Master brewer Peter Kreinheder ’92 shares tips on how to best pair beer with food — even dessert.

Peter Kreinheder’s path as a master brewer, a beer connoisseur and a restaurateur illustrates the power of inspiration and imagination.

After teaching youth about oceanography, then working for a high-end print and photography company, the Class of 1992 graduate became interested in brewing. He completed a brewing course in California before starting Ellicottville Brewing Company (EBC), that features tastings and a restaurant. The brewery has evolved from one western New York location in 1995 to three. His fourth — and the largest venture yet — will include a public pub and tasting room, brewery and craft beer sciences center in Little Valley, N.Y.

The business of beer — and food — has ignited a lifelong passion for Kreinheder, who also distributes his award-winning, handcrafted beer in four states and South Korea. Through the years, he’s learned that beer can complement any food from appetizers to desserts.

Just keep in mind that beer is the ‘people’s choice’ and no amount of pretentious planning matters more than simply drinking what you like,” says Kreinheder.

Pairing them Up

Recently, Kreinheder shared fundamentals on pairing popular beer types with meals — and the subtle flavor notes‚ so you can successfully make combinations at home or when ordering at your favorite eatery.>

Nut Brown Ales: Darker in color and smooth tasting with less carbonation, nut brown ales go well with cheese, grilled meats, or hearty comfort food like a stew. Kreinheder likes to pair his EBC Nut Brown Ale with his take on traditional Irish shepherds’ pie, made with lamb, veal and special sauce in a puff pastry. Why it works: The nut brown ale is a very mild bodied beer with soft notes of caramel that goes well with the buttery flavor of a puff pastry and blend of rich meats.

Coconut Beers: Popular in recent years with coconut being added to all types of beer to create creamy and flavorful varieties, coconut ales pair well with all types of seafood dishes. Kreinheder pairs his Coco Commander Ale with his coconut-encrusted cod, with an amaretto cream sauce and jasmine rice. Why it works: The corn and oats in the coconut cream ale are soft on the pallet of the beer and blend well with seafood and rice dishes.

Fruity Ales: Brewers are adding fruit to enhance flavors to get an array of unique brews. Pair a fruity ale with a less sweet dessert like bread pudding, pound cake, or a tart. Kreinheder likes to pair his EBC Caramel Apple Cúvee with his caramel bread pudding dessert.

India Pale Ales (IPAs): From golden to deep copper colors, IPAs are crisp beers that can possess citrus, herbal, floral and spicy flavors. Spicy, bright pale ales go well with Indian, Korean, and Pakistani food. Kreinheder likes to pair his IPA-EH with his calamari dish, served in coconut bowls with Asian BBQ sauce.