Like most things in life, when it comes to finding food that goes incredibly well with your beer, it’s best to do it right. Good food and good beer always go well together, but we want to level up everyone’s dining experiences beyond what just “seems right.” So, we sat down with our sensory research and taproom teams to find out the subtle art — and obvious science — behind pairing food with our various Cali Squeeze offerings.

Now, there’s no single answer to what food pairs best with your beer or seltzer of choice. There are options! And, of course, different settings — that first dinner you’re cooking for that special someone, post-work summer barbeques, beach picnics with friends. It can all seem overwhelming at first, but we promise, it’s as easy as grabbing another Cali Squeeze out of the cooler. Let’s begin with the basics.

There are three key components in pairing that are important to keep in mind while prepping your menu: complement, contrast, and cut. 

We’ll start with “complement,” which is a little more straightforward. Complementing is all about finding harmonies, or similar flavors, between your beer and the dish you’re enjoying it with. 

The second component is just the opposite, “contrast.” For a contrasting pairing, you want the main flavor profile of the dish to contrast with the main flavor profile of the beer.

The final component, “cut,” highlights using your beer (or seltzer!) to cleanse the flavors from the dish, resetting your palate to normal.

Complementary pairings tend to be some of the more obvious. For example, a Blood Orange Cali-Squeeze works nicely with the rich sweetness of vanilla ice cream or custard. Like orange sorbet? You have something better, right there!

Contrasting and cutting are where things start to get a bit more tricky. But, remember, both components have one common goal: balance. Rather than panicking, merely consider the primary flavors of a dish, and then select a beer or seltzer that offers balancing flavors from there.  

Lighter, subtler foods are best balanced with the intensity of a seltzer. For example, if you brought some fresh fish back from the market, we’d recommend pairing it with any of our Blood Orange, Mango, POG, or Pink Lemonade seltzer offerings. Whether it’s sushi or ceviche, the effervescence and low-level citrus, ginger, and fruit characteristics of seltzers will work quite well.

Foods that are spicy or high in acidity are well balanced by our fruit-forward Hefeweizen beers. Have a recipe for a mango or pineapple pico de gallo? Or a coconut Thai curry? Try either or with our Tropical P.O.G. or Mango beers to maximize all those fruity, tropical, and punchy notes. 

So, there you have it! Now you can pair your favorite beer and seltzer with food like a Cali-Squeeze pro. If you use this info to dazzle everyone at your next barbeque, be sure to tag @calisqueeze and let us know. Cheers!