Pairing food and beer is a smart way to improve guest experiences while driving ticket sales up.

Summer dining is all about grilling, seafood, fresh fruits and vegetables, and crisp drinks. From a menu standpoint, pairing food and beer should be fun, and it can be a good way to engage your FOH staff, asking their thoughts and working together on group tastings so that servers are well-versed in pairing your offerings. Train staff to share specific pairing recommendations and empower them to suggest their own favorite pairings. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Fish Tacos & Shandy - Fish tacos are a summertime favorite, and a shandy, which combines beer with a citrusy soda, can balance the fish with the brightness of lemon or lime.

Seafood Boil & Blonde Ale - A well-rounded blonde ale is the perfect balance for the big, bold flavors of a seafood boil. Versatile blonde ales’ malty, toasty notes also complement sandwiches and lighter fare.

Grilled Chicken Kebabs & Hazy IPA - Hazy IPAs are extremely popular right now, so it’s a good idea to get to know them and what pairs with them best. The charred flavor of grilled chicken and veggie kebabs complements the mouthfeel and brightness of certain hazy IPAs.

Blue Cheese Burger & Double IPA - With more pronounced hop and malt flavors, a double IPA is the move when pairing with the beefiness of a blue cheese burger or other meaty mains.

Prosciutto and Melon & Gose – A fruity gose extends the sweetness of the melon in this classic summer pairing, and a hint of sourness provides balance that heightens the earthy flavors of thinly sliced prosciutto.

Nashville Style Fried Chicken & Pilsner - For a spicy fried chicken sandwich, you want a beer that provides thirst-quenching refreshment, and few do it as well as a pilsner: the beer of baseball games and pool hangs. The extremely versatile pilsner pairs well with everything from caprese salad to fish and chips, so it’s a good idea to have a few represented on your beer menu.

Bites & Flights - We already know that small, shareable plates are a hit for the bar, but what beer pairs well with them? Train your servers to recommend a beer flight so guests can have some variety to mix and match with items from your bar food menu.

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