The Ultimate Smoked Seafood and Beer Pairing Guide

Posted on: January 18, 2023

Seafood is an excellent source of protein and other vital nutrients needed for your health and wellness. Some of these include iron, B and D vitamins, and omega-3s, which are known to help lower blood pressure, strengthen bone and brain development, and have many other benefits. This is one of the many reasons seafood has become increasingly popular.

The other reason is that seafood pairs well with nearly every type of beer. With various methods of preparing seafood, there are also countless options when picking the perfect beverage to pair it with. Here is an ultimate seafood and beef pairing guide that we’ve prepared to help you take your cooking experience to the next level.

Smoking seafood

Like any other meal, smoking seafood is not complicated. There are also different techniques to go about seafood smoking. From salmon and crab legs to tilapia, there are plenty of food-smoking recipes, each bringing out a more delicious taste.

We’ll look at some of the best seafood recipes.

Smoked fish


  • 4–5 pounds skin-on fillets (salmon, mackerel, trout, sea bass, tuna, or sailfish)
  • 1/2 cup salt or kosher salt
  • 1-quart water
  • 1/2 cup of white granulated sugar or light brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons paprika
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • ½ tablespoon cayenne
  • 3 tablespoons softened butter or margarine
  • ½ tablespoon dried thyme
  • fresh herbs for garnishing (classics are dill, parsley, sage, thyme, rosemary)
  • lemon wedges (for serving)

Other items that you will need (These are common tools that will apply to almost all seafood smoking recipes):


In a pot over low heat, combine the water, salt, and sugar until they are dissolved.

Allow cooling before putting your fish into the brine for about 6-10 hours (store your fish in the refrigerator during this process).

Once you’ve finished brining your fish, take it out of the fridge, rinse it, fry, and apply the seasoning.

Preheat your food smoker to a temperature of 200 °F (93 °C).

Smoke fish for about three hours.

What to serve with smoked seafood

Smoked seafood can be paired with several accompaniments, including potatoes, pasta salad, or even grilled vegetables. It can also be served with various drinks.

Smoked seafood and beer pairing

Just as important as preparing the perfect appetizers and side dishes, having the right beverage is crucial to bring out the full flavor of your seafood. How do you pick the best drink to accompany your smoked fish?

Here are some pointers to help you when pairing beer and smoked fish

Pairing beer with any kind of food is all about coaxing the most pleasure out of each, and to do so, there are several factors to consider. These include texture, fat, acidity, sweetness, flavor, and carbonation, to name a few.

In our case, as the majority of seafood has a delicate or medium texture and doesn’t contain a lot of fat, there are many options to choose from.

Top rules for pairing beer and fish

  • Dark beers like stouts and porters

These are best paired with dairy-based chowders, especially if you have them in cool weather.

  • Hoppy likes spicy

There’s no doubt hoppy beers are best paired with spicy food. If you like your smoked seafood spicy, then this is the ultimate combo. This is because the bitterness of the hops and even their flavor allow room to highlight the spiciness of the meat and kick it into overdrive.

  • Hot smoked fish pairs well with heavier malt beers

This perfectly complements the smokey flavor of salmon, providing a light and crisp contrast. On the other hand, cold-smoked salmon does better with something zippy.

  • Crab legs are best paired with lager or pilsner.

Smoked crab meat often tends to be sweet and rich, which calls for a light, crisp, slightly bitter beer to balance the flavor. This can be either lager, pilsner, or any other beer, depending on what you want.

  • Lobster with American IPA, Belgian tripel or wheat beer

One thing about smoked lobster is that you can pair it with almost everything. However, the three we mentioned above are some of the best as they tend to mostly lean on the bitter side, which easily cuts right through lobster.

  • Salmon is best paired with saison, amber ale, or IPA

Salmon is known for its rich fatty flavor, which pairs well with a host of beer styles. Since saison has a fruity flavor and is highly carbonated, it’s one of the best beers to pair with smoked salmon.

As we sum up

As we mentioned earlier, there are many factors to consider when pairing smoked food with any beer. Some Bradley tips and tricks to help you pick the perfect combo is that when in doubt, go alt. Altbiers are generally good with anything, and you can never go wrong choosing them.

Check out a few more articles on meat pairing with beer, wine, and cocktails:
The Ultimate BBQ Food and Beer Pairing Guide
BBQ and Wine Pairings for the Best Cookouts
5 Delicious Types Of Smoked Meat & Cocktail Pairing

For more great ideas on how to get the most out of your Bradley Smoker, check out the awesome articles on our Bradley Smoker Food Smoking Blog for more tips & tricks.