Sushi and Beer: Discover The Best Beer With Sushi

Sushi and beer may not seem like an obvious partnership, but when paired skillfully, they create a gastronomic harmony that will delight your taste buds. From Japanese rice lagers to pilsners and even Belgian-style pale ales, the beer world offers plenty of options to elevate your next sushi dining experience. From trying plenty of beer styles with sushi over the years, let’s deep dive into the best beer with sushi.

The Best Beers To Drink With Sushi

Navigating the beer world can be overwhelming, especially when finding the perfect pairing for a sushi feast. While there are various opinions on which beers work best with sushi, certain styles tend to complement its delicate flavors better than others.

Among them are helles lagers, American blonde ales, Kölsch, Munich Helles, and Belgian pale ales.

Asahi Super Dry is a fantastic choice for those who prefer lighter options that make raw fish flavors stand out more prominently. This Japanese rice lager has become synonymous with sushi pairings due to its crisp and dry profile that refreshes your palate between bites.

If you’re looking for something more adventurous or enjoy fruity undertones in your beverages alongside nigiri or sashimi selections, Kagua White from Japan might be the ideal match.

Its refreshing fruitiness contrasts soy sauce’s saltiness while working well together as they combine in your mouth during each bite.

Best Japanese Rice Largers To Drink With Sushi

Some of the best Japanese rice lagers to drink with sushi include Asahi Super Dry, Sapporo Premium Beer, and Kirin Ichiban.

Asahi Super Dry

check price on Drizly

Asahi Super Dry is one of the most famous Japanese rice lagers to drink with sushi, and its light and refreshing taste makes it a perfect partner for this delicate dish. Asahi Super Dry’s dry flavor profile is similar to other Japanese beers like Kirin Ichiban and Sapporo Premium Beer, making it an excellent choice for those who prefer a light and crisp beer.

It is widely available online and in various retail stores, so you can quickly get a bottle or two to pair with your next sushi dinner.

Sapporo Premium Beer

check price on Drizly

Sapporo Premium Beer is one of the best Japanese rice lagers to drink with sushi. This Japanese pale lager has a light and clean flavor profile that pairs well with many different types of sushi.

Known for its crisp and refreshing taste, Sapporo beer has become one of the most famous Japanese beer brands. It’s an excellent pair with traditional sushi rolls or even more intense options like spicy tuna.

Kirin Ichiban

check price on Drizly

Kirin Ichiban is known for its unique brewing process and excellent quality. It is a Japanese rice lager that uses 100% malted barley, setting it apart from other rice-based beers like Asahi Super Dry and Sapporo Premium Beer.

This results in a smooth taste with a subtle bitterness that pairs perfectly with sushi.

One thing to note about Kirin Ichiban is its lower bitterness level than other Japanese rice lagers. However, this doesn’t detract from its flavor as it boasts a higher carbonation rate, giving it a crisp finish.

Best Pilsners To Drink With Sushi

Pilsners provide a slightly bitter and refreshing taste that complements the delicate flavors of sushi, making Pilsner Urquell, Weihenstephaner Pilsner, and Victory Prima Pils some of the best beer choices to pair with your favorite sushi dish.

Pilsner Urquell

check price on Drizly

As a lover of sushi and beer, I have found that Pilsner Urquell is one of the best pilsners to drink with sushi. This iconic lager beer style is brewed with German Noble hops, which give it a unique flavor profile that pairs well with many sushi dishes.

The hop notes in the beer can accentuate the wasabi spice, while the sweetness from the grain will quench the fire. Pilsner Urquell brings a pleasantly bittersweet flavor, delicate malt/hop balance, refreshing cascade of carbonation, and crisp, rewarding finish to any dish – especially when paired with traditional sushi rolls like spicy tuna or seaweed salad.

Weihenstephaner Pilsner

check price on Drizly

Weihenstephaner Pilsner is a stand-out beer when it comes to pairing with sushi. This German-style pilsner has a crisp, clean, and slightly bitter taste that cuts through the umami-rich flavors of sushi.

It features earthy notes from the hops while maintaining a light and refreshing profile that doesn’t overpower the delicate fish. The carbonation in Weihenstephaner Pilsner also helps cleanse the palate between bites, allowing for a fresh experience with each piece of sushi.

