Tuesday, May 19, 2009

My Favorite Beer For Spicy Food

Although I prefer wine with food in general, there are certain times that I turn to beer instead. One of those is with spicy food, especially Asian. I have tried many different beers with spicy food and the style I have found that consistently pairs well is Belgian Blond Ale. I often hear people recommending hoppy beers, like India Pale Ales, with spicy food. That's never worked for me. I find that strong hops flavors tend to dominate whatever you pair them with. In contrast the malty sweetness of Belgian ales in general is a great balance to the spicy and often salty flavors of various Asian cuisines.

Beyond that, I have narrowed it down to two in particular that I like the best. One is the Maredsous Blonde, an Abbey ale (meaning monks oversee the brewing process). Slightly darker than most blondes, it is an almost amber color. It has great complexity of flavor with notes of fruits, grains, bread and yeast, and floral aromas. Better in my opinion than the more popular Delirium Tremens ale.

The second is the blonde ale from Achel. Achel is an abbey ale brewed by one of the Trappist monasteries, an order of Benedictine monks. You may have heard of the more famous Chimay Trappist Ale, or possibly Westmalle. Achel tends to be harder to find as they don't brew as much. Their blonde is on the pricey side but really outstanding. You will be surprised by how strongly flavored this beer is for its light color. I had this last night with a noodle stir fry I made and it was delicious.

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