In the Czech kitchen: The art of pairing 'pivo' with food

Lukáš Tomsa of Prague's Dva kohouti (Two Roosters) brewery in Karlín shares tips on how to pair Czech beer with any kind of cuisine.


Written by Ambiente Published on 26.02.2024 16:08:00 (updated on 29.02.2024) Reading time: 3 minutes

Beer pairing may be unexplored on the Czech gastro scene, but it has been practiced worldwide for a long time. Pioneering Noma in Copenhagen experimented with beer and food pairing years ago, while New York’s now-shuttered restaurant Luksus, part of the Torst bar, did the same.

Brewmaster Lukáš Tomsa, whose Dva kohouti (Two Roosters) brewery in Karlín has hosted several beer pairing dinners: “Beer offers a wide range of factors that can be worked with: bitterness, density, saturation, alcohol, aroma, flavors.” Here, Tomsa shares with us which beers to enjoy with your meal.

Earthy mushrooms are magical with sour beer

Whether preparing a stir-fry, fried mushrooms, or a portobello burger, you’ll take the course to the next level with a sour variety. The chefs at DK served creamy mushroom ravioli with the Local 11° raspberry special fermented with lactobacilli, added to the beer during the cooking process (as a bonus, the beer aids digestion). 

Perfect pair: Dark fruity beer and fried, fatty food

Have you ever tried apricot jam with chicken, veal, or pork schnitzel? This combination is proof that sour fruit pairs perfectly with a fattier dish. Enjoy brisket, juicy neck, or a meat ragout with sour ales and fruit beers.  

The beer brewed to celebrate DK's fourth birthday, a 14° Local Dark Sour with Sour Cherries, was used in sauce served with its rooster hollandaise.

Mild beer boosts bold raw meat

Raw beef dishes like tartare with toast or carpaccio go well with less pronounced and more subtly flavoured sours.

Strong wheat beer with cheese

Serve a thicker, stronger wheat beer with dishes that have a sharp, clean flavor, such as sheep or goat's cheese. These beer types can elevate a humble slice of bread with fresh cheese and chives, or a light salad of radishes, asparagus, and spring onions to a gourmet meal.

Chef's tip

Do you like blue cheese? If so, pair it with a glass of strong, malty barley wine. Barley wine is considered one of the strongest beer styles, often referred to as “malt wine” or "barley wine”. This potent beer has been around since ancient Greece and pairs well with the tangy flavors and strong aromas of blue cheese.

Dense beer pair and spicy, warm, creamy dishes

Denser top-fermented beer with herbal and pine notes also resonates with creamy dishes such as savory or sweet porridge. “Our local winter is quite an aromatic beer with flavors of clove and coriander, so we paired it with a bold, warming malt mash,” Lukáš said. 

Chef's tip

If you still have room after your meal or want to wash it down with something, try a beer spirit (pivní pálenku). It’ll cleanse your taste buds, and you might be able to handle one more bite or sip!

Light lager with fish or vegetables

If you're a classic light lager drinker, you’ll want to try it with fish. At the Roosters, the Local Beer (12°) was served with carp marinated in rhubarb juice and sorrel.

You can also serve a light vegetable dish with low-grade lager. The Local Dry (10°) paired perfectly with roasted kohlrabi with chanterelles, sour cream, and roe. These Pilsner-style lagers can even be matched with fattier fish. 

What about a burger?

Before barbecue season, stock your fridge with sours and more substantial American-style ales. These are a perfect match for grilled meats and burgers. For sausages, pork salsiccia, and other grilled foods, bottom-fermented malt beers are a great match.

In the Czech Kitchen is a weekly column written in cooperation with the culinary experts from Ambiente. Established in 1995, the Prague-based collective of pubs, restaurants, and fine-dining outlets has transformed the Czech culinary landscape and led to widespread awareness of quality food service and production in Czechia. Follow their socials or book your table at

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