Victory Prima Pils

check price on Drizly

As a straightforward pale lager categorized as a pilsner, this beer has an alcohol content of 5.3%.

It’s brewed with German Noble hops like Hallertau and has an added bitterness that complements sushi’s rich, salty-sweet, and earthy flavors. Unlike some sharper-tasting pilsners that leave rough edges behind when consumed with food, Victory Prima Pils intensifies the dish’s flavors and allows for a delightful umami combination.

This beer pairs exceptionally well with sashimi, nigiri, or sushi rolls for an even more intense flavor experience.

Best White Ales To Drink With Sushi

As a lover of sushi and beer, I have discovered that white ales are an excellent choice for pairing with sushi. These light beers offer a refreshing fruitiness when paired with the rich, salty-sweet, and earthy flavors of traditional sushi rolls.

Another great white ale option is Kagua White, which has a hint of spiciness that pairs well with the spicy wasabi often found in sushi dishes. Kyoto Brewing Company’s White Yuzu is also worth trying, as it has delicate notes of Japanese yuzu fruit that complement the umami flavors of raw fish.

When choosing a white ale to drink with your favorite sushi roll, consider both elements’ texture and flavor intensity. Lighter fish like tuna pair well with lighter beers, while richer fish like salmon may require something slightly more robust like Hoegaarden Witbier.

Hitachino Nest White Ale

check price on Drizly

This Belgian-style witbier has a soft and flavorful taste, making it the perfect complement to the delicate flavors of sushi.

At 5.5 percent alcohol content, this beer packs just enough punch without overpowering the palate. It’s light carbonation and crisp finish make it an ideal choice for cleansing the palate between bites of different types of sushi.

Hitachino Nest White Ale is an excellent choice for anyone looking to enhance their sushi dining experience.

Kagua White

Kagua White is one of the best beers to pair with sushi. This Belgian-style ale has a refreshing yuzu aroma that perfectly complements the delicate flavors of sushi.

With its fruity and floral notes, Kagua White can also work well with spicy dishes like tuna or spicy mayo rolls. It’s light and effervescent body makes it a great palate cleanser between bites, allowing you to appreciate each sushi dish’s flavor fully.

Kyoto White Yuzu

check price on Drizly

Kyoto White Yuzu is a unique ale that offers a refreshing and zesty citrus flavor, making it an excellent choice to pair with sushi. This specialty beer from Japan features the yuzu fruit, which tastes similar to lemon and grapefruit but is more complex.

The light yet flavorful notes of Kyoto White Yuzu complement the delicate taste of sushi, creating perfect harmony in every bite. Its crispness also helps cleanse the palate between each sushi roll, allowing you to enjoy each dish without losing its distinct taste.

Best Witbier To Drink With Sushi

Witbiers, or white ales, with their refreshing and fruity flavors, match sushi dishes with bold flavors like soy sauce and wasabi.

Stillwater Extra Dry

check price on Drizly

One of the best Witbiers to drink with sushi is Stillwater Extra Dry, a beer that has refreshing fruitiness when paired with sushi. Its light and crisp texture allows the delicate flavors of sushi to shine through, while its clovey spice plays well with spicy wasabi or mayonnaise.

Even when paired with richer, salty-sweet, or earthy-flavored sushi dishes like tuna or seaweed, it’s still light and refreshing.

Blue Moon Belgian White

check price on Drizly

This refreshing and slightly fruity beer is a Belgian-style Witbier that complements the flavors of raw fish and seaweed in sushi dishes.

Its lovely spice matches the spicy wasabi and soy sauce commonly found in Japanese cuisine. Despite its name, Blue Moon is not an IPA but a lighter ale that allows the umami flavors of sushi to shine while still providing a palate-cleansing finish.

Hoegaarden Witbier

check price on Drizly

Hoegaarden Witbier is one of the beers that should be included in any discussion about the best beer pairing with sushi. This Belgian-style wheat beer has a cloudy appearance thanks to its unfiltered nature and yeast in the bottle.

