11 of the Best Beers to Pair with Brunch
Move over, mimosa. Bye, Bloody. Beer is the ultimate brunch beverage, and we've got the pairings to prove it.
The mimosa has owned brunch for too long. No, I’m not suggesting that it’s time for the rise of another cocktail (sorry, Aperol Spritz). The time has come to make room on the brunch menu for America’s most widely consumed alcoholic beverage: beer.
From light and zingy to dark and luscious, the wide range of beer styles out there in the world means there's almost certainly a brew to pair with whatever you're eating. So we've rounded up your mimosa replacement for 10 popular brunch dishes, and added one brunch beer to rule them all.
and Eggs Benedict
Eggs Benedict has layers of flavor (literally) stacked on top of one other, meaning a matching beer has a lot to contend with. Enter Tank 7, whose subtle sweetness is highlighted by the salty character of the ham. The farmhouse ale's high carbonation wipes your palate clean of the fatty egg yolk and salty ham, preparing you for another bite and keeping you feeling light between mouthfuls.
and Lemon Ricotta Pancakes
Acidic lemon plays against creamy ricotta in this fluffy brunch staple, so adding a little more citrus and a touch of bitterness in the form of a fruity pale ale produces blissful balance in every bite. Citrusinensis is a pale ale from Lagunitas, brewed with citrusy American hops and finished with blood orange juice for a refreshing pint. The slightly bitter aftertaste of this beer tones down the pancakes' potent sweetness, and the citrus notes pump up the impact of the lemon. It’s a match made in some kind of citrus grove heaven.
Can’t find it? Try
Get a recipe for Lemon Ricotta Pancakes with Caramelized Apples here.
and Bacon, Egg and Cheese
A drive-thru bacon, egg, and cheese and a drip coffee is a classic weekday combo. The brunch-ed up slab bacon, egg, and artisan cheese, plus a coffee stout, on the other hand, is made for the weekend. Founders Breakfast Stout uses two kinds of coffee to achieve its iconic java flavor, along with a heaping pile of oats to create a mouthfeel that’s reminiscent of a cup of Joe with plenty of heavy creamy. Roasted malt bitterness cuts the grease and fat of a BEC, while the coffee pairs with a runny yolk, letting even your most hungover self know that it is undeniably breakfast time.
and Crab Cake Benedict
If you’re paying brunch prices for crab cakes, you’re going to want to taste that expensive seafood. A light beer with subtle spice is just enough to add some intrigue to your meal without overpowering the plate. Hoppy Table Beer is a 4.8 percent Belgian ale brewed with American hops and a touch of coriander with enough carbonation to stand up to a thick hollandaise sauce. A squeeze of lemon on your crab cake creates pleasant harmony with the faint grapefruit aroma wafting from the glass.
and Chicken and Waffles
There are endless possibilities for the sauces, toppings, and sides that may accompany chicken and waffles. But one thing is always certain, you’re in for a heavy ride. Pairing this breakfast indulgence with a hoppy IPA adds bitterness to calm sweet syrup and cut through grease from the deep fried chicken. Cigar City’s Jai Alai has the hops to do the job, and it is also a more balanced IPA with caramel malt giving it an amber hue and the perfect flavor elements to complement a syrup-doused waffle.
Can’t find it? Try
Get a recipe for Chicken and Waffles Sliders here.
and Goat Cheese Omelet with Breakfast Potatoes
A golden omelet stuffed with roasted vegetables and gobs of goat cheese is a brunch goer's delight. What can snuggle up next to the salty potatoes and tangy cheese? A gose. The style is made with salt and coriander, and it's known for a tart, but not overwhelming sourness. Westbrook Gose brings a sharp lemon dimension to this meal, and a hint of salt to balance things out.
and Fruit Topped Waffles
You’ve chosen to walk on the sweet side for brunch, so instead of a beer that pulls sweetness back, go all in on your decision. The perfect pair here is a seven percent stout that enhances sweet sensations. Night Shift’s Bennington is made with familiar flavors of the morning: maple syrup and cocoa. The maple syrup is an expected pairing for a crisp waffle, of course, and the bittersweet chocolate notes provide a counterpoint to a sugar-coated meal. A fleeting aftertaste of roasty chocolate prepares you for each berry-filled bite.
Can’t find it? Look for from Wicked Weed
and a Brunch Burger
Luponic Distortion is a series of hop-forward ales from California brewery Firestone Walker. Hop bitterness cuts through rich toppings like fried eggs, sweet bacon, piles of cheese, or caramelized onions that typically come on brunch burger. Under all those hops, Luponic has a touch of sweet malt to give red meat flavors a boost without being cloying. At 5.1 percent alcohol, you can enjoy a few while you put down a towering brunch burger.
and a Bagel and Lox
Oily fish and salty capers are begging for a softness that rosé and other brunch wines just can’t provide. Belgian witbiers, on the other hand, provide silky wheat smoothness with a hint of citrus and a twist of phenolic spice that holds up well against your salty combo. Meanwhile, the orange peel flavor in a witbier acts like a squeeze of acid on heavy cured salmon, and the cracker-like wheat pulls out only the best aspects of a yeasty bagel.
and Biscuits and Gravy
Sausage gravy is sopped up by flaky biscuits in this Southern favorite. Why not bring in a beer that tastes like biscuits to do more... sopping? Dark English Milds have nutty, grainy flavors, accompanied by low alcohol and a tinge of sweet barley, with no hop bitterness to stand in the way of thick gravy coating your palate. Yard’s Brawler is a great example of the style, but if you see any British Mild on tap, order it!
and Just About Any Brunch Dish Under the Sun
If you’re looking for something that will work across the board, a Belgian Golden Strong Ale is a great match for almost any brunch dish. The effervescent carbonation mimics Champagne, and the spicy hops are too subdued to overpower any food. At 8.5 percent alcohol, Duvel might just match the abv of your mimosa, too.