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Beer, beer, beer!  It makes me want to cheer!

Apparently, the Pilgrims felt the same way.

According to Mayflower's log, the ship might not have landed at Plymouth Rock if there ahd been plenty of beer on hand. 

Party on Pilgrims!  We have beer to thank for the birth of the colonies and ultimately the birth of beer-drinking nation, right. 

The popularity of brew has hardly waned. At the 2008 Great American Beer Festival in Denver, CO, more than 1,900 different beers from 400 U.S. breweries were featured.  That's a whole lot of brew.

With so many varieties available,  Americans are pairing beers with more foods and desserts then ever before. Doug Miller of the Culinary Institute offers some handy guidelines for pairing beer and food - and it's a lot more sophisticated than a frank and a brew.

 "When pairing food and beer, the first thing you want to think about is what types of beer you like and what kinds of foods would taste good with them," says Miller. "There are some basic rules that apply when it comes to pairings. One is you don't want the beer to outshine the food or the food to outshine the beer. Ideally both should harmoniously elevate each other."

Ales and lagers are the two primary beer types and each comprises many different styles of beers.

Beers that are crisp and refreshing, such as pilsners, light ales, and wheat beers, pair well with pizza, pasta, grilled chicken, and grilled fish. A hoppier beer such as an Indian Pale Ale is delicious with spicy cuisines such as Cajun, Mexican, and Thai food.

Belgium farmhouse-style ales that are slightly fruity and light have become popular in the U.S. Whether produced here or imported, they complement duck, pork chops, roasted chicken, turkey, and sausage.

Serve full-bodied stouts that have burnt malt flavors at clambakes, with oysters, shell fish, and crab boil. Stouts can also be a great beverage for desserts. An oatmeal or chocolate stout can be very tasty with oatmeal cookies or chocolate ice cream.

Pair heavier dishes like BBQ or smoked meats with dark brown Porter's smoky roasted flavor. You can even add some to your favorite barbeque sauce.

Miller reminds us that these are only some suggestions and encourages you to experiment with your own pairings, as long as you responsibly enjoy what you drink.



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