide contrast that enhances flavors, as key hops and malt notes can bring new dimensions to dishes like fried rice or noodles. For instance, roasted malts from an amber ale stand up well against richer wok-fried dishes weighed down by stir fry sauce, while lighter lagers like Sapporo Premium have enough body and effervescence to cut through heavier sauces like sweet & sour pork (or pescatarian alternatives).
Considering Intensity And Richness
When it comes to pairing beer with your favorite Chinese dish, you should keep in mind the intensity and richness of both the beer and the food. The level of intensity can vary greatly depending on things such as sugar content, alcohol by volume (ABV), bitterness and acidity levels.
For instance, if you’re eating a rich noodle dish like Beef Fried Noodles or Kung Pao Chicken that packs a lot of punchy flavor, then it’s best to balance out this intense dish with a lighter-bodied beer like an American Lager or Ale.
A Bock or Imperial Stout could overpower the flavors of these Chinese dishes even though they have high ABV contents; light and low alcohol beers are better suited for tackling bold flavors from Chinese cuisine.
On the other hand, if you don’t want your meal itself to overpower your carefully selected brewskies, for example when eating steamed fish dishes which lack seasoning due to their health benefits -then look into more robust options with more body such as wheat beers or IPAs featuring higher alcohol contents.
Experimentation And Personal Preferences
Experimenting with different kinds of beer to pair with Chinese food can be a lot of fun. Depending on your personal taste, spice level, and richness of the dish, one type or brand may work better than another.
The best way to approach this is by adopting an experimental mindset and letting personal preferences guide your choices. Try experimenting with various styles and brands for each dish to find which works best for you.
And don’t forget about those trusty Wheat Beers either! Sweet flavor lends itself excellently when paired against dim sum, dumplings, and spring rolls; whereas hoppy IPAs provide nice contrast when served alongside spicier dishes like Prawn Stir fries or Hot & Sour Soup.
With some trial and error your palate will eventually discover what pairs well together – extending strong hop bitterness to cut through sweetness likes Pork Belly dishes coated in sticky sauces or seeking out fruitiness that lightly complements shrimp fried rice without overwhelming the milder events within its flavor profile.
Tips For Pairing Beer And Chinese Food At Home
When pairing beer with Chinese food at home, consider choosing the appropriate glassware, serving temperature, and experimenting with different flavors from family-style meals or takeout.
Choosing The Proper Glassware
When it comes to pairing beer with Chinese food, glassware plays an important role in heightening the flavor and aroma of your favorite brew. Different types of beers have different characteristics that call for their own appropriate glass shape and size.
For instance, wide-mouthed glasses like pints or weizenbier glasses are best used when sipping on IPA’s or wheat beers as they allow more room for the hop and malt aromas to develop.
A tulip shaped glass is ideal for Belgian ales, as this helps keep a creamy head and allows the esters to be released during consumption. When enjoying a saison or lager with Chinese cuisine, longer stemmed glasses such as flutes will keep bubbles alive by bringing carbonated properties up from below the surface.
Serving your beer at the proper temperature is essential when it comes to pairing with Chinese food. Generally, lighter beers should be served chilled between 38-45 degrees Fahrenheit and darker beers such as porters and stouts can be enjoyed closer to 55 degrees.
Some experts suggest avoiding extremes in temperatures – where a light beer may become too syrupy if served too cold or bitter if served too warm; dark beers will lose their malty depth of flavor if they are over-chilled.
Generally, lagers and pale ales make good pairings with general Chinese dishes while heavier fare like Sichuan would do well with hoppy IPAs. Wheat beer works well with sweet & sour flavors and darker ales work best for duck & poultry dishes.
Pairing With Family-style Meals
Pairing beer with family-style Chinese meals can be a daunting task, considering the variety of dishes and flavors. The key to achieving a successful pairing is selecting beers that are versatile enough to accommodate a variety of flavor components present on the dining table.
It’s best to choose lighter-bodied beers that are easy to drink yet full of flavor, such as Belgian ales or India pale ales (IPAs). These styles have enough complexity and depth to complement multiple dishes without overwhelming them; for example, an IPA will often pair nicely with sweet and sour pork as well as stir fry vegetables.
Serving temperature also matters when it comes to bringing out the unique nuances in beer – too cold and you won’t taste much aroma or hop character but serve your favorite ale slightly chilled just above room temperature, around 56ºF (13ºC), if possible, for optimum enjoyment.
Pairing With Takeout Or Delivery
Craft beer can make an excellent addition to a Chinese takeout or delivery meal. The intense and rich flavors of a fried rice or something the bold spice in Sichuan dishes that can benefit from something to cleanse the palette, like Victory Brewing Prima Pils, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, Goose Island IPA.
To accompany Cantonese-style dishes such as sweet and sour pork or prawns with hoisin sauce, consider pairing with Anchor Steam, Samuel Adams Boston Lager Beer, New Belgium Fat Tire Ale or Asahi Super Dry which will bring out deeper layers of flavor while cutting through any sweetness present in the dish.
Shandong dishes are best suited for beers like Sapporo Premium Lager and Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier Alkoholferi. For Hunan heatrichnessof the duck with chili peppers for instance you may opt for Duvel Belgian Ale Dogfish Head SeaQuench Ale Session Sour Beer and Oskar Blues Old Chub Scotch Ale alongsideHitachino Nest White Ale; all having notes of stone fruit, citrus & herbs which complement perfectly creamy sauces .
Additionally don’t forget about temperature when choosing your craft beer option; light lagers going well with cold dishes whereas full bodiedamber ales pair betterwith warmer ones.
What are the best beers to pair with Chinese dishes?
Due to its complexity, there is no one-size-fits-all answer for what beer pairs best with a given dish. Generally speaking, light-bodied lagers and pale ales match up well with lighter ingredients such as seafood or mild meats. Darker styles such as stouts and porters pair nicely with more intense flavors – like sweet n sour pork or curry beef.
Are there any specific Chinese dishes where beer really shines?
Yes! Beer provides an excellent balance between sweetness & bitterness that go along perfectly with spicy Sichuan dishes like Kung Pow Chicken or Dan Dan Noodles; while richer colors can hold their own against flavorful curries & stir-fries found in Cantonese cuisine.
Which types of beers should I avoid when pairing Chinese food?
Aroma driven IPAs tend to be not ideal options when trying choosing a beverage to accompany meals due broadly strong hop characteristics which could overpower various flavors in certain recipes if used excessively; similarly smoked dark ales & wheat beers might distract from the original flavours of the food.
Final Thoughts on Pairing Beer with Chinese Food.
Pairing beer with Chinese dishes can be a fun and rewarding experience. Beyond just the flavor combinations, beer pairings can open up multiple possibilities in terms of compounding those flavors and giving food a new feel.
The best beers for pairing will vary depending on the complexity and intensity of your favorite Chinese dish. Generally speaking, you should look for complementary or contrasting flavors as well as considering body, richness, sweetness levels and bitterness.