Turning meals into celebrations

"It was as natural as eating and, to me, as necessary. I would not have thought of eating a meal without drinking a beer." - Ernest Hemingway

The ground rules for pairing food with beer

Before pairing beer with food, it is important to know that the processes that go into the making of each are in fact, very similar. There is thus a natural tendency for certain types of beer to complement food that has been through similar processes.

Much of beer's flavour is derived from the cooking process during the malting phase when barley is converted to malt. These flavours tend to be quite similar to the myriad of food cooking flavours commonly enjoyed.


Newlands Brewery hosts a Food & Beer Pairing evening on the last Thursday of every month, where the subtleties of beer and how they complement various foods are explained. Guests are invited to sit back, relax and enjoy this dining experience.

Food and beer pairing tips

  • Seek compatibility. Beer and food combinations often work best when they have some flavour or aroma elements in common. The herby bitterness of hops in beer goes well with food that is lightly spiced, like cooked meat or fish.
  • Match beer strength with food strength. Put simply, delicate dishes work best with delicate beers, and it is equally true that strongly flavored foods demand assertive beers. Intensity of flavour may involve many aspects: alcoholic strength, malt character, hop bitterness, sweetness, etc.
  • For those bound to the wine pairing school of thought, think of ale as red wine and lager as white wine. Hoppy beers can also be used in place of a pairing that calls for an acidic wine.
  • Consider sweetness, bitterness, carbonation, heat and richness. Specific characteristics of food and beer interact with each other in predictable ways. Taking advantage of these interactions ensures that the food and beer will balance each other, each giving you a desire for a taste of the other.
  • The more hop bitterness the beer has, the heartier or livelier the meal needs to be to hold its own.
  • Experiment with contrasting and complimentary pairings. Match foods with complimentary flavours, or contrast them to create a slew of unique results.
  • Taste is very subjective and what works for one person might not work for another. If it tastes good to you, then go for it. However, also be open to suggestions, as these tend to come with some knowledge and possible palate enlightenment.
  • Foods that are full of flavour can be paired with beers that have a slightly higher alcohol content.

FOOD & BEER pairing examples

Beer is as versatile as it is diverse, providing both complementary and contrasting experiences when paired with food. Below are some of the splendid dishes that our friend, Chef Pete Goffe-Wood previously paired with our beers.

  • Potato & dill cake topped with smoked salmon + Castle Lite
  • Spicy Lentil Boboetie + Carling Black Label
  • Oysters + Castle Milk Stout
  • Rogan Josh lamb Curry + Pilsner Urquell
  • Broccoli soup with chees, onion & sage bread + Hansa
  • Pickled fish + Millers
  • Turkey roll with Christmas stuffing and braised spiced red cabbage + Grolsch
  • Glazed gammon on baked apples & sweet potato with honey and ginger – Carling Black Label
  • Milk tart + Redds Dry
  • Sticky Toffee pudding + Hansa
  • Dark Chocolate covered Almonds + Castle