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Craft Beer Times | The Best Ways to Match Beers with Seafood and Saltiness

The Best Ways to Match Beers with Seafood and Saltiness

The Best Ways to Match Beers with Seafood and Saltiness

Why Beer and Seafood?

It’s All About the Salt

When it comes to pairing drinks with seafood, many people often go for the classic white wine. However, there’s another beverage that pairs just as well, if not better with seafood – beer. The secret to a perfect beer and seafood pairing lies in the saltiness of seafood, where the right beer can complement the saltiness or even cut through it, creating a perfect balance of flavors.

Understanding Salinity

Salt, Sodium and Their Effects on Seafood

Salt is the driving factor behind the complex taste and texture of seafood. It enhances the natural flavor of seafood and plays an essential role in preventing it from spoiling. However, too much salt can be harmful to human health and cause detrimental effects like high blood pressure.

Sodium, too, plays a vital role in our bodies. It helps balance the fluid levels within cells and supports muscle and nerve functions. However, excessive dietary sodium intake can cause a myriad of health problems.

To maintain a healthy balance of salts and sodium in our diet while enjoying seafood, pairing it with a refreshing and light beer can be an excellent option.

The Best Beer Styles for Seafood

Light, Crisp, and Refreshing

Not all beers pair well with seafood. Malt-heavy and overly hoppy beers can overpower the flavors of the seafood, ruining the experience. When it comes to choosing the right beer, go for light, crisp, and refreshing beers that can complement the saltiness and bring out the best flavors of the seafood.

Some of the most popular beer styles that pair well with seafood include:

  • Pilsner
  • Belgian Witbier
  • German Hefeweizen
  • Kölsch
  • Session IPA

Pairing Beer with Specific Seafood Dishes

Crab Cakes

Crab cakes are packed with flavors that are both sweet and salty. Pairing it with a crisp and refreshing beer like a pilsner or kölsch can help enhance those flavors. If you prefer something with more depth, try a hefeweizen or Belgian witbier.


Oysters are known for their briny, salty flavor. To complement this, pair them with a light and bubbly pilsner or classic witbier with a citrusy twist.

Fish Tacos

A good fish taco pairs well with a session IPA, which brings the bitterness and citrusy flavor of the hops to cut through the heartiness of the fish while complementing the spiciness of the sauce.

Breweries for the Perfect Pairing

Cigar City Brewing

Located in Tampa, Florida, Cigar City Brewing is renowned for its award-winning brews that pair perfectly with seafood. Try their classic lagers, or go for something with more depth, like the Jai Alai IPA.

Victory Brewing Company

Victory Brewing Company, based in Downingtown, Pennsylvania, offers a wide variety of beers that go well with seafood. Their Prima Pils is a popular choice, with its crisp, refreshing taste that pairs well with many seafood dishes.

In Conclusion

Enhancing the Flavors of Seafood with Beer

Pairing beer with seafood can enhance and bring out the natural flavors of the food while balancing the saltiness. It’s essential to choose the right beer style depending on the seafood dish and flavor profile, opting for light and crisp beers that complement the saltiness without overpowering it. So, the next time you’re enjoying a seafood dish, don’t hesitate to crack open a cold one and enjoy the perfect pairing of salinity and suds.


Dustin is a writer about craft beer and a professional brewer in the city of Chicago. He has written for several magazines and has over a decade of experience in the beer industry. He is currently working on a book about the history of beer in Chicago.

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