When we think of baked beans, we think of navy beans slow cooked in a rich Tomato Sauce. The flavour is somewhat earthy, but tangy and a perfect match would be a Zinfandel. Zinfandel are a little tangy themselves, and the tangyness of the food and the wine cancels each other out, allowing the rich flavours of the beans and wine to really shine. Primitivo, the Italian version of Zinfandel (same grape, different style), offers a more restrained pairing to baked beans.
The same ‘tangyness’ principle applies to a Cabernet Franc.
Now if the Baked Beans lean more towards a BBQ flavour than Tomato Sauce, Zinfandel is still your wine of choice. A Zinfandel is somewhat sweet, and can handle the strong, yet sweet flavours of a BBQ sauce exceptionally well. If the sauce is exceptionally sweet, aim for an off-dry white Zinfandel instead.
Finally, if the Baked Beans are done ‘Boston Baked Bean’ style, (which means they were slow cooked in Molasses) Our pick would be a bright but earthy Pinot Noir to bring out the best in both the Beans and the wine. If this style of beans happen to have Bacon mixed in as well, you will have a heavenly match!
Beer & Baked Beans
With Baked Beans, most beers work, however English Brown Ales, and American Brown Ales highlight the molasses flavour you find in slow cooked baked beans. A Dopplebock, which is essentially a strong and malty German Lager, will complements the richness of your baked beans quite nicely as well.