During a virtual tasting hosted by Dundee Brewing Co., Rochester, N.Y., a small group of beer enthusiasts shared their thoughts on the brewery’s new varieties and used the online forum to swap recipe ideas.

Dundee’s Summer Wheat Beer was suggested as a good pairing with mussels or as a marinade for chicken. Grilled meat or sharp cheddar cheese were thought to be the best pairs for the Kölsch-Style Ale. While the light bodied, coffee scented Stout set off a series of musings of the ideal ice cream for a stout float between vanilla, chocolate and black raspberry.

The beer enthusiasts gathered for Dundee’s second virtual tasting are not alone. Food and beer pairings rank as the No. 5 alcohol trend in restaurants for 2010, according to the “What’s Hot” survey of professional chefs conducted by the National Restaurant Association, Washington, D.C.

At Chicago brewpub Goose Island, the menu features a call-out of entrees recommended not for particular beers, but beer styles. It’s up to the diner to make the pairing decision based on the descriptive beer list featuring limited-edition beers, such as the Hefe-Hawks Win, inspired by the Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks hockey team.

The top trend on the “What’s Hot” survey was locally produced beer and wine, which links in with the food-beer pairing trend as local companies support one another. Dundee partnered with Corfu, N.Y.-based cheese company, Yancey’s Fancy. The pair will feature Dundee’s beers paired with Yancey’s Fancy’s cheeses at this month’s Finger Lakes Wine Festival in Upstate New York, which seems apropos since pairings are better known for wine and food.