Do you consider which beer to drink with an everyday dinner? If not, you could be missing out on the ULTIMATE palate pleaser! With the growth of the craft beer market and the farm to table movement, there are more options than ever to combine the intricate flavor profiles of craft brews with amazing menus featuring local produce and fresh herbs. Pairing beer with food is much like pairing wine and food. It is important to consider the flavor profiles of both the food and the beer–factors such as spice, fruit, and weight are important when thinking about the meal and the accompanying beverage. You brew of choice should compliment, not overpower, the meal.
I paired a bourbon glazed meatloaf with a Bourbon Barrel Aged Quad with cherries a few months ago. This was an amazing combination! See more about this pairing on my National Spicy Food Day post.
I always try to keep a good variety of beer in my beer collection, and I appreciate all beer styles. This makes it easy for me to consider a recipe, consider beer styles, and choose a perfect pairing.
Mongolian Chicken + Left Hand Brewing Good JuJu Ginger Spice Ale
I was in the mood for Chinese, so I pulled out a recipe from my GIGANTIC binder-o-recipes and selected a Mongolian Chicken recipe for dinner. I am a big fan of Mongolian beef, so I decided to give the chicken a whirl. The recipe was super easy, which is always a plus! It also gave me a chance to grab some ginger and green onions from the local farmers market. I was planning to use both of these to propagate my own ginger root plant and green onion supply at home. I will keep you posted on my ginger growing as it progresses. I chose Good Juju to pair with this dish because they both contain ginger. Ginger can be a powerful spice at times and overpower both a beer or a meal, but in this case, the amount of ginger in both was well-balanced.
The dish did turn out a little salty, so in the future, I will use low-sodium soy instead of regular sodium. If you like salt, use the regular soy, however be aware that it may overpower your dish. The Good Juju was a great balance, with a slight malt and fresh, subtle hops–definitely a great spring beer!
Left Hand Brewing also just released Great JuJu, which is…..you guessed it! An Imperial Ginger. This beer boasts an ABV of 7.2% and is equally well-balanced as its younger sibling, Good JuJu. Great JuJu is a little heavier in body, so take this into consideration when enjoying it with a meal. I paired this beer with Orange Balsamic Grilled Chicken Thighs and some spring veggies from the Jamestown Farmers Market. Using dark meat chicken was a great idea with this beer, as it was able to hold up to the slightly heavier body of this Imperial. The spice of the orange balsamic glaze (influenced by the addition of crushed red pepper) was a perfect compliment for the spicy ginger in the Great JuJu. Another great match!
Monday,May 11, I will be attending Geeks-n-Taps Epic Hookup event at Foothills Brewery. The event will feature 6 beer and chocolate pairings, along with several cool science experiments involving chocolate and beer. If you haven’t gotten your ticket yet, click HERE and use code YUM to get $7 off. This is an event you won’t want to miss!! I was fortunate enough to be invited to be a part of the inner circle of geeks and geniuses who created these pairings. I’m pretty proud of our pairings. You’ll never look at chocolate and beer the same!