The Beer Boutique

As the weather becomes more British by the day, it’s always good to turn to a bit of spice to lift your spirits at the end of the day.  Maybe you've just walked in from a hard Saturday of tourist dodging on the high street and fancy a carry out korma from your local. Or maybe you’ve just had the urge to get cooking and broken out the chillies to keep away the chills. There’s nothing quite a like a heated kick in the taste buds to remind you that you are low on toilet paper.


But what to drink? Many swear by a bottle of fizzy lager to take the heat away. While this can be a good idea, you want to pick the right one or you may find yourself tasting nothing but water. We like a beer that can go blow for blow with all that spice and heat. So in keeping with this – here are five big and bold flavoured brews to match anything your local takeaway (or your spice cupboard) can throw at you.


The Kernel – Topaz India Pale Ale

This list wouldn't be right without a couple of IPAs on it. This single hop from The Kernel is a perfect partner for the piquant, the peppery and the poppadum’s. A nose of ripe pineapples and mangoes and a taste of sweet grapefruit leave a distinctly exotic impression on the nose and palate. The bitterness of the finish has a fantastically cooling effect so save this one for those fiery curries heavy on Indian spices. Vindaloo and Madras are both prime pairings for this wonderful expression of hops.


Flying Dog’s Snakedog IPA

Flying Dog have consistently proven themselves as great brewers over the years and Snakedog is surely one of their finest efforts. Mammoth waves of bitter hops are a great foil for spicy foods but try this with a slightly richer curry made with coconut milk and you’ll find it’s at its best. Best examples would be Thai Red or Penang Chicken but it’s up to you. Stay away from the Korma though as the Snakedog’s overbearing American attitude might spoil it for you.


La Chouffe

Not all spicy food has to make your eyes water to be a tasty dish. For the heat intolerant out there, here is a great beer to have alongside something slightly less threatening. A classic Belgian blond, La Chouffe wont overpower your taste buds like an IPA might.  A solid, malty bass line is punctuated delicately by sweet cinnamon, floral coriander and a resinous smack of orange peel. For the hop haters out there, this one might just be the ticket. Pair it with milder Indian dishes like Korma or Tikka Massala or Middle eastern cuisine like Joojeh kebabs or Tagines.


Dark Star Six Hop

Another beer with a deliciously malty base! This one has been loaded with hops both before and during fermentation. This extra “dry hopping” gives it an extraordinary floral burst that demands a similarly robust dish to go with it. Chilli Con Carne is a prime suspect – either wrapped up or with rice but don’t be afraid to try it with strong curries or Jerk Chicken either. The six hop can take pretty much anything on.


Delirium Tremens

Our final choice is another Belgian cracker. Delirium has a reputation for brewing very interesting beer and the Tremens is a great example. Using three types of yeast, the flavour is incredible mixing citrus fruits, complex malts and a yeasty aftertaste to astounding effect. As it’s slightly heavier, you might want to try this with sweet chilli prawns, salt and pepper ribs, or spicy BBQ chicken. Alternatively, it goes great with Jerk chicken also!


For more in the “top five beers with” series… stay posted to!


Written by Mark Kelly — September 30, 2013

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