You’ve just ordered some bites on a foodie adventure at the Rodeo 39 Public Market, and you’re craving a beer to go with it. You approach the beer spot, Bearded Tang Brewing, look at the huge list, and out of confusion simply say, “I’ll just have the lightest thing.” We’ve all been there! With the wide array of beer styles available, there’s almost certainly a better pairing than the lightest thing, and experimenting with a few can be a lot of fun. Here are some easy tips.
Tip one: Match Intensity
A tap list is usually carved into four basic sections: lagers, hoppy (IPAs), fruity, and dark-roasty. Instead of reading the fun beer names, check the style and ABV (alcohol by volume) first. An easy pairing tip is to match the intensity of your dish. More intense flavors balance with an intense beer, such as Shootz Hawaiian Spam Brulee Musubi with Bearded Tang’s Tanq’d IPA. West Coast IPA has enough bitterness to stand up to the flavors, and it acts as a catalyst, setting off a flavor explosion!
Tip Two: Look for Traditions
Some pairings aren’t about experimenting as they’ve been around for hundreds of years, and none is better than sausage and beer. The twist here is that Kra Z Kai’s BBQ isn’t your typical German bratwurst; the Laos Sausage is packed with Laos-of-love, bursting with yummy fragrant lemongrass that beckons a fruity beer to back it up. On the tap list, look for “fruited” and try a few tasters to dial in the combo, or try Tangy, Bearded Tang’s fruited sour.
Tip Three: Experiment, and Ask the Beertender
The first time I had a Banh Xeo from the Banh Xeo Boys, I was stumped trying to come up with a beer that worked with a fickle ingredient: pickled daikon. So I grabbed a few beer tasters to see what worked best. West Coast IPA hops clashed hard with the funky flavor, fruit beers were even worse. What ended up being magical was a New England-style Hazy IPA. Hazies have very low bitterness and enough sweetness to enhance the bright and crispy dish. Try Bearded Tang’s Liquid Rx.
Bonus: Don’t Forget Dessert!
Yes, beer even pairs with dessert, especially dark beers that can bring coffee and chocolate flavors to the table. Try Dot & Dough’s handcrafted chocolate puffs with Bearded Tang’s Vlad the Barista, an imperial double coffee stout that is worth the drive to Stanton!