We’ve been hearing a lot of talk about whether it is possible to pair spicy foods with craft beer and we’re here to say that yes, yes you can. There are plenty of spicy dishes that pair very well with a variety of craft beers on the market. One of the great things about food pairing is that everyone is different. This means that while one person may not care for a Stout, another may prefer them. While one may not enjoy the mix of a spicy jambalaya and a smooth Porter, the next may think it’s the greatest thing since chocolate milk. The variety and diversity of the craft brewing industry is what drives all of us to try so many new ideas and pairing spicy foods with craft beer is just one in a long list of ideas.
If you think it will be hard to pair spicy food with your favorite craft beers, you’re simply not thinking outside of the box. Remember that everyone is different. While your friend may not have liked pairing their hot jambalaya with a smooth Porter, you might love it! That is if you like Porter. If not, try some other ideas, like a lovely Milk Stout. Just because one person didn’t like the combination, does not mean you won’t enjoy it.
Foods like those shown (chicken with green curry) are often pictured as difficult to pair with any beverage, let alone craft beer. However, we’ve found that by pairing this dish with a variety of different brews, we reached interesting results. When paired with a Russian Imperial Stout, the result was highly unexpected. Something about the hoppy stout really set off the spice in the curry and it was pretty awesome. We’ve also tried this with Founder’s Backwoods Bastard and the contrast of the two was outstanding.
Whether you like Stout, Pilsner, Pale ale or Brown, you are likely to have your own specific taste when it comes to how food and brew pair up. If you enjoy a bit of contrast, try pairing your spicy foods with creamy rich brews that will cut out the heat of the food. If you prefer to complement the food, we found some interesting brews for you to try, though we’ve yet to try pairing them with our own spicy foods.
For example, think about pairing Founder’s Brewing Mango Magnifico with your tacos. Although this is a fruity brew, it is infused with chiles and has a pretty nice kick to it. The two may complement each other in amazing ways. Another to consider is Dogfish Head’s Theobroma. This is part of their Ancient Ales series and it has a pretty great taste to it, with or without food. The blend is unexpectedly delicious and worth a try.
No matter what your preference, it’s always fun to get a bit creative and take a chance on a new idea. Pair spicy foods with some of your favorite craft beers and see how it turns out. Grab some friends to help you test each idea because even though you might not like one idea, some of them might love it. Better than wasting a great craft beer right? Or wasting food, which is nearly as bad considering the many folks out there that would probably frown over the waste.
Next time you’re in West Palm Beach, check out some of the great food trucks at our local breweries. That will give you even more opportunity to test your ideas. And don’t forget to stop in at West Palm Beach Brewery and Wine Vault after our opening in April! Food trucks, a wine rack that will make your mouth water, outdoor tasting areas, and great craft beer all in one place. What could be better?