For all the beer lovers out there, September 9th marks a special occasion: It’s National Beer Lovers Day!

Typically, when we think of pairing food with alcohol, our minds immediately go to wine. However, much like a good wine, beer can bring out the best flavors of any given dish — provided you know which beers to pair with which kinds of foods. Check out our suggestions below for how to pair five different kinds of beers with five of our favorite dishes from our Food Monster App, and then let us know which suggestion you’re excited to try!

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1. Amber Ales Go With Smoky, Slightly Spicy Dishes

Amber ales have some maltiness to them, so if you pair them with a sweet dessert, those sweet notes are actually going to detract from their lightly hopped and almost toasty flavor profile. You can pair a mild amber ale with this hearty Caribbean Jerk Chili from Vegan: The Cookbook, or this gluten-free Spicy Black Bean and Orzo Chili.

2. Stouts Go With Rich Stews and Ice Cream

Stouts are very dark and oft-bitter beers that can really go toe-to-toe with strong, robust dishes, like rich stews or savory stroganoffs, such as this Mushroom Stroganoff. Stouts often also have notes of chocolate or coffee, and those particular stouts would go deliciously with a creamy ice cream (think almost a boozy root beer float). The weather is still warm, so we suggest pairing a rich, coffee-flavored stout with this Raw Ice Cream by Emily von Euw, or with the Colombian Black Bean Stew by Kimberly Espinel pictured above.

3. IPAs Hold Up To Spice

Indian Pale Ales, or IPAs, are citrusy beers with a strong blast of bitter hops, and for some, the taste of those bitter hops has the potential to overpower their taste buds. However, that’s why IPAs actually pair well with very spicy foods — the two strong flavors balance one another out and the hops will actually accentuate the umami and salty flavors in a spicy meal. Try pairing an IPA with a spicy curry like this recipe for Spicy Eggplant Curry by Sofia Von Porat, or these Spicy Tofu Sofritos.

4. Lagers Pretty Much Pair With Anything

Lagers are crisp, light, and tend not to overshadow most of the foods they are paired with, making them a good go-to choice if you need to supply a beer for a dinner party. They can stand up to strong flavors, and also help cut some of the heaviness in many dishes, and pair particularly well with Italian and Mexican cuisine, which use a lot of garlic. Try a lager with this gluten-free Mushroom Garlic Risotto by Buffy-Ellen Gill, or with this Mexican-Spiced Tofu Scramble.

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5. Wheat Beers and Hefeweizens Go Well With Creamy, Clean Flavors

These German-style beers are highly carbonated but very low in hops. They’re bubbly, lightly sweet, and sometimes almost taste like bananas, or bubblegum, with a hint of spicy cloves and nutmeg. You could pair Hefeweizens with creamy vegan cheeses, like this grain-free recipe for Macadamia “Goat” Cheese by Rachel Carr, or this creamy and Crunchy Fresh Broccoli Quinoa Salad.

If you’re interested in finding more vegan recipes, then we highly recommend downloading our Food Monster App, which is available for both Android and iPhone, and can also be found on Instagram and Facebook. The app has more than 8,000 plant-based, allergy-friendly recipes, and subscribers gain access to ten new recipes per day. Check it out!

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Lead image source: Brent Hofacker/Shutterstock

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