How you end up pairing IPA with food really depends on each individual brew you choose to pair. While some IPAs have a flavor and mouthfeel that suits super creamy meals, others may be overpowering, such as the hop monsters that are being released onto the market with regularity lately. If you are feeling a bit overwhelmed, don’t. The staff at your local taproom is the best resource you could possibly have for figuring out the best foods for pairing IPA with, as they will likely have done so themselves already.
As we mentioned, the specific brew is going to have a more defined set of meals that it is best with. For example, an IPA that sits in the more sessionable range from 4.2-5% ABV, although somewhat rare, is going to be far too light for most heavy meals. Heavy meals, or protein rich meals, need a brew that can cut the fat so to speak. Double IPAs are great for this and are often suggested for meals such as mutton, lamb, stews, and more.
However, if you have a lighter IPA and really want to, you can try pairing it with a wide variety of dishes that don’t require a more bitter brew to contrast. For example, we have paired some of the milder IPAs with meals such as braised pork, well-seasoned steaks (as pictured), and even blackened chicken with great success. Your own personal taste may vary from ours, but the results of these pairings were quite enjoyable and we’re sure you’ll agree after you’ve had a chance to give them a shot.
Seafood is another great option for pairing IPA brews. For example, salmon steaks are often great paired up with a delicious IPA like Voodoo Ranger IPA from New Belgium Brewing. This pairing turned out extremely well for us, and we’re sure you’ll love it, too. Another great option for pairing food with your IPA is Buffalo Seasoned Tilapia. The heat of the spices used to season the tilapia really pops when paired with an IPA like Trail Hopper IPA from Long Trail Brewing Company in Vermont.
You may think that a milder IPA like Trail Hopper wouldn’t be able to stand up to the flavor overload of spicy and seasoned dishes, but you’d be wrong. That 4.75% ABV is a great addition to any meal and the somewhat bread-like brew seems to match up well with a really great range of meats and vegetables equally well.
We cannot stress the fact that we love hearing from our readers enough. Here at West Palm Beach Brewery and Wine Vault we really enjoy reading your comments and stories. We’ve been working our backsides off trying to prepare for our own opening later this year in the Warehouse District of West Palm Beach on Evernia Street and we’re excited to see all of you there. In the meantime, tell us about the great meals you’ve come across while pairing IPA with different dishes. Perhaps your comment will be added to our next feature post. Until then, happy pairing!