Indian food is recognized for its flavorful spices, varied regional specialties, and rich flavors. Your eating experience can be substantially improved by selecting the ideal beverage to go with the strong and complex flavors of Indian cuisine. Beer can be a great choice because it can complement and balance the different flavors found in Indian cuisine. In this article, we will discuss some of the best beer options to combine with Indian food and give ideas to have the best culinary experience.
What Beers Are Better for Indian Food?
It’s important to consider many factors when choosing beers to combine with Indian cuisine. This includes considering the taste profiles, intensity of spiciness, and regional influences. Your choice of beer and food should harmonize with the overall taste experience. Given the factors to consider in making your choice, the following are some well-known beers that make excellent matches with Indian food:
1. Stone Brewing Co. Stone IPA
This beer brand is a classic example of an American-style IPA known for its hop-forward flavor profile. It has a strong hop presence, bitterness, and vibrant aromas.
The bitterness of an IPA goes well with the strong tastes and spices found in Indian cuisine because of its hop-forward flavor profile. Hops can balance the spiciness of the ingredients and cut through the thick sauces. The crisp and hoppy taste of this beer can be a great match for dishes like tandoori chicken, fiery vindaloos, or spicy biryanis.
2. Sierra Nevada Kellerweis
This beer is a traditional-style Bavarian Hefeweizen that originated in Germany. It is known for its unique combination of clove and banana flavors, along with a smooth mouthfeel and slightly hazy appearance