Hello! I know this a little late (a year and a month late to be exact), but I wrote it, so I want to post it. Plus it’s interesting and cool and I don’t do a lot of blog collaboration – I want to do more of that. A while ago, Nelli and Brian started a blog called Wine From Water. It’s awesome with all sorts of good recipes, commentary, and food porn photos, etc. Nelli asked me to write a little piece about pairing beer with a meal they made, so here we go!
I am so pleased to be blogging with Wine From Water; I’ve known Nelli and Brian for a long time, and well, let me just say that Nelli (and assumedly Brian) is a great cook and very adventurous when it comes to the palate. I’m just glad I have something to contribute to the mix (literally). Trust me, I know a lot about mac and cheese, because it’s pretty much the only meal I make (different variations thereof, including Annie’s, spruced up), and I know even more about beer. Here I’ve laid out different beer options for pairing beer with the two dishes Nelli and Brian have made, and a little bit about pairing beer with food to get your mind working. So next time you go to the liquor store after a grocery store run you can think about the flavors and come up with a pairing on par with the fanciest wine-only restaurant. Beer is for everyone, so I don’t want to hear that you don’t like beer. If you don’t like beer, you haven’t found the right one, so keep trying!
Food & Beer Pairing with Wine From Water’s Spicy Shells and Gouda Cheese recipe:
You pay a small amount for a meal, you don’t want to bust your budget on beer, but you still want it to taste good and compliment the deliciousness you labored over. With a meal like this, which is generally spicy, I would recommend an IPA. IPAs can help balance the flavors of robust meals like this one, because of their high levels of hops, and are good balancers for spicy and chili flavors (like the ones found in pepperjack cheese). Spiciness also part of their history. IPA stands for India Pale Ale, if you didn’t know the lore, now you do: when the British went to explore India they brought beer (good idea guys) and then they were worried it was going to go bad (unlikely) so they put some hops in the finished beer (called dry-hopping, hehe), which makes the finish (the lasting taste in your mouth once you’ve swallowed it) incredibly bitter and delicious.
If you’re from Michigan, a good standby is Bell’s Two Hearted, and it won’t break the bank, really (I would say on average, about $10 for a 6 pack, which is pretty standard for a nice craft beer). But if you’re from Minnesota, or can get your grubby little hands on it, have yourself a Surly Furious (more IBUs – international bittering units – than your mouth can taste). It’s about $12 for a 4 pack of tallboys. Or even better, and cheaper, you could get Rush River Bubblejack ($9 for a 6 pack).
If you’re not into IPAs, that’s fine, but you’re missing out. Instead, you could pair this dish with a beer that accents the smokey flavors in the paprika topping, and can help tone down the spicy notes in the food: a porter. A cheaper more widely found porter is the Anchor Porter from Anchor Brewing, one of the oldest breweries in the United States. A good Michigan option: Founder’s Porter. Deep, dark, and delicious. That’ll run about $10, but the Anchor can be as cheap as $8.