Its unique blend of coriander and orange peel adds a fascinating complexity to its flavor profile, making it an excellent choice for pairing with traditional and modern sushi rolls.

How To Pair Beer And Sushi

To successfully pair beer and sushi, it’s essential to consider the flavor profile of both the dish and the beer, match flavor intensity or contrast/complement flavors and think about the texture of the sushi.

Pairing Beer And Sushi Tips

Remember a few essential tips for pairing beer and sushi that will enhance your overall dining experience. Here’s a list of suggestions to help you find the perfect beer match for your sushi meal:

1. Choose a light, crisp beer:

Opt for beers like Japanese rice lagers (e.g., Sapporo) or pilsners, as they complement the delicate flavors of sushi without overpowering them.

2. Match flavor intensity:

Pair lighter beers with lighter fish (like white or crab) and stronger-flavored beers with more robust fish (such as tuna or salmon).

3. Experiment with contrasting flavors:

Try pairing a slightly fruity beer, like a Belgian pale ale, with spicy sushi rolls for an exciting contrast in taste.

4. Consider the role of soy sauce:

The saltiness in soy sauce can enhance certain beer styles, so be mindful of how this will affect your pairing choice.

5. Keep carbonation in mind:

Higher carbonation levels in some beers can serve as an excellent palate cleanser between bites of sushi, allowing you to enjoy each unique flavor combination fully.

6. Look for complementary notes:

Beers with hints of fruitiness or clovey spice can play well with the wasabi and pickled ginger, often served alongside sushi dishes.

7. Don’t forget about texture:

Consider how the beer’s mouthfeel – smooth, creamy, crisp, and bubbly – will interact with the sushi rolls’ surface.

What To Avoid When Pairing Beer With Sushi

You should remember a few fundamental principles when pairing beer with sushi to ensure the best possible dining experience. Here’s what to avoid when choosing the perfect beer to complement your sushi meal:

1. Heavy or overly hoppy beers:

These types of beers can overpower the delicate flavors of sushi, drowning out the fish’s natural taste and other ingredients.

2. Overly sweet or fruity beers:

While a hint of sweetness can enhance some sushi dishes, too much sweetness can clash with the umami and salty flavors in many sushi rolls.

3. Beers with strong or distinctive flavors:

Some beers have unique flavor profiles that might not harmonize with sushi dishes – for instance, smoked porters or sour ales might be too bold for a subtle roll like a tuna nigiri.

4. High-alcohol content beers:

Choosing high-ABV (alcohol by volume) beers can be overwhelming alongside sushi; stick to moderate ABV options not to cloud your taste buds with excessive alcohol.

5. Ignoring temperature:

The temperature at which you serve your beer and sushi matters. Cold beer works best when paired with chilled sushi rolls; conversely, warm sake is better for more great dishes like a grilled eel.

By avoiding these common missteps and focusing on light lagers, crisp pilsners, and subtly flavored ales, you can create an enjoyable and memorable beer pairing experience for your next sushi dinner.

Choosing The Right Beer For Your Sushi

Consider the flavor intensity, texture of the sushi, and whether you want to contrast or complement flavors when choosing the right beer to pair with your sushi.

Match The Flavor Intensity 

Pairing the right beer with your sushi requires matching the intensity of the flavors, and this is important to ensure that neither the beer nor the sushi overpowers the other. Here are some tips for matching flavor intensity:

1. Light beers like Japanese lagers, pilsners, and white ales go well with delicate fish such as tuna, salmon, and sea bass.

2. Bolder beers like double IPAs and stouts can handle more robust flavors like eel or fried sushi rolls.

3. Match hoppy beers with spicier sushi dishes, as they can complement each other’s bold flavors.

4. For milder sushi, consider pairing Belgian-style wheat beers or kölsch with subtle fruitiness and a light body.

5. Stronger-flavored sushi dishes may pair better with German-style bocks or doppelbocks with a high alcohol content that can cut through rich umami flavors.

Matching flavor intensity is critical to harmonious balancing your beer and sushi choices. Consider the type of fish or ingredients in your roll when selecting your beer pairing to enhance your dining experience.

