F or centuries, if you asked a restaurant server in any mid-range to upscale American eatery what drink to pair with a certain dish, he'd bring over the sommelier and a wine bottle negotiation would ensue. But in the last five years, there's been a paradigm shift: Beer has made it onto the menu as more than an afterthought. Beverage directors, chefs, and even wine lovers have learned that beer has an amazing capacity to pair with all kinds of foods. As a result, beer sommeliers have popped up in cities across the country, especially Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, and Portland, Oregon. Beer-and-food tasting events have multiplied exponentially—the monthly lists at beerfestivals.org are enormous.