Matching beer and food is not too different from pairing wine with food. The basic idea is to complement or contrast the flavors in the beverage to the flavors of the dish. Since there are about as many different types of beers as there are wines, this task can prove challenging. However, if you can remember a few simple guidelines, you should have a fair amount of success:
1) Lighter beers generally are paired with lighter foods, while heavy beers are needed to cut through rich foods.
2) The spicier the food, the more maltiness needed to balance the oils of the spice.
3) Beer should not be served with wine based dishes unless they are corresponding flavors, as described.
4) As a general rule, the entree should be served with the beer used in its preparation.
Crisp, clean, dry
White fish, lobster, shrimp, pork, light cheese, lightly spicy food
Complex, big maltiness, tangy, spicy
Rich sauces, salmon, prime rib, red meat, and heavily spiced foods.
Sweet maltiness, full bodied, rich caramel
Pinot Noir/Red Zinfandel
Pizza, lamb, salmon, duck, Salads with nut dressings, Mexican foods, nachos, burgers, roasted meats
Oysters, mussels, smoked salmon, rich steaks, BBQ Ribs, chocolates, vanilla ice cream