In honor of beer's biggest festival, we asked the owners of Savannah's Moon River Brewing Company to draft a party menu, with frothy companions to match. (Serves 8)

Crab Salad

Cucumber slices

Roasted Garlic and Sun-dried Tomato Cheese Spread (Ossabaw Dip)
Waldorf Salad

Cassoulet with Bacon, Andouille, and Country Ribs

Porter ice-cream float*

Witbier, golden ale, Savannah Fest, Porter
Credit: Squire Fox

* Place two scoops of vanilla ice cream in a glass and fill with Porter beer.

Beer, Meet Food
Connoisseurs say beer has a wider range of flavors than wine, as well as more nutrients. Like wine, it can harmonize with food, making both more enjoyable. Here are some tips for matchmaking success.

Rather than red wine, try ale, which has similar traits–fuller, more complex flavors, with hops standing in for tannins.

For white wine, substitute lager, which pairs well with poultry and fish. Lighter-bodied beers are generally a good choice for appetizers and lighter dishes.

Seek hoppyness: Hops give beer a variety of floral and other notes and impart a palate-pleasing edge that goes well with spicy or creamy dishes but can overwhelm more delicate ones. A hoppy ale plays well against the richness of salmon.

Complement flavors, matching sweet with sweet and tart with tart. A dry pale ale that pairs beautifully with a savory stew will clash with a dessert, but a sweeter, malty ale won't.

Contrast flavors. A dry stout is a classic match for chocolate cake. A full-bodied ale is a natural for a grilled steak, but a good lager can be a crisp foil for those smoky, juicy flavors.