The New Year is here and with that comes all the possibilities of what the future might bring, but unfortunately for some of us, the over-indulgence from the holidays stays with us as we enter 2018. Many of us swear off beer and head down the road of a monastic healthy diet to right our ship, exercise, lose a few pounds and get back on track. In some instances whole month programs are set in place such as “Dry January” or “Sober February.” The pendulum is swung abruptly in the other direction with these mental promises, but what if the tact went another direction where beer could still be part of your life, if paired with meals that are healthy and not as filling? Fear not! The 21st Amendment has your back with “less-body-impacting-food-and-beer-paring suggestions” from yours truly. (That’s a 2018 phrase for “dieting” with beer)
So put away those rice cakes and stop chomping on that lettuce! You have our permission to indulge in the good stuff. And big thanks to Food52 for all the great recipe ideas!
When pairing food and beer it’s about contrasting the food flavors with the beer, or complementing them…
Fruit salads are great options, but they don’t have to be just sliced apples and bananas. A Blood Orange Salad with Olives pairs great with our Blood Orange Brew Free! or Die IPA. The beer’s tart and citrus hop character blends seamlessly with a salad like this. Another tasty option is a Grape Salad with Toasted Garlic, Basil and Feta. It pairs great with one of my favorite beers, Firestone Walkers’ Pivo Pils. The crisp and sharp nature of the Pils cuts through the assertive flavors of the garlic, olive oil and dressing, but not too much to still keep it light.
If you’re a carnivore, it’s likely that over the past few months you’ve been to your friends’ homes and enjoyed their smoked meats or you’ve fired up your own grill. It’s been a meat heavy holiday, and you may be looking for leaner fare and getting some greens back in your diet. Chinese Beef and Broccoli Stir Fry is right up that alley when made with lean sirloin steak (trimmed of fat) and healthy broccoli. You could even substitute with asparagus if you were inclined. Pair this savory dish with our Down to Earth session IPA, its tropical hop and flavor notes and mere 4.8% ABV have all the malt body and flavor of an IPA but is not as filling. Another option is the American Ale from our friends at Brooklyn Brewery. It has a floral hop aroma and great malt structure that pairs well with lean meats.
Fish can be light, great to enjoy and easy to make. Ceviche is a fantastic example – it’s light and not bathed in heavy sauces but instead cooked in the acid present in citrus juices, such as lemon or lime. This Easy Ceviche Recipe pairs perfectly with 21A’s Mexican-style lager, El Sully because of the beer’s light bodied, spicy aroma and crisp flavors. This ceviche recipe can be served alone or made into tacos with the addition of avocado. Our East Bay friends at Trumer Brauerei in Berkeley make a really good German Pilsner that would also go great with this dish or other light seafood dishes.
Maybe you’ve sworn off meat all together and have gone straight to vegetables, but the thought is daunting and you’re not a fan of chomping on raw carrots and celery. Your answer my friend, is roasting vegetables. Oven roasting veggies adds a depth of flavor, and a little bit of olive oil, herbs and salt and pepper bring about a caramelization that’s just divine. This Roasted Vegetables with Rosemary is exactly what I’m talking about, and paired with the dark malt and hoppy character of 21A’s Back in Black IPA, you’ll be eating guilt free. My other go-to dark beer for this dish is Anchor Brewing’s Porter. It has a milder hop character, but assertive roasted malt presence that will go hand-in-hand with the vegetable and subtle herb flavors.
You’ve heard that kale, with its anti-oxidant properties, is good for you, and I’m sure it sounds enticing as you’ve toyed with the idea of “detoxing” from the holiday spiriting; but don’t settle on kale at face value! Flip that idea on its head and try this Sautéed Kale with Garlic Lemon recipe. The citrus flavor in this recipe will pair well with classic IPAs. Try 21A’s Brew Free! or Die IPA, or your favorite local IPA offering. You’ll thank me, I promise.