Contrast Or Complement Flavors 

One crucial consideration when pairing beer with sushi is contrasting or complementing flavors. This means choosing a beer with a different flavor profile than the sushi, determining the two, or selecting a beer with similar tastes to complete the dish. Here are some examples of contrasting or complementing pairings:

– Contrasting: A hoppy pale ale could be paired with an earthy and savory sushi roll containing mushroom and avocado. The bitterness of the hops would cut through the avocado’s richness and enhance the mushrooms’ umami taste.

– Complementing: A fruity witbier could be paired with a spicy tuna roll. The citrus notes in the witbier would enhance the tuna’s freshness and counterbalance the wasabi’s spiciness.

Remember that there is no right or wrong way to pair beer and sushi – it ultimately comes down to personal preference. Experiment with different styles and flavors to find what works best for you.

Consider The Texture Of The Sushi

When it comes to pairing beer with sushi, it’s essential to consider the texture of the sushi itself. Here are some things to keep in mind:

1. Crispy rolls: If you’re enjoying a sushi roll that has a crispy element, like tempura or fried onions, consider pairing it with a beer that has enough carbonation to cleanse your palate between bites. A light lager or pilsner would be a good choice.

2. Creamy rolls: Sushi rolls that include cream cheese or avocado tend to have a smooth texture that a hefeweizen or Belgian witbier can complement.

3. Chewy rolls: Rolls that feature chewy ingredients like octopus or squid benefit from beers that have a bit of acidity and effervescence to cut through the chewy texture. Try a kölsch or Saison for this type of sushi.

4. Soft rolls: For sushi rolls where everything is soft and tender, like tuna nigiri or salmon sashimi, opt for something with a lighter body so as not to overpower the delicate flavors of the fish. Japanese rice lagers are an excellent choice for this type of sushi.

5. Umami-heavy rolls: Finally, if you’re indulging in sushi with lots of umami-rich ingredients (like soy sauce, miso paste, and seaweed), look for beers with bolder flavors and hoppier profiles – they’ll stand up well to those earthy flavors without being too overwhelming on their own. IPA lovers can happily enjoy these types of sushi – try one from your favorite local brewery!

FAQ on Choosing the Best Beer with Sushi

What types of beer pair best with sushi?

Different types of sushi have unique flavor profiles, which call for different beer styles to complement them. Lighter beers like lagers and pilsners are excellent for delicate seafood flavors, while hoppy IPAs can balance out richer dishes such as spicy tuna rolls or tempura shrimp.

Can I pair sake with sushi instead of beer?

Sake is a traditional Japanese alcoholic beverage that pairs well with many sushi dishes due to its complex flavors and subtle sweetness. However, if you prefer the taste of beer over sake, there are plenty of delicious beer options available that will enhance your dining experience just as much.

 Should I always choose a Japanese beer to pair with sushi?

While it’s true that Japan has several renowned breweries producing high-quality beers that complement their cuisine beautifully, selecting a local craft brew or international import can also be an excellent choice depending on your taste preferences and the style of the dish you’re enjoying.

 How do I know which type of beer to choose when pairing it with my favorite sushi roll?

A good rule-of-thumb is to consider how bold the flavors in the dish are compared to the intensity level of various beers—pair lighter-bodied sushis like nigiri or sashimi with pilsners or wheat beers; fatty fish calls for an amber ale or red ale, whereas spicier food requires a pale ale; dark stouts enhance richness found in eel dishes while sour fruit lambics go well-pickled veggies used in maki rolls etc.!


In conclusion, beer with sushi is popular among food and beverage enthusiasts. When choosing the proper brew for your sushi, it’s essential to consider the flavor profile of your dish.

Whether you prefer Japanese rice lagers like Asahi Super Dry, Sapporo Premium Beer, or Kirin Ichiban or trying something different like Belgian-style pale ales or English bitters – there’s always a perfect beer for every type of sushi.

Remember that matching your beer’s flavor intensity and texture with the sushi can take your dining experience to another level.

Dan Smullen Beer is my life profile

Hi, I'm Dan, founder of BeerIsMyLife. I've been an avid homebrewer for over ten years, and beer is my true passion. I've traveled all over the world, visiting breweries, tasting beer, as well as making my own batches. I set up this blog to share that experience with you.