King crabs are found in cold waters throughout the world but are most prominent in the icy waters of the Bering Sea. These crabs are prized for their succulent, sweet, almost creamy-tasting meat. Because the flavor of king crab is quite delicate, finding the right beer to pair with it may pose a problem. Consider how the crab will be prepared and served. You can steam the long spiny legs and eat the meat with drawn butter and lemon, while the flesh can be used in crab bisque and to create spicy crab cakes. Choose a beer that is on the lighter side; heavy ales and strong brews may overpower the mild flavor of king crab.
Light and Refreshing
Light American lagers are a good choice to serve with crab, as they feature a mild, bright taste without a lot of heavy flavor notes. Their flavor will not clash with the crab and pair well with crab prepared in any manner. For a deeper flavor, go with a Pilsner with a bit of hoppiness, which provides an extra kick that will round out the sweetness of the crab. Pilsner is also a good selection to serve with spicy crab cakes; the hops complement a variety of spices.
Wheat and White
Wheat beers or hefeweizen is a good pairing for most light seafood dishes. Choose a wheat beer that is heavy on citrus notes to pair with steamed crab served with lemon; a hefeweizen garnished with a slice of orange complements the spices in a crab cake. White or "wit" beers pair with most light seafood; their smooth flavor and creamy heads go with the sweetness of the crab prepared in any style.
Sweet and Fruity
Honey weiss, a German-style hefeweizen that features a crisp, clean taste with a hint of sweetness and a bit of a yeasty finish, goes with most king crab dishes as the taste of the honey mimics the sweetness of the crab. For an interesting taste variation, crab legs can be steamed in honey weiss beer instead of plain water; its sweetness brings out the flavors in the meat. Beers infused with blackberries, loganberries or raspberries also pair well with crab; garnish the beer with a lemon to further complement the crab’s flavor.
Summer and Pale
Summer ale, a bright, crisp beer with a mild hoppy taste, light citrus notes and a spiced finish, is usually issued during hot weather, which makes it a good choice for simply prepared crab served with butter and lemon. The citrus in the beer brightens the taste of the crab, while the spicy undertones balance its sweetness. Pale ale, another beer with a bit of spice, is a delicious pairing for crab soups or cakes since the brew highlights the spices in the dish while contrasting with the crab meat. Stay away from IPAs, India pale ales; these beers are too hoppy to work with the delicate taste of king crab.
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