By Erin Weaver

I’ll be the first to admit it: my knowledge of beer is limited to grabbing whatever IPA happens to be in my fridge. Words in pairing guides like “lacing,” “retention” and “mouthfeel” sound simple enough, but ultimately leave you no more knowledgeable than when you started reading, and I’m probably the last person on the planet who could tell you what they mean. In the spirit of taking on new knowledge, though, I decided to take on the charts, webs and lists that make up the bewildering world of beer pairings. If someone can perfectly couple brews with Girl Scout cookies, I’m certainly capable of nding a beer to sip with my pizza. The result is a mixture of fact and conjecture at best (at worst, it’s straight up, well intentioned fiction –– so sue me, Cicerones!) with some local ales and where to nd them to help create some perfect comfort food and alcohol marriages –– all so you can create the luxury of beer pairings in your own home. 


ice cream+ stout

The dark coffee and chocolate undertones in most stouts lend another layer of avor to rich ice creams. Sweeter than most beers, stouts also bring out ice cream’s sugar, but they’re still bitter enough not to be cloying. Ninkasi’s Vanilla Oatis is rich in flavor with hints of chocolate and a developed vanilla flavor profile–– which the brewery achieves by adding whole vanilla beans during the brewing process.

Try Ninkasi’s Vanilla Oatis



risotto+ pilsner

Like lagers, pilsners are airy and crisp,making them ideal pairings with foods that are rich and flavorful. Coupling pilsners with a creamy risotto helps lighten the otherwise- heavy comfort food. For those not as cooking-inclined –– but unwilling to give up the luxury of a good risotto –– there are plenty of mixes to choose from (our favorites are the Trader Joe’s Mushroom and Herb Risotto and the prepackaged Parmesan Risotto from Lundberg Farms). Plank Town’s popular Blue Pool Pils is crisp and refreshing with subtle notes of spice, and can lighten up even the richest of dishes.

Try Plank Town’s Blue Pool Pilsner



pizza+ amber ale

Though amber ales are typically hoppy, they won’t overpower most dishes, making them the perfect beer to sip while you tuck into your pizza. Amber ales are mild without being boring, flavorful but not overwhelming. Oakshire’s Amber Ale is moderately hoppy and its maltiness adds a welcome layer of avor to any pizza.


Try Oakshire’s Orginal Amber Ale


nachos+ ipa

IPAs are generally the go-to beer when it comes to pairing anything with cheddar cheese, so it makes sense that they’d be a great t for nachos. Able to hold its own against the rich ingredients that nachos are piled high with, an IPA won’t steal the show, either. IPAs are also extremely versatile and can go with basically any ingredient or protein you decide to throw on top of your chips.

Try Hot Valley’s Alphadelic IPA



chocolate desserts+ porter

A rich, chocolatey porter pairs perfectly with equally-rich chocolate desserts. Because the two have similar flavor profiles, each brings out the chocolate in the other! For a bonus layer of flavor, try a porter with a twist like coffee or vanilla brews. The Java Porter from Sam Bond’s Brewing is made using coffee beans from Stumptown –– so its coffee flavor is bold and pronounced –– and can add deeper complexity to any dessert, chocolate or otherwise.

Try Sam Bond’s Brewing’s Java Porter



Mac & Cheese+ brown ale

Brown ales often have a nuttiness that can cut through the fat of rich meals like mac and cheese. In this coupling, the slight caramel-like sweetness in brown ales adds a more complex flavor profile to some otherwise one-note cheesy dishes. The St. Bernard Brown is moderately bitter and has sugary undertones that can balance out the richness of mac and cheese.

Try Steelhead Brewery’s St. Bernard Brown