Crisp, refreshing beers are the best way to start a meal. Lighter wheat beers can be a perfect match for salads, although the bitterness of greens sometimes calls for a hoppy Pilsner. A floral blonde ale is great with seared Ahi tuna. Hoppy American pale ale can balance the richness of appetizers such as cheese tartlets. Spicy saison is the perfect counterpoint to New Orleans style shrimp. A full-flavored red ale or amber lager can be an ideal mate to smoked fish – or you might choose to present it with an elegantly crisp, dry stout.
The idea is to create a great experience without wearing out the palate. Look for beers that are light in body and aren’t aggressively bitter.