Bacon and beer are a natural match. You’ve probably been pairing the two together for years without thinking about it – late night munchies, anyone? But did you know there are actually a lot of different types of bacon, and each variety goes well with a different kind of beer? If you’ve just been eating the (supremely yummy) crispy breakfast bacon that goes well with soft scrambled eggs, then you’re depriving yourself of hearty, Irish bacon and sweet Italian pancetta. Yep – there’s an entire bacon kingdom to munch through, and you shouldn’t try any one slice of it without a pint by your side. We’ve curated a salty, fizzy bacon and brew feast in your honor. We hope you came hungry.
Pepper cured bacon tastes like very thin pastrami. The spicy flavor of this bacon makes it ideal for livening up your BLT or morning omelette. To complement scrumptious, mouth-tingling, peppered bacon, pour yourself a mug of wheat beer. Wheat beer is gentle and not overly hopped, so it won’t compete with peppered bacon’s spice. However, the wheat base adds a delicate layer of earthiness that mingles well with peppered bacon.
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Italian speck is cured with lots of spices, including juniper, the primary botanical in gin. This super herbaceous bacon is best paired with a fairly neutral beer that won’t steal its thunder. A humble glass of lager will nicely wash down the distinct tang of speck without giving you palate overload and flavor fatigue.
Canadian Bacon, which tastes a lot like ham, is made from the pig’s back. It’s juicy, hearty, and best known for it’s star role in a plate of Eggs Benedict. This more robust bacon deserves a heartier beer that won’t completely wash out the salt. The brown ale is the perfect contender. The chocolate will jive well with the sharper flavors of the Canadian bacon, while the body of the beer balances well with the bacon’s thickness.
This lean cut of bacon is smoked, chewy, and filling. It’s the steak of the bacon world, and you could probably make a meal out of it (though if you’re like us, you could probably make a meal out of any bacon). Irish Bacon goes well with… you guessed it: stout. Creamy, roasted stout is the ideal match for a gritty slab of Irish bacon. We don’t want to recommend any one brand in particular but we’re awfully fond of this one.
Pancetta is an Italian bacon that’s somewhat similar to sausage. It’s the perfect thing to add to a bowl of simple pasta or fold into fluffy bread. Pancetta is a little sweet, but not overtly so, meaning there’s room for more sugar. Sweet cider plays up the fruity aspects of pancetta while the bubbles cut through the layers of fat. Tip: drink sweet cider while enjoying pancetta and soft cheese.
Pork belly is delightfully fatty, so much so that you’ll probably find yourself pushing away your plate after a few bites. We can’t let that happen! In order to dry out your mouth from all that grease, reach for an IPA. The super-hoppy, sweet, alcoholic beer is the perfect companion for a luxurious slab of pork belly. In no time at all, your plate (and glass) will be clean.
For those of us keeping kosher, lamb bacon is the way to go. It’s usually a tad less fatty than pork bacon, but still salty. Gamey lamb bacon needs a beer with an equally forthright attitude. Cue the Tripel, a strong style of Belgian ale. It’s dense, bright yellow, and complex – perfect for the dominant tastes of lamb. This is also the bacon and beer pairing we imagine a Game of Thrones character eating.
Ah, American bacon. Crunchy, salty, brash, and full of fat. It’s not exactly the most complex bacon out there, but it’s certainly delicious. We recommend American bacon with a nice, dry Pilsner. Pilsners are just hopped enough so the bitterness of the beer and saltiness of the bacon go hand in hand. Plus, the refreshing crispness of the Pilsner will wash your palate clean so you can go on to enjoy more bacon.
It’s not that we mind tempeh, tofu, and bean bacon. But hey, if you’re going to fake it, you might as well fake it all the way.