What Beer Goes With Cherries

Two glasses of cherry craft beers.

Beers and cherries might look like a weird combination at first, but with the right beer and the right cherries, the combination works. It’s convenient to go about it as a unilateral pairing and stick with cherries as a singular (not considering the different varieties) and see how they go well with different beers.

Beer and Cherries: What Do You Need To Know About The Combination

There are three basic principles of pairing a beer with food (including fruits like cherries).

  • Strength-to-strength matching: This is a contentious way to pair different beers with cherries. That’s because some people believe in pairing strong with strong (flavor to flavor), while others lean more towards a contrast (using one to bring out the strength in others).
  • Harmony/Similarities: One common “element” between a beer and cherries can be a good indicator that the two might pair well.
  • Consider different characteristics of a beer: Make a beer’s sweetness, bitterness, richness, and some other characteristics the focal point of your match-making with cherries and think how each characteristic will go with or clash against cherries.

With these principles in mind, let’s dive into the tasty world of beers and cherries.

Kriek Lambic/Fruit beer: This particular Belgian beer is made with sour morello cherries. It’s a Lambic, a type of beer specific to Belgium that takes advantage of different fruits and is made by fermenting these fruits. It’s typically made without sugar which brings out the strength of sour cherries, but the taste might be too strong for many, so some brewers have started mixing sugar to make it more palatable for the masses.

This Lambic will likely go very well with cherries since it overlaps the most with them. You might be able to brew it yourself following this recipe.

Stout: Stouts are dark beers that come with a strong roasted flavor. This top-fermented beer comes in a wide range of varieties, and while some might pair well with cherries, the others might not. The key here is contrast, and if you can get it right, the pairing will be delightful. Stouts are rich and earthy in flavor, and complementing them with just the right fruity and “freshness” cherry notes might be a difficult endeavor but well worth it.

Porter: Porters are often lumped together with stouts, but while stouts are made with unmalted barley, porters are brewed with dark malted barley. The difference between the two might not be too obvious as they are both dark and deeply rich in flavor, which is why they might pair well with cherries the same way stouts do.

Lager: Since there is a decent enough selection of cherry lagers available, we will go out on a limb and say that most pale lagers might pair well with cherries. Lagers are usually light (a beginner’s beer, as some call it), and this lightness is why they might pair well with beer (remember the strength-to-strength matching). In fact, more lagers might go well with cherries than porters and stout (which rely on a contrast that might or might not work). Another fact that “endorses” this pairing is that that lager goes together well with lime, and it might pair well with sour cherries as well.

Ale: Ale is a bit of a cheat since we’ve already discussed the Belgian Lambic, but a broader spectrum of ales might pair well with cherries, thanks mostly to their relatively fruity taste. A light ale will mostly be complimented by the fruity flavor and freshness of cherries, while a darker ale, with a more complex fruit flavor, might have to “contrasted.” The problem with pairing an ale with cherries is the wide variety that’s available in this particular beer class. There can be tens of different pairings, but not all might work out well.

Final Words

Beer with cherries is not just a tasty combination (when it works); it might also be a healthy combination when the beer is taken in moderation. Both overlap on their heart health benefits and have other complimentary benefits as well.

Click here for more:
Different Cherry Options
Best dried cherries
Alternatives to cherry for cooking and baking
Can You Refrigerate Cherries?
 Are Frozen Cherries Good to Eat?

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