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What Are Your Favorite Beers To Compliment Spicy Chili?

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hawkeyeui93 Feb 6, 2012 09:57 AM

I grew up and presently live in Iowa, but spent 13-plus years in Texas. Thus, I am a fan of making spicy chili slow cooked with chunks of beef, onions, tomatoes, poblano peppers, etc. Due to being in the midst of Winter, I served up two wheat beers and one amber. Started out with Breckenridge's Agave Wheat [Colorado]. The next beer course was Boulevard Wheat from Kansas City. After dinner, I finished off with a local offering from the Amana Colonies in Iowa called Schild Brau Amber. What are your favorite beers to compliment a spicy dish in the dead of Winter?

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  1. The Professor RE: hawkeyeui93 Feb 6, 2012 06:11 PM

    The Schild Brau sounds like a nice pairing.
    I could probably enjoy just about any beer with a good bowl of red, but _my_ favorite match might just be a dark German lager.

    1 Reply
    1. re: The Professor
      h
      hawkeyeui93 RE: The Professor Feb 8, 2012 04:15 PM

      Thanks for the suggestions ... I can see a dark German Beer working nicely.

    2. w
      wyogal RE: hawkeyeui93 Feb 6, 2012 06:12 PM

      cold.

      13 Replies
      1. re: wyogal
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        Whisper RE: wyogal Feb 6, 2012 08:34 PM

        Normally I don't have beer with spicy chili or salsa. The heat and spices tend to throw the taste of the beer way off, if not obliterate it completely. That said, if I do have beer with such foods, it's not worth it to me to "waste" a really good beer this way so I just grab a sixer of something cheap but respectable like Sierra Nevada's Torpedo.

        A beer like that has at least a fighting chance of somewhat holding up to hot foods such as these. But normally I'd reach for some sort of soda (and I rarely drink soda), or if it's REALLY hot and spicy food then I'll just drink milk.

        1. re: Whisper
          h
          hawkeyeui93 RE: Whisper Feb 6, 2012 09:11 PM

          I do otherwise like Sierra Nevada's offerings. For me, I find that an IPA overwhelms a spicy meal, which is the main focus .... I guess that is why I tried to go with something that would compliment spices [cumin, corriander, etc.] like a wheat beer or a dark lager that doesn't take over the main course.

          1. re: hawkeyeui93
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            LStaff RE: hawkeyeui93 Feb 9, 2012 09:26 AM

            Torpedo is barely an IPA to me. :-o It drinks more like a hopped up amber since it has plenty of residual sweetness and thickish mouthfeel to balance the hops. I can see it working with a spicy chili.

            When it comes to spicy or acidic foods for me, many beers are ruined since it conflicts with the yeast profile and alcohol in the beer and wich makes the beer seem hot a and spicy itself. Clean yeast profile beers like German lagers with a good malt backbone and most SN beers (chico yeast is usually pretty clean) seem to work best imo.

            1. re: LStaff
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              hawkeyeui93 RE: LStaff Feb 9, 2012 10:10 AM

              LStaff: I usually like my IPA's separate and apart from eating. With that being said, that is why I am asking the question and will give SN Torpedo a try next time I have chili. I tend to agree that both German Lagers and for me, unfiltered wheat beers, tend to work for my palate. Thanks for your input.

              1. re: hawkeyeui93
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                niquejim RE: hawkeyeui93 Feb 10, 2012 08:52 AM

                Most beer pairing charts note that hoppy beers enhance the spiciness of a dish, somethig that I totally agree with

                1. re: niquejim
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                  hawkeyeui93 RE: niquejim Feb 10, 2012 09:34 AM

                  I find drinking hoppy beers lessen my desire to eat simultaneously ....

                  1. re: hawkeyeui93
                    The Professor RE: hawkeyeui93 Feb 10, 2012 10:27 AM

                    I find that to be true as well.

                    1. re: hawkeyeui93
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                      niquejim RE: hawkeyeui93 Feb 10, 2012 02:53 PM

                      You must not love hoppy beers. I've enjoyed an IPA with creme brulee, and liked it.

                      1. re: niquejim
                        h
                        hawkeyeui93 RE: niquejim Feb 10, 2012 02:56 PM

                        Could you taste the creme brulee?

                2. re: LStaff
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                  chuckl RE: LStaff Feb 9, 2012 02:28 PM

                  Taste is subjective and I agree that Torpedo has a nice malt backbone, but at 65 ibu's it's certainly an IPA, and then some

              2. re: Whisper
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                wyogal RE: Whisper Feb 7, 2012 06:22 AM

                not sure what that has to do with my reply.... I think you are replying to the OP.

                1. re: wyogal
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                  hawkeyeui93 RE: wyogal Feb 7, 2012 10:08 AM

                  I have always found posting on CH confusing at times. Sometimes you think you are directly replying to a post and it will put it far afield from where you intended ...

