Please Share: You Favorite Beer and Whiskey Food Pairings

We’re excited to be Foodista.com’s “Featured Drink Blog of the Day.” We’re also a little bit intimidated.  What are we going to do with all the foodies who click the link and show up here?  Actually, they’re probably here right now, reading this!

Okay, let’s not panic.  To start, we should show them that beer is just as nuanced as wine when it comes to food pairings.  And that beer and whiskey make great ingredients for cooking.  And that there are styles of beers and types of whiskeys that perhaps they’ve never heard of.

So if you’re a regular reader of this site, please let us know how you use beer or whiskey to enhance the tastes of your favorite foods, or maybe share the fanciest beer or the rarest whiskey you’ve ever had. Feel free to paste links to recipes or additional info into the Comments.

And if you’re one of those foodies from Foodista, maybe you can chime in as well and share your favorite booze-related tidbits, or just to let us know that you get it – beer and whiskey are awesome!  Also, think about following us on Facebook so we can keep the conversation going.

Oh, and for you regulars – please don’t let the new folks know what Idiots Don and I truly are – we’d hate to ruin the surprise! :)

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Categories: Beer, Lifestyle, Official Business, Scotch Whisky, Whiskey

Author:Jim

Craft beer nerd, frequent beer blogger and occasional home brewer.

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44 Comments on “Please Share: You Favorite Beer and Whiskey Food Pairings”

  1. David
    December 2, 2010 at 2:01 am #

    Some of my favorite pairings:

    IPA’s and Saisons with spicy Thai dishes.
    A good quality pilsner or a wit with sushi.
    Pumpkin Ales with aged gouda.
    Barleywines with maytag blue cheese.
    Brats and a quality German/Vienna Lager
    Carne asada tacos with an ice cold Dos Equis

    • December 2, 2010 at 8:24 am #

      I just realized how hungry (and thirsty) this exercise is going to make me!

    • December 2, 2010 at 10:06 am #

      I tend to stay away from IPA’s whenever I am eating anything spicy. The abundant hop characteristics definitely do not pair well with spicy foods IMO. Way to much for my palate to handle.

      If I am eating anything spicy I want something lightly sweet and malty to soothe the already burning flavors in my mouth. I prefer to drink brews like the Sam Adam’s Boston Lager / Yeungling Lager with spicy foods.

      Light to medium bodied, sweet, and refreshing, able to handle the food and not further set your mouth ablaze.

      • December 2, 2010 at 10:45 am #

        I like Victory Prima Pils with spicy food. It’s light and bready, but still has enough flavor to add a new dimension into the mix.

  2. December 2, 2010 at 8:40 am #

    I typically don’t do a lot of pairings, besides pale ales and pizzas. I mostly drink beer by itself. But one of my favorite football snacks is Triscuits, aged New York Cheddar and a strong brown ale, like Long Trail Double Bag. I crave that like crazy every Sunday afternoon.

    The rarest beer I’ve had has been Sam Adams Utopias, which sells for over $100 a bottle but usually costs much more to get your hands on). My buddy Kevin from Liquor Outlet gave me a taste once, and Don and I got samples from the Sam Adams while at GABF. What a fantastic brew, more like a brandy, with no real carbonation, huge tastes of port and oak and vanilla and toffee. It was so good, it actually made me shiver in delight.

    Here’s a review I did last year: http://beerandwhiskeybros.com/2010/01/22/a-taste-of-utopias/

  3. December 2, 2010 at 8:56 am #

    For me right now its very simple. Steak Fajitas and a good IPA. Now that I’ve figured out how to make decent Fajitas @ home, I can afford to indulge more often!

    • December 2, 2010 at 10:46 am #

      I love Mexican food and usually wind up pairing it with another one of my loves, Dale’s Pale Ale. Not really on purpose, just that I seem to consume both frequently. A good match for sure.

  4. December 2, 2010 at 9:21 am #

    Everyone is mentioning savory dishes, but no sweets, and both beer and whiskey pair wonderfully with chocolate, in whatever form it takes, be it a dense chocolate cake soaked in a little bourbon, some reduced chocolate stout blended into your truffles, or even into homemade caramels with a little bit of crushed pretzels in it. The bitter/sweet combos really work.

    • December 2, 2010 at 10:45 am #

      I think I gained a pound just reading this Katie!

      • December 2, 2010 at 11:34 am #

        I’m glad someone brought this up. I was wondering “What on earth can I add to this?” because I’m like Jim, in that the only thing I pair my beer with is more beer.

        STL has a place called “The Chocolate Bar” that specializes in (you guessed it) chocolate, as well as cheese and higher-end alcoholic treats. Whenever there, I love pairing any of their various stouts or eisbocks with the dark chocolate selections.

        • December 2, 2010 at 11:36 am #

          I look at hardcore food pairing as something to look forward to getting into in the future. I’m still busy drinking new beers!

