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Feb 6, 2012 09:57 AM

What Are Your Favorite Beers To Compliment Spicy Chili?

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 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

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

      1. re: wyogal

        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

          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

            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

              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

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

                1. re: niquejim

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

                    1. re: hawkeyeui93

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

                2. re: LStaff

                  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

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

                1. re: wyogal

                  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

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

            2. 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

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

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