Eat Gulf Seafood

Wine, Beer, and Fish
Pairing Guide

So you’ve cooked up the perfect Gulf Coast Seafood recipe: But now, what to drink? We’ve made it easy to pair the fresh flavors of seafood with the right wines and beers. Follow our seafood flowchart below to determine the best drink to go with your Gulf Coast Seafood dish.

A general rule to help pair alcohol and fish: match the texture and flavor of your fish with your drink. So if you’re preparing a hearty fish stew with a flavorful and oily fish, consider opting for a full-bodied red to go with it. On the other hand, a light white wine might be perfect for a pan-fried flaky fish. Similarly, robust beers (such as dark ales) typically pair well with firmer, more flavorful fish; beers like lagers and Hefeweizens generally suit milder fish.

Black drum has a firm texture but mild flavor. If you’re crumbing and frying it, we’d suggest pairing it with a hoppy IPA, pilsner, or tangy Chardonnay. If you’re sautéing your black drum, open up an oaky Chardonnay. If you’re making a black drum stew or sautéing it with a heavy sauce, lighten things up with a dry, fruity white like a Chardonnay or a New Zealand Sauvignon blanc.

Flounder is a lean, mild-tasting fish with a flaky texture. If it’s simply baked, we’d recommend washing it down with a light lager or sipping a dry white wine, like a Chablis or French Sauvignon blanc. If you’re making sautéed or pan-fried flounder with stronger flavors, you could go for a slightly bolder wine like a Chardonnay or Pinot gris; or even choose a beer like a lager or light amber ale.

Grouper is a mild, firm-textured fish. When eating grilled grouper, we like to open up a bottle of nice medium-bodied white wine with a hint of fruit; many types of Chardonnays fall into this category, as well as New Zealand Sauvignon blancs. If you’re sautéing or pan-frying grouper, try a rich white wine, like a Chenin blanc or Viognier.

Mackerel is a boldly flavored fish with a firm texture. This fish’s rich oils pair perfectly with a dry, crisp white wine, like a Viognier; it can even taste nice alongside a glass of rosé. If you’re eating smoked mackerel, you can go for a heartier drink, such as an amber ale, light IPA, or mild red or rosé wine. We like Primitivos and Zinfindels.

Mahi-Mahi is a moderately flavored fish that can be cooked a number of different ways — so almost any wine or beer could be paired with it, depending on what you’re in the mood for! Try serving a very dry white wine, like a Vinho Verde or French Sauvignon blanc, with sautéed or pan-fried mahi-mahi. For crumbed and fried mahi-mahi, go for a cold IPA or pilsner, or a full-bodied white wine like a tangy Chardonnay.

Mullet is a dark, flavorful fish that can hold up against red wines depending on how it’s cooked. Grilled mullet can be served with a light Pinot noir if cooked with strong flavors; a dry, fruity white like a French Sauvignon blanc would also pair well. Mullet is often incorporated into stews or served with a heavy sauce. For these types of dishes, go bold with a dark lager or a lush white wine. A light red wine, like a young Syrah, would also be a good option.

Snapper is a lean, flaky, mild fish that goes well with fruity white wines like Pinot grigios and Sauvignon blancs. Depending on how it’s cooked, you could pair snapper with a balanced ale, too. For broiled or blackened snapper, we like to drink a roasted pale ale alongside it — the pale ale’s nutty flavor complement the smokiness of the blackened fish.

Swordfish is a dark, flavorful fish that can pair with red wine, white wine, or beer, depending on how you cook it! Grilled swordfish tastes great with a glass of medium-bodied wine; like a Pinot noir for bolder dishes or a Sauvignon blanc for lighter meals. If you’re baking or broiling swordfish, try serving it with a hearty ale or bold red wine, like a Gamay.

Tuna is a hearty, flavorful fish with a fabulous oily texture. It’s often served seared, with Asian flavors — in this case, a hoppy IPA would complement the fish’s oil and spice, and a New Zealand Sauvignon blanc would balance out any saltiness from soy sauce. If you’re serving tuna seasoned with earthy herbs, try opening up a citrus-focused white wine, dry red (like a Chianti), or a Saison beer.