  5. December 2, 2010 at 10:11 am #

    My absolute favorite pairing is a double IPA with a grilled pork tenderloin. The thick sweet maltyness and pine like hop character of Dogfish Heads 90 minute IPA go perfect with pork chops or tenderloin slow cooked on a grill.

    • December 2, 2010 at 10:44 am #

      I did that this summer with an Avery Maharaja and a rosemary and garlic tenderloin and it was terrific!

  6. December 2, 2010 at 10:35 am #

    Last night we had a Grand Teton tasting with Chef Hembree from Life’s Kitchen, the final course was Grand Teton Black Cauldron with Chocolate toffee waffles served with a dark fruit compote and vanilla bourbon whipped cream — it was unbelievable! Also on the awesome side of things was the Oh Coaly Night Spiced Imperial Porter (it’s still tapped, Don) with Pumpkin Mole hot wings.

    • December 2, 2010 at 10:49 am #

      Sounds like they should have started with dessert, Chris. I must now find out how to make vanilla bourbon whipped cream. I imagine it’s awesome on just about everything, especially pumpkin pie and chocolate treats.

      • Don
        December 2, 2010 at 1:30 pm #

        I go to a restaurant here in Boise sometimes that has an apple bread pudding with a bourbon walnut sauce and a dollop of Bourbon vanilla Whipped Cream. That stuff is to die for! For all my Boise brethren that read this blog, the place is the 8th street Bistro. Used to be the Beanery, which most me and my friends still call it by.

      • Luke
        December 8, 2010 at 9:46 am #

        Jim,
        Just found this blog the other day and it’s great. I’ve made bourbon whipped cream to go with brownies and its simple, 1 pint of heavy whipping cream, 1 tbls. of bourbon, 1 tablespoon of sugar and you could either add a 1/2 tsp. of vanilla extract or split a vanilla bean and add the seeds. Whip it till it forms stiff peaks. Pair the brownies with the whipped cream with your favorite imperial stout.

        • December 8, 2010 at 10:01 am #

          This is happening! We’re having friends over on Saturday night, and I WILL be serving this just as you have outlined above, by god.

          I’m totally stoked to try this – I’m sure it’ll beat the crap out of the alcohol-laced whip cream they’ve started selling in stores.

          Can’t wait!!

        • Don
          December 8, 2010 at 10:04 am #

          That sounds good Luke. Now do we need all that cream? Im thinking we could do without the extract too. And the sugar goes straight to my midsection, so we could leave that out too. There you have it! Brownies and Bourbon, the perfect combination! ;)

    • Alex
      December 2, 2010 at 11:05 am #

      I’m intrigued by the pumpkin mole wings . . .

      • December 2, 2010 at 11:18 am #

        Me too. They sound very interesting – earthy, rich and spicy.

  7. Alex
    December 2, 2010 at 11:00 am #

    My favorite pairing to date would have to be Odell Woodcut No. 3 (a wood-aged imperial red) with homemade Vietnamese meatballs (pork, ginger, cilantro, water chestnuts) and potstickers (pork, red pepper, garlic, with a soy/Worcestershire dipping sauce). My girlfriend and I got the idea to pair No. 3 with Asian flavors from Odell’s website. The flavors worked very well together.

    Usually I will pair imperial stouts with either strong blue cheese or chocolate. Oak Aged Yeti from Great Divide with gorgonzola is pretty amazing. And Goose Island Bourbon County Stout with chocolate mousse will stop your heart.

    My favorite quick dessert is a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream in a glass of porter, like Stone’s Smoked Porter or Left Hand’s Fade to Black.

    The pairings above will make me fat. I need to find some different pairings involving session ales and lighter food. Any interesting suggestions?

    • December 2, 2010 at 11:20 am #

      Hummus and spicy pilners work pretty well together, especially when there are Kalamata olives, black beans and taboule salad involved. It’s another one of my go-to football snacks.

      I also like Mad Elf Ale (11% ABV) and Advil (200mg). That’s one of my more frequent pairings lately. :)

      • Alex
        December 2, 2010 at 11:52 am #

        I’ll be sure to try the hummus/olives/pilsner combo! An Aleve before bed after a heavy tasting session is one of my favorite pairings as well. :)

  8. Matt
    December 2, 2010 at 11:20 am #

    So far Windmer Hefeweizen with Sushi and Breckenridge Vanilla Porter with a scoop of chocolate ice cream are amazing.

    • December 2, 2010 at 11:23 am #

      I did a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream in a glass of Troeg’s Mad Elf (an ale brewed with cherries and honey) and it wasn’t great. The tartness of the beer bullied its way front and center. Think I need to try again with a Southern Tier Choklat. If that doesn’t work for me, nothing will!

      • Alex
        December 2, 2010 at 4:56 pm #

        I think ice cream is best in a malty porter or stout with a low ABV. I imagine putting it in, say, an imperial IPA or barrel-aged sour would be nasty.

