There are two ways to go when you want to pair beer with a spicy plate of jerk chicken or chili-spiked seafood. You can cool the burn or you can kick it even higher. Whichever way you go, we have a few suggestions.
To tame the heat, you want a beer that balances out the spicy flavors in the dish. Beers that emphasize malts over hops do this job nicely. Light lagers are great - there’s a reason why most Mexican beers are lagers, after all! Many amber ales also pair nicely with spicy foods. Just stay away from beers that are too sweet or very dark. they can start to overpower the flavors in the food.
• Try These Beers: Pilsner Urquell, Corona Extra, Fat Tire Amber Ale, Bell’s Amber Ale
On the other hand, if extra-spicy is what you crave, go for a pale ale or IPA. Bitter hop flavors accentuate rather than tempter the spice in foods. Highly carbonated beers do the same thing.
• Try These Beers: Stone Ruination IPA, Troegs Nugget Nectar Ale, Green Flash West Coast IPA, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, Dale’s Pale Ale (Oskar Blues)
Do you have a favorite beer that you drink with spicy foods?
Related: Why Spicy Foods Taste Hotter As You Eat
(Image: Flickr member hober licensed under Creative Commons)