The pairing of baseball and peanuts have been forever bonded by the Tin Pan Alley tune of “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” but how did they become such a staple of baseball stadiums throughout the world? The story goes – a peanut company was offered ad space on the scorecards of a baseball game but instead of paying with money, they paid in peanuts. These peanuts sold very well at the game because they provided something for idle hands to do between the action in the game. But what really cemented their status as quintessential in ballparks was that they were a perfect pairing for beer.


It’s not just baseball fans that enjoy pairing salty snacks with beer – it’s something that transcends borders and cultures. Pairing salty snacks and cold beer comes naturally so let’s explore some of these pairings from nations around the world together.


The popularity of beer has exploded in Asia. Once a continent that relied mostly on imports from Europe, many countries now have their own domestic beer industries producing local beers to suit the tastes of their country. 

One such country is India – a country that can claim to have the first European-style brewery in Asia. India still largely favors higher proof spirits like whiskey and other traditional beverages but beer’s popularity has been steadily growing since its introduction in the 18th century. Their cuisine is bold and vibrant with many spices and levels of piquance; that is why many of their most popular beers are equally bold and quite strong. When pairing with Indian snacks, make sure you’re pairing with stronger beers that can keep up with those flavors like an India Pale Ale (it’s right in the name!).


Chana Jor Garam is commonly found on the streets of every major Indian city by vendors. They are made by cooking chickpeas and flattening them into little discs then fried. They are seasoned to make them salty and flavorful. They are quite addicting and you’ll go through a bowl or bag pretty quickly if you’re not paying attention. Pair this with big tropical fruit forward beers like Goose Island’s Big Juicy Beer Hug, Founders Mortal Bloom, Alter Rally Point, or Go Brewing Sunshine State (NA).

In Korea, there is a phenomenon called Chi-Mek; a portmanteau of Chicken and mekju (Korean for beer). Fried chicken has become the most popular beer pairing in the country and even though Korean fried chicken has made its way to America, the pairing is not as well known here. 


Korean tastes in beer mostly favor beers with lower bitterness. Many Koreans enjoy their domestic pale lagers with fried chicken but they also splurge for Budweiser or Bud Light quite often. Those will both pair great with fried chicken but since it is often smothered in sweet & spicy sauces, great craft pairings for Korean fried chicken would be Goose Island 312 or IPA, Deschutes Fresh Squeezed, Spiteful Bleacher Bum, Hopewell Clean Livin’, or Haymarket Hay-Z IPA.

In China, beer’s popularity has grown even faster than in India, leading to a rise in local craft beers. Beer consumption with meals is very common in the country and their popular pale ale style beers pair well with almost everything. In my experience, it’s probably easier to put a list of foods you don’t have with beer in China. 


Most lunch and dinner foods can be had as a snack with beer in China, like dimsums, but if you’re mainly drinking and want something to nibble on, there are plenty of snacks to choose from. One such snack is shrimp flavored chips – Chinese drinkers often go for a puffed starch version called Ha Peen or prawn crackers. These often colorful chips have a salty seafood flavor (as you may have inferred from the name) and have a crispy crunch similar to chicharrones. They are light and delicate in their flavor so they pair well with lighter bodied beers like pilsners or lagers. Budweiser, Bud Light, or Michelob Ultra all go well with these foods but some craft options would be Hopewell Tankbeer, Spiteful Lager, or Haymarket Chicago Tavern Beer.

Speaking of chicharrones – not to be confused with Chicharrón, a dish popular in Portugal, Spain, Philippines, and Latin America – it has been a staple snack in Latin America for decades and is growing in popularity in the US. Most commonly made from pork skin, these deep fried puffed chips create a satisfying crunch while enjoying your favorite beer. Available in many flavors and levels of spiciness, these chips obviously pair well with cervezas and other Mexican-style beers. Some great beers that come to mind are Estrella Jalisco, Alter Alterado, Buckledown Cactus Pants, and Medella Light.

Due to their prolific presence in the beer world, Germany and their beer pairings are well known across the world. If you’ve been to any Oktoberfest celebration, you have probably seen or eaten popular pairings like sausages, pretzels, and pickled fish. Much like China, beer is commonly part of a meal and smaller portions of any of their dishes probably would be a snack you can have with beer in Germany. One commonly found snack item in bars, especially those without a kitchen, is landjäger – a semi dried sausage that can keep without refrigeration. Salty and meaty with notes of garlic and spice – it can be found in many artisan butcher shops in Chicago. If you haven’t had a chance to try them before and you enjoy jerky or meat sticks, this is a snack that you will probably enjoy – especially with a good German or German-style beer. Trumer Pils, Erdinger, Haymarket Speakerswagon, Hopewell Cold Call, or Best Day Brewing Kolsch (NA) are all great choices. When in season, Oktoberfest beers would also all be a great pairing.