        • December 2, 2010 at 5:11 pm #

          Leave it to me to learn the hard way.

        • December 2, 2010 at 5:18 pm #

          The aforementioned “Bailey’s Chocolate Bar” in St. Louis has a Cinnamon and Stout Beer Shake that’s surprisingly good. But I have no clue what goes into it besides cinnamon, ice cream, and stout beer.

        • December 2, 2010 at 5:29 pm #

          Sounds like unicorn tears are all that’s needed.

        • December 2, 2010 at 5:34 pm #

          I just about spit out my water there.

          Speaking of unicorn tears and beer, have you ever had the New Glarus Dancing Man Wheat? I know you said you’re not a Wheat guy, and I’m not a HUGE wheat fan, but that beer is probably my favorite product. It’s got definitely cinnamon and clove notes to it, but it’s also a higher ABV. I’ve always likened it to getting gored by a unicorn.

        • December 2, 2010 at 5:50 pm #

          I think I could drink a bottle of pee from New Glarus and be delighted by it, so a wheat shouldn’t be a problem.

        • Alex
          December 2, 2010 at 5:59 pm #

          Haha!

        • December 2, 2010 at 6:15 pm #

          I believe they save their bottled urine for the Unplugged series.

        • December 2, 2010 at 6:18 pm #

          You are correct. It’s actually Enigma filtered through Dan Carey.

        • Don
          December 2, 2010 at 6:28 pm #

          Actually, if they are diabetic I know a guy that will turn it into scotch! http://beerandwhiskeybros.com/2010/08/31/theres-gold-in-them-there-toilets/

  9. December 2, 2010 at 1:10 pm #

    Yo Jimbo!

    Congrats on the feature! Well done and well deserved! And now for the pairings…

    Single Malt or Bourbon and chocolate is a great pairing. At the last whisky event that I went to, I had The Balvenie Caribbean Cask with Creme Brulee and it was AWESOME! I’ve also heard that Single Malt and grilled steak goes well together.

    As far as beer, matching a regional cuisine with a regional beer is always a good way to go. Belgian beer with Belgian Style Mussels and Frites… Sushi with Japanese beer (Hitachino!)… Tacos al Pastor with a Bohemia… a German Hefeweisen with a plate of German sausuage, sauerkraut, and potato salad… etc..

    I’ve also seen some interesting baking recipes that involve beer. Here’s a Stone Double Bastard Brownie recipe: http://hopflower.wordpress.com/2010/09/03/a-real-bastard-of-a-brownie/ . And here’s a recipe for a Chocolate Stout cake: http://www.finecooking.com/recipes/chocolate-stout-cake.aspx

    Peace Yo!
    G-LO

    • December 2, 2010 at 1:17 pm #

      Yo, G-LO! Good stuff as always.

      I think I have to get out to more pairings – they always sound so awesome. It’s tough with two little kids, but if I wait a few years, they’ll be able to drive me home! ;)

      • December 2, 2010 at 2:07 pm #

        Agreed. Those little ones can put a dent in the social calendar. I’m in the same boat (2 little kids that is). So far, I only get my one Whisky Extravaganza per year. Working on changing that!

        Luckily, my blogging partners are also my friends and neighbors, so we always manage to have our own beer/whisky tastings on most weekends. The food pairings (aka midnight snacks) are usually quite “interesting”, since one of the guys has a well stocked pantry(he has 3 kids that are under 9 and that have monstrous appetites). Bunnahabin and Taco Flavor Doritos. Bear Republic Racer 5 and Hamburger Flavor Doritos. How about some Cheese Curls to go with that Macallan Fine Oak? Great booze! Crap food! Clearly, we need to work on the food portion of the equation. :)

        • December 2, 2010 at 2:10 pm #

          Now that’s more like it! I thought I was the only guy pairing my saisons with Cheetos!

        • Don
          December 2, 2010 at 2:11 pm #

          As his kids get older, I’m sure you will have things like Totino’s Pizza Rolls and Chicken patties! So…there is that to look forward to…

  10. Lythea
    December 8, 2010 at 5:04 pm #

    My all time favorite pairing actually created a friendship. Years ago, me and a co-worker who I had been on tense terms with since we met ended up at a lovely place called Brouwer’s one evening after work. We shared a bit of Laphroaig and a creme brulee made with (I believe) some sort chocolate stout. It was so magical and delicious that we were immediately friends, and have been ever since. The end.

    • Don
      December 8, 2010 at 5:11 pm #

      I love it when Beer and Whiskey can bring people together. Nice story! :)

    • December 8, 2010 at 5:11 pm #

      I love a happy ending, Lythea! The beginning sounded not so good and the middle delicious. Maybe we should order up a bunch for the UN and see what happens. Could beer and sweets lead to world peace? I think so.

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