Pairing a beer with your pasta might seem out of the ordinary for the average person – wine, of course, traditionally being the beverage of choice to pair with a classic Italian dish.
You may be surprised, however, that beer can be just as good if not better when it comes to pairing with pasta and Italian cuisine in general. Circling back to the question at hand: what beer goes with pasta?
Here is what you need to know about pairing the right kind of beer with your pasta dish.
When it comes to Italian food, there are a few different categories of dishes that you can pair with beer. For starters, if you are eating a dish that is tomato-based or has red sauce, you will want to go for a light lager or pilsner. If your pasta has a creamy white sauce, then opt for a wheat beer or even a Belgian-style white ale. And, finally, if you are indulging in a meaty pasta dish with lots of sauce and flavor, then try pairing it with an amber ale or even a stout.
No matter what kind of Italian dish you are eating, though, be sure to avoid hoppy beers. These kinds of beers tend to have a lot more bitterness with them, which can make the pasta taste bitter as well. When it comes to what beer goes with pasta, you want something that perfectly pairs and doesn’t take away from the delicious Italian flavours in your dish.
In general, lighter beers work best when it comes to pairing them with a wider variety of foods. A good rule of thumb is that the lighter the food or dish, the lighter should be your choice in beer selection. That said, there are some exceptions to this rule (covered later on in this article).
What kinds of pasta dishes do we mean by light?
Think tortellini and spaghetti with tomato sauce: these two Italian classics go great when paired up with lagers like Birra Moretti (Coors Light is also a great choice if you happen to find yourself overseas). These beers won’t overpower the taste and flavors present in your pasta dish.
If you’re looking for a heartier pasta dish to pair with your beer, then consider something like lasagna. For heavier dishes such as this, you’ll want to reach for a more full-bodied beer that can stand up to the flavors in the food. A good example of this would be an Australian Pale Ale like 4 Pines Pacific Ale Mid Strength. Still finding yourself asking, ‘But what beer goes with pasta?’ – keep reading for a few more suggestions if we perhaps haven’t yet nailed it on the head.
Wait – how about the classic Peroni?
Peroni is an Italian beer that can be found in most supermarkets and bottle shops. It’s what you might call a “safe bet” when it comes to pairing with pasta, since Peroni is a considerably mellow beer (in terms of what we generally consider as the range of beers available). With that said, if your choice for pasta happens to also include some seafood or very fresh ingredients like salad greens or herbs then you may want to go for something with a slightly higher alcohol content such as Castlemaine XXXX Gold or Crown Lager.
Now let’s move on to what happens when you stray from the classic Italian dishes
and explore some of the more exotic fare that is available at your average Italian restaurant Sydney.
Take, for instance, arancini: rice balls filled with cheese and meat. When pairing them with a beverage, most people will reach for red wine – we think it’s time to switch it up a tad and try a craft beer. We recommend something like Dogfish Head’s Midas Touch, an ancient ale made with ingredients including honey, white Muscat grapes and saffron.
Another great example of how to pair exotic Italian cuisine with craft beer is the dish bruschetta. This simple starter can be elevated to new heights when paired with the right kind of brew. For bruschetta we would suggest trying a Belgian-style wheat beer like Blue Moon or Hoegaarden. The light citrus flavors in these beers will complement the tomatoes and herbs found in most bruschetta recipes perfectly.
If you’re looking for a more robust dish to try with beer, then we would suggest cacio e pepe. This popular Roman pasta dish is simple to make and plays well with a variety of different beers. We recommend full-bodied beers that will stand up nicely against what can sometimes be an overly rich dish without overpowering it entirely – making them ideal candidates when exploring exactly what beer goes with pasta dishes as perfectly as this one!
Last but not least, what about dessert?
Beer and dessert might seem like an unusual pairing to some, but trust us – it can work! For a classic Italian dessert to enjoy with a beer, we recommend tiramisu. This coffee-flavored dessert is best paired with a sweet stout or porter – something that will help cut through the richness of the cream and mascarpone cheese.
So what have we learned about pairing pasta dishes with beer?
When it comes to pairing beer and pasta, there is no one-size-fits-all answer. Instead, let’s consider that:
- Lighter beers like a classic Peroni Nastroazzurro or Coors Light work best with lighter Italian dishes like spaghetti and tortellini.
- Heavier beers or ales such as 4 Pines Pacific Ale are better suited for heartier pasta dishes like lasagna.
- When pairing exotic Italian dishes with beer, try a craft brew that has complementary flavours to the food.
- German-style wheat beers are perfect for pairing with bruschetta.
- Italian stouts are what you want to pair with desserts like tiramisu.
No matter what kind of Italian cuisine you’re enjoying, there’s always an equally delicious beer to pair it with. Next time someone asks what beer goes with pasta, remember what we’ve shared here and be sure to recommend that good ‘ole pale ale!
We hope this guide provides you with some helpful tips to give a twirl next time you’re dining out at the best Italian restaurant in your town – and that you’ll be sure to order a cold one alongside your pasta! With such a wide variety of different dishes available, there is something for everyone when pairing pasta with beer – so get out there and experiment until you find the perfect match for you!
Looking for ‘Italian restaurants near me‘ that offer both delicious pasta dishes paired with the perfect brew? Look no further than what we offer at The Italian Street Kitchen! We serve up tasty dishes such as tortellini and lasagna alongside some of our favourite craft beers from around the world.
Visit us today to get a taste for what makes our restaurant so special.