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It’s no secret that at MoCU, we’re all in when it comes to our food and drink pairings. And, while wine may always have its place on the table, we’ve taken it upon ourselves to find out why beer and food matching is fast moving beyond the simple ‘pie and pint’ to the ‘sip and swish’ at the dinner table. With its complexity of flavour, its ability to provide refreshment and to interact with a range of flavour intensities, here’s 10 reasons you may be matching your next dinner menu with your good friend, beer.

1. More chefs are choosing beer over wine when pairing their dishes

It’s not uncommon for brewers to work in unison with chefs with the goal of creating the perfect beer to partner a dish. And, chefs are rapidly turning to beer because of its versatility in the kitchen. You only have to look as far as Western Australia to Gerard Mitchell, the chef who cooks with beer, creates entire menus paired with beer, and advises chefs on cooking with or for beer. His Pale Ale cheese, pork belly smoked over spent grains and hop honey prove that anything found in a brewhouse can be used in food.

2. Food seasonality matches perfectly to seasonal beers

You don’t have to be a genius to figure out that seasonal beer goes hand in hand with seasonal food - they are both based off using flavours that coincide with the weather, time of year, and the ingredients that are only available seasonally. In the winter you’ll find your stouts, porters and dark ales matched perfectly with heavy duty roasts or grilled meats whereas summer beckons the lighter brews - lagers and pale ales to be enjoyed amidst a feast of seafood and farm to table salads and vegetables. 

Try this Chargrilled Kangaroo dish with a Red Amber Ale.

Sourced via @Delicious Magazine

3. Beer makes the perfect starter

Beer, it’s just exciting, it’s the start of a good time and equally the start of a good dinner. Appetisers and entrees, sometimes the best meal of the night, are often a small dish that’s packed full of flavour.

Perfect to pair it with an equally outstanding beer. Think blue cheese tartlets paired with a hoppy American Pale ale or fresh seafood with a green salad sided by a Pilsner. The trick is to go for beers that are light in body and aren’t aggressively bitter.

Kick off your next dinner by pairing an Emerons Pilsner with a starter of Grilled Prawns with Peaches and Champagne sauce.

Image source @ Delicious Magazine

4. Craft brews have many nuances of flavour

The explosion of craft brewing has meant a huge array of different beer styles and on top of that, many nuances of flavour. Nutty, sweet, spice, earth, sour, fruit, chocolate - the list goes on when it comes to palate points and seems impossible to not find something to match to your dinner.  

5. Odd pairings work where they shouldn’t

Schnitzel with a pale lager is any punters classic cuisine choice, but what about the more unusual pairings? Have you tried stout with oysters or salted popcorn with a Japanese Black porter? Better yet is the saltiness of baked pork rinds with the sour cherry flavours of a Belgian Kriek. Because of its range and complexity, beer has the odd ability of transcending typical flavour profiles. It’s magic, really. 

Try this unconventional pairing next time you’re in the hot seat: Malt Shovel Brewers Black IPA with Lime Pistachio Dukkah added to your cheese board.

Image source @ Delicious Magazine

6. Brewers are pushing the boundaries

You only have to look at this years Great Australian Beer Festival to see that small brewers are getting neck deep in the full breadth of beer’s diversity. Brewers all over the world are exploring and creating beers of every kind, from those with the finesse to complement the lightest food to bold flavours that can match the most outlandish dishes. 

7. Beer is a cook’s best friend

Turns out beer is your new favourite kitchen hand. Here’s a few things your trusty beverage can help you out with next time you’re on the tools:

  • Lighten up a batter.
  • Deglaze the pan.
  • Add it to dressings and marinades.
  • Can replace or augment stock in soups and sauces.
  • Make dessert even more luxurious by substituting for other rich liquids in desserts.

8. Beergustations are a thing

Misperceptions about beer’s lack of sophistication when coupled with food are thankfully becoming a thing of the past because Beergustations are here. Basically, it’s all about matching up great beer and delicious food to create the ultimate stomach lining experience. From restaurants, to events, to at home dinner parties, these little 5-9 course dinners are on the rise.

Try the Journey to Gastronomy, a full 5 course Beergustation the next time you want to host your own.

9. Local produce drives local beer

The availability of local beers far outweighs that of local wines unless you live in Provence. Because of this, the beer and food pairing trend has become a byproduct of the increasing focus on ‘local is best’. This macro trend of sourcing local food for restaurants sees chefs creating dishes using locally sourced ingredients, and pairing them with local craft brews.

10. More beer festivals than ever before

Great Australian Beer Festival, Brewsvegas, Good Beer Week, Crafted Live...We have no shortage of beer festivals in Australia as well as fans that flock to them in thirst. Brewers have become stars in their own right and all this attention has only meant more foodies that cater to them. From fancy food trucks, to woodfired fodder and the much loved barbeque fare - it’s no wonder beer has fast become gourmet food’s best friend.   


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