Wine For Pork? Try Beer Instead!

One of the organs for which I regularly toil, Nation’s Restaurant News, yesterday delivered to my in-box a story on wine pairings for pork as chosen by members of the Court of Master Sommeliers were featured.

(You may need to register to see the story, but it’s here.)

Now, I have nothing but respect for Master Sommeliers, and know quite a few of them personally. They’re smart individuals who work very hard to attain what is a most impressive credential. And I thoroughly enjoy wines of many different styles, qualities and price points, from summertime vinho verdes to status Bordeaux and Californians. But really, pork? That’s definitely beer territory.

The dishes cited range from spice-rubbed spare ribs with bourbon barbecue sauce – surely a potential disaster for even the best-case wine scenario – to pork tenderloin wrapped in bacon. And as I read through the list of their suggested pairings, one word resonated in the back of my brain: Bavaria!

It has been said – by me, and often – that the Bavarian brewer whose beers don’t pair well with pork won’t stay in business for long, and it’s something I firmly believe. Pig is close to a gastronomic religion in Germany’s south, so it stands to reason that its beers would find harmonies with pork dishes of all sorts. More so, I’m afraid, than wine. Much more.

For ribs, which is a bit outside of the Bavarian zone if familiarity, I’d pick a beer that is likewise not quite indigenous, such as pilsner, preferably of the Bohemian sort, with a greater malt content than its northern German kin, while grilled or roasted loin is a great fit with märzen or dunkel weizen.

But really, when you’re talking pork, you can pretty much safely reach for any Bavarian beer style, and for considerably less than the per case prices quoted by my MS compatriots.

3 Replies to “Wine For Pork? Try Beer Instead!”

  1. In addition to the lovely Bavarian Styles (and Dunkel is top of my list of pork-friendly beers), a Belgian Dubbel, especially one that is malty without being sweet, works nicely. Some of the more mild smoked porters out of the US (Captain Lawrence) would do well as well. And if the pork is very smoky itself, then a Rodenbach style sour red ale might do well.

  2. You could add the sweeter, darker ales, sold as Owd Rodger or Old Peculier, particularly if your pork is coming with a soy-laden sauce; a sour English ale such as Gale’s Prize Old if you’re having it with apple sauce and sage (a British favourite), even a pale barley wine such as Fuller’s Vintage Ale with roast pork covered in crackling. Excuse me – I’m going to have to mop my drooling mouth …

  3. Good article! I couldn’t agree with Shamas and Martyn more. More than chicken or beef, pork does seem to pair best with beer over wine. All these high end restaurants would be fortunate to advertise the pairing possibilities of beer! I’m having a pulled pork sandwich for lunch today….and a beer.

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