The best cold beer to be drunk with warm stew
While browsing at my local beer establishment I came across a Brooklyn Brewery Winter Ale which says on the label that it is perfect for stews. I picked it up and will try it tomorrow. My question is - What is the best beer to accompany a meat and potato stew which has been simmering 18+ hours?
My current favorites are Pete's Wicked Ale, Heinekin and Saranac Pale Ale.
Virtually any belgian would do great - the big fruity profiles would mix nicely with the gelatinous meatiness.
Braising some pork shoulder right now. Pork and great northern beans maybe a little sauerkraut. I've got a Schwelmer Ale (german ale, hmhh) and a Burgerbrau Hell (lager). Should do the trick.
Presuming this is a beef stew, I think you need to go with something dark that has roasty elements to it. I like the idea of a porter or a stout.
I'm not sure whether that is for you, however, looking at your current favorites. All of those beers are more hoppy than malty and I don't think they would pair well with a stew.
I have an idea...how about a Dogfish Head Indian Brown Ale or an Avery Ellie's Brown? Both of those have the roasty tones that would pair well with the stew but would have the bitter elements that might suit your palate.
I'd look on porter as a more natural pairing for a dish like that. Dark ales, made from roasted malt, are a natural match for the caramelized flavors from the browned meat. Porter's earthy flavors are also well-matched with the earthiness of potatoes.
I agree with brentk about the hoppiness issue. Hoppy beers aren't really a good match with the sweeter flavors. Hops pair well with assertive flavors like those found in spicy Asian, Indian and Mexican dishes.
My suggestions would be Fuller's London Porter, or Samuel Smith's Taddy Porter. Belgian ales can work with a dish like that, provided you avoid the higher alcohol ones. St. Bernardus' Grottenbier would fit the bill nicely.