                  1. re: hawkeyeui93
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                    wyogal RE: hawkeyeui93 Feb 7, 2012 10:10 AM

                    yep, I've done it, too... :) I have to double check, make sure I'm hitting the "reply to original post"

            2. c
              chuckl RE: hawkeyeui93 Feb 6, 2012 10:46 PM

              For me, bitter hops and spicy food just doesn't work. I'd go with a Belgian style dubbel or a German schwarzbier or dopplebock. A maibock might work too.

              1 Reply
              1. re: chuckl
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                hawkeyeui93 RE: chuckl Feb 8, 2012 04:13 PM

                I will have to try a maibock next time .... Thanks for the suggestions!

              2. b
                BelgianBeerMistress RE: hawkeyeui93 Feb 8, 2012 03:46 PM

                For spicy, I always go the crisp route - either a German lager or something like a Kolsch. Spaten Lager is probably my favorite to pair with spicy. Although Grolsch is a bit more biting, so that would probably work better with something heartier. I think anything that is pricey or complex is a total waste, you just won't taste it. Wheat beer is a good one too.

                1 Reply
                1. re: BelgianBeerMistress
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                  hawkeyeui93 RE: BelgianBeerMistress Feb 8, 2012 04:12 PM

                  I like your suggestions .... Thanks!

                2. Chinon00 RE: hawkeyeui93 Feb 8, 2012 04:47 PM

                  Vienna lager, dunkel or other malt-sweet low hopped beers. Sugar will counter the heat while low hoppiness won't overpower the dish.

                  1. s
                    Solstice444 RE: hawkeyeui93 Feb 8, 2012 08:20 PM

                    I agree with a Kolsch, that sounds like it would go quite nicely although I haven't actually tried it. Usually when I eat something spicy I tend to go for simple or non-flavorful beers (yes, like Bud Light) because I just want something to wash it down with. If I'm eating something spicy I want to enjoy that flavor profile and don't care as much about what I'm drinking. But I think a Kolsch will pair nicely, I will have to try that at some point.

                    10 Replies
                    1. re: Solstice444
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                      hawkeyeui93 RE: Solstice444 Feb 10, 2012 02:16 PM

                      I tend to agree that the macrobrews do work with spicy foods better than most beerhounds would care to admit. In this line of reasoning, I think Yuengling's normal lager would be a good match. I, too, may try a Kolsch next time.

                      1. re: hawkeyeui93
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                        niquejim RE: hawkeyeui93 Feb 10, 2012 02:55 PM

                        I guess I like flavor. Kolsch, yes but macro brew would come after milk, water or lemonade

                        1. re: niquejim
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                          hawkeyeui93 RE: niquejim Feb 10, 2012 03:04 PM

                          How about a 2:1:1 Margarita? [2 parts 100 percent agave tequila, 1 part Cointreau, 1 part freshly squeezed lime on the rocks].

                          1. re: niquejim
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                            Whisper RE: niquejim Feb 10, 2012 06:33 PM

                            This is pretty much how I feel. In theory beer sounds like it would make a great companion to spicy chili or salsa, yet in practice I've never found that to be the case. Sure, if you really don't care about the taste (of either the beer or the spicy food) then by all means wash it down with some cheap cold suds. But honestly when eating spicy foods I'd prefer milk, water or even a soda over a beer.

                            Also, I'm really surprised that a number of people here have posted that a Wheat beer would make a good pairing for spicy foods. If they have had success with this, then great, more power to them. My results have been much different. One time I was eating some chips and salsa (pretty mild salsa by the way), and drank a Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier along with it, and it was a complete waste of the beer. The salsa threw the flavor of the beer off so much that I might as well have been drinking Lysol. Not sure how the others here managed to make wheat beer work with spicy foods, but if you've got some kind of secret I'd be interested in it, lol.

                            1. re: Whisper
                              h
                              hawkeyeui93 RE: Whisper Feb 10, 2012 07:00 PM

                              I don't have a secret other than I was drinking two domestic wheat beers ... One is a straight-forward unfiltered from a Kansas City brewery [Boulevard] and the other was from a Denver, CO brewery [Breckenridge] dubbed "Agave Wheat,." which I added a slice of lime to it. My wife loves to do the chunk of orange with the Boulevard Wheat, so maybe the citrus helped. I find some people like Belgians because of the added spices used such as corriander [Hoegaarden], which is one of the many things I use to spice chili.

                              1. re: Whisper
                                Chinon00 RE: Whisper Feb 10, 2012 07:00 PM

                                What does milk or soda (which is really sweet) bring to a spicy chili or salsa?

                                1. re: Chinon00
                                  h
                                  hawkeyeui93 RE: Chinon00 Feb 10, 2012 07:05 PM

                                  I know some people use milk when their mouth is on fire ...

                                  1. re: Chinon00
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                                    Whisper RE: Chinon00 Feb 10, 2012 07:07 PM

                                    I don't think milk or soda really bring anything to compliment spicy chili or salsa, but I feel as though they don't interfere with the taste of those foods they way beer does. Either the beer tends to throw off the taste of the food, or vice versa. I've never had that happen with milk, water or some sodas I've had alongside spicy foods.

