Here's Why Your Mac And Cheese Add-Ons Can Affect Your Beer Pairing

Mac and cheese with beer
Mac and cheese with beer - Ricardo Canino/Shutterstock

Rich and creamy mac and cheese is the ultimate comfort food and the perfect dish to serve alongside your favorite beer. But beer and comfort food pairings are not always intuitive. A beer you choose for classic mac and cheese will be entirely different from the beer you might drink with it if you have added other ingredients to the dish. In an exclusive interview with Daily Meal, Felipe Diaz, Bar Manager and Sommelier at Zingerman's Roadhouse in Ann Arbor, Michigan, told us when ooey-gooey mac and cheese is made with add-ons, it can change the delicate balance of this dish, adding more flavorful elements.

Bacon, lobster, caramelized onions, sauteed garlic, or veggies will add their own taste to your dish and ultimately have you reach for different beers. Diaz noted, "If we have additions [to mac and cheese], like bacon or broccoli, that's definitely going to change my approach," he said. "Bacon raises the salt level and overall amount of fat, as well as a more savory punch. I'd balance that with something a little lighter that has a touch more fruit notes on the palate. In that case, I'll be grabbing a kolsch, such as New Holland's Full Circle Kolsch."

A kolsch beer is crisp and has fruity and spicy notes that play against those that are malty, balancing the richness of mac and cheese. And while a kolsch is perfect when you are noshing on mac and cheese with bacon, other add-ons will work better with pale ales or IPAs.

Read more: 10 Of The Healthiest Beers You Can Drink

Experiment With Your Beer

Mac and cheese and lobster
Mac and cheese and lobster - RFondren Photography/Shutterstock

Mac and cheese tends to be dense and hearty, with cream, butter, and cheese serving as the star ingredients. Transform it into a lobster mac and cheese; the rich-tasting addition will give it a buttery, sweeter taste. This tilting of the tasting profile means you will want a light beer that won't overwhelm your taste buds. For this reason, a Peeper Pale Ale can be a good go-to. Its citrusy notes are bright and refreshing, and it has some subtle berry flavors.

Caramelized onions will also add buttery and sweet notes, while sauteed garlic can make your mac and cheese both nutty and sweet. With these additions, make sure to choose a red ale like a Rickards Red. This beer has its own layer of caramel-candy flavor and toasty and nutty notes that enhance the caramelized onions' sweet, earthy taste. When you add broccoli, which can touch on notes of sweet, bitter, and grassy, to your mac and cheese, you might prefer cider. Ciders tend to have a subtle, fizzy apple taste and are sweeter on the tongue than traditional beer. But because the taste of beer can be a different experience for each individual, don't be afraid to experiment until you find the perfect beer pairing that suits your taste.

Read the original article on The Daily Meal.