Beer & Food Pairing:
Bombay Rouge Red IPA + Pad Kee Mao
Today I stumbled across an amazing Beer & Food pairing that I had to share. The beer? Third Street Aleworks‘ Bombay Rouge Red IPA. The food? My favorite Thai dish, Pad Kee Mao or Drunken Noodles (appropriately named).
With Beer & Food Pairing there are no strict rules but my basic strategy is the following:
- Try to match the flavor level of intensity between the beer and the food so that one doesn’t overpower the other.
- Pick flavors that compliment each other.
So, for example, a Dry Irish Stout (like a Guinness) has a thick creamy mouthfeel, isn’t too sweet, low in alcohol, and has a noticeable roasted malt quality. I would pair this with something hearty and savory. Think meat and potatoes, shepherd’s pie, steak, something from the grill. Maybe something salty like oysters. Notice there are no sharp / bitter / spicy / bright flavors with my recommendation. Just roasty, creamy, salty, savory… Tell me that doesn’t get your mouth watering.
Here was my thinking when I decided to pair a Red IPA with Pad Kee Mao:
- Hoppy / Bitter beers tend to go well with Spicy foods. Bitter and Spicy are both strong flavors that tend to overpower more subtle flavors. Together they fight it out on your palate and create complexity.
- The caramel malts of the Red IPA balance out the bitter with sweetness just like the starchy noodles of the Pad Kee Mao balance out the spiciness. I wanted to see how all four of these very different flavors would interact.
- I ordered the chili sauce separately so I could add it myself. I personally love spicy foods, but I figured I didn’t want to overdo it this time since I was trying to match the flavor intensity with the beer.
With all that in mind, I will use the same format with our Beer & Food Pairing posts as our Beer Reviews, except with food notes along the way.
Beer (+Food) Review
The Beer: Bombay Rouge Red IPA. This hybrid style takes the hoppiness of an IPA and crosses it with the slightly sweeter, maltier flavors of a Red Ale.
The Brewery: Third Street Aleworks, located in Downtown Santa Rosa, is a great friend of North Bay Brewery Tours. They are known for their very well-balanced, British-inspired ales.
Source: BeerCraft in Rohnert Park
Serving Notes: 22oz bottle poured into a thin-walled .5L weizen-style glass
Appearance: A deep red / amber color. Two fingers of off-white head that settles after a couple minutes, leaving about 1/2 inch of head throughout throughout the drink.
Pad Kee Mao – Colorful noodle dish, red tomatoes, green Thai basil, tan noodles, brown beef strips.
Smell: Hints of sweet candy / caramel flavor from the malt mixed with a healthy dose of citrus from the hops
Pad Kee Mao – Sweet & Spicy. Also, what can only be described as greasy noodle smell (fat + carbs =yum!)
Taste: Bittersweet, in a good way. It doesn’t disappoint the hop-heads as there is a huge hop component but the bitter / citrus is met with a big sweet malt characteristic. It teeters on the edge of bitter and sweet and finishes with a slight warming sensation from the 7.6% ABV.
The Pad Kee Mao goes extremely well with the Red IPA. There are the greasy noodles, sweet/acid from tomatoes, spicy/sweet from the chili sauce, crunchy texture from the veggies, and savory umami from the beef. I washed that down with the bitter, citrus, hoppy, and sweet flavors from the Red IPA. There was also a surprising match up of Lime juice on the noodles with the Citrus notes from the hops.
Mouthfeel: Big mouthfeel for a red, but far from syrupy. It coats your tongue for 3-5 seconds and then dissipates quickly.
The Pad Kee Mao had many different textures. Chewy meat, soft noodles, and crunchy veggies.
Another pleasant surprise was that the burn from the spicy Thai chili sauce met the 7.6% alcohol burn. Fortunately I didn’t go overboard with the chili sauce (as I often have a tendency to do) so while intense, it didn’t overwhelm the senses. Though, probably not a good combination if you don’t like intense flavors.
If you couldn’t tell by now, I really like the Bombay Rouge Red IPA and I loved the combination with the Pad Kee Mao.
There are several big competing flavors with this pairing. Each bite challenges the balance and encourages you to go back for the next sip of beer (and visa versa).
If you don’t like intense flavors, this may not be be the best combination for you.
If you love hoppy beer and spicy food, then pick up a bottle of Bombay Rouge, order takeout Pad Kee Mao, and try this Food & Beer Pairing as soon as you can!
What awesome Beer & Food combinations have you discovered? Let us know in the comments!
For more information on Beer & Food Pairing:
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