                                    1. re: Whisper
                                      Chinon00 RE: Whisper Feb 11, 2012 06:16 AM

                                      Well beer is very broad and diverse. Firstly we are all aware of beers whose flavor approaches that of water (e.g. Michelob Ultra, Bud light, MGD). I wouldn't advocate any of these beers but nonetheless I can't see them "throwing off the taste of food" any more than water does. And in my experience across the board when it comes to complimenting spicy foods beers with rich malt backbone like Chimay Grand Reserve can really soothe the palate much like milk does and fully register over the meal.
                                      So it depends on what you want to do. If you merely want something light and cool that makes no impact on the palate there are beers available for that. If you want something to compliment and counter the heat then bigger richer beers are the ticket. Just be fearful of hops which can interfere and/or make a profound impact on a meal.

                                    2. re: Chinon00
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                                      Solstice444 RE: Chinon00 Feb 11, 2012 05:43 AM

                                      Nothing. I don't really understand drinking milk with lunch or dinner foods, it's something I wouldn't do, but I know many people do. I feel like milk would throw off the taste of chili more than a light beer but that's just me.

                            2. g
                              gbque RE: hawkeyeui93 Feb 10, 2012 06:42 PM

                              Singha! It matches with my favorite spicy Thai dishes and also with chili

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: gbque
                                h
                                hawkeyeui93 RE: gbque Feb 10, 2012 06:51 PM

                                That is one that should work, indeed!

                              2. c
                                chuckl RE: hawkeyeui93 Feb 11, 2012 07:40 PM

                                I'm surprised no one has mentioned stout. I've had good results pairing nice oatmeal stouts like Velvet Merlin and Rogues Shakespeare stout with chili.

                                1. d
                                  dashmatrix RE: hawkeyeui93 Feb 13, 2012 05:17 AM

                                  So the majority seem to think IPA's overpower the meal. In my opinion a mellow IPA could go real good with a spicy meal. Being a Texan myself... I eat spicy chili on occasion. I find that IPA's can really go well with certain meals. German brews are usually light on the hop. They primarily use the hops in the initial wort boil for bittering. There are no hops added for flavor, or aroma stages. it makes them stand on the character of the grains for flavor.
                                  Me I think the unique flavor of "hopped up" beer goes well with chili in particular. IPAs are my vote.

                                  5 Replies
                                  1. re: dashmatrix
                                    Chinon00 RE: dashmatrix Feb 13, 2012 06:28 AM

                                    What are some "mellow" IPAs that you like?

                                    1. re: Chinon00
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                                      dashmatrix RE: Chinon00 Feb 13, 2012 05:28 PM

                                      Welp, as I may or may not have mentioned... I am a brewer, so I brew all my own beers. I presently have 9 different brews on tap. But as a rule, I'm considering anything that's single grain, single hop as a mellow IPA. If you're in Texas, try Fireman's #4 from Real ale brewing. If your elsewhere try some of the authentic IPA's from Inda, Taj for example. Simple, yet effective.

                                      1. re: dashmatrix
                                        Chinon00 RE: dashmatrix Feb 13, 2012 06:13 PM

                                        Authentic IPAs are from India?

                                        1. re: dashmatrix
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                                          chuckl RE: dashmatrix Feb 13, 2012 06:24 PM

                                          My understanding is that India was the destination of India Pale Ale from England, not the other way around. An "authentic IPA from India" would seem to face at least a couple of significant hurdles, including sourcing local malt and local hops. Also, I believe Taj is brewed in La Jolla, Calif., at Rock Bottom. There is a beer called Taj Mahal from Bangalore that I have not personally had, but which does not seem to be rated very highly.

                                          1. re: chuckl
                                            The Professor RE: chuckl Feb 14, 2012 09:19 PM

                                            Right....India Pale Ale _definitely_ didn't originate in India. In fact, research indicates that the original IPAs were not even stronger than the standard British pale ales of the day. Actually, probably more _porter_ was exported than anything else. LOL.

                                            Lots of what has been handed down and repeated over the years regarding IPA is evidently just plain myth. Do a search for blogs entitled "Shut Up ABout Barclay Perkins" and "The Zythophile" and search the archives within those blogs for some very revealing articles about IPA.
                                            Required reading for anyone serious about the history of British beer.

                                    2. y
                                      yossarian22 RE: hawkeyeui93 Feb 15, 2012 08:48 PM

                                      I put Bock in my Chili and I drink it with my chili. Incidentally, good homemade chili is probably one of my very favorite things to drink beer with. I don't know what it is about it... good bock and mildly spicy chili are just so great together.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: yossarian22
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                                        hawkeyeui93 RE: yossarian22 Feb 16, 2012 10:34 PM

                                        Shiner Bock and chili reminds me of my 13 years living in West Texas ...

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