Beers come in all flavors and colors. Photo credit: Worthy Brewing Beers
What do Ancient Egyptians, Benjamin Franklin, and Homer Simpson have in common? Probably not much, except an appreciation of beer.
Although the exact date is lost in history, beer is thought to have been invented in about 9500 BC. Beer enthusiasts celebrate their favorite beverage annually on September 28th. While many bars and pubs celebrate National Beer Day, you can have your own celebration at home by pairing flavorful beers with savory meals.
Beers often are categorized by the combination of ingredients and process, which contribute to the flavor and color of the beer. There are no concrete rules for pairing beer with food. Some foodies recommend matching the intensity of flavors – a dark beer with a spicy dish. Others recommend balancing delicate flavors with a heavier beer.
Here are a few suggestions for pairing beers with the Just Add Cooking recipes that may have been delivered to you earlier in the week:
Lager or Pilsner
Lagers and pilsners are lighter beers with a hoppy, sometimes bitter taste. They do not compete with the delicate flavors of pasta, but can balance out a spicier dish, such as a hearty chili.
Examples: Sierra Nevada Summerfest Lager, New Belgian Shift Lager, Oskar Blues Mama’s Little Yella Pils, Pilsner Urquell, Victory Prima Pils
Pair with: Pasta with Mushrooms, Red Bean Chili
Wheat beers go well with spicy dishes. Photo credit: Allagash Brewing Company
Wheat beers also are light, but often have a cloudy appearance and a fruity, yeasty flavor. Sometimes considered a “summer beer,” wheat beers have a unique flavor that pairs well with spicier, complex meals such as Mexican food.
Examples: Hoegaarden, Allagash White, Harpoon’s UFO Hefeweizen
Pair with: Tortilla Espanola
Stouts are dark beers, often tasting of coffee or chocolate. The rich flavor pairs well with grilled meats, and gamey or wild meats such as duck or venison.
Examples: Left Hand Milk Stout, Samuel Smith’s Oatmeal Stout, Young’s Double Chocolate Stout
Pair with: Flank Steak and Cheddar Grits, Duck Orange and Lentil Salad
Vermont beer, Heady-Topper, currently the top-ranked beer in America. Photo credit: The Alchemist
India Pale Ales (IPAs), vary between the lighter, traditional hoppy IPAs to the Double or Imperial IPAs, which often have a fruity flavor. The currently top-ranked American beer is an IPA, The Alchemist’s Heady Topper.
Examples: The Alchemist’s Heady Topper, New England Brewing Company’s Fuzzy Ducks IPA, Bell’s Brewery Two-Hearted Ale
Pair with: Oven Baked Fish with Fennel and Dill, Pork Stroganoff with Yellow Rice
So, go enjoy your Just Add Cooking meal kits this week with a nice cool glass (or can or bottle) of your favorite beer! Comment to us below or on our Facebook and Twitter pages and tell us your favorite food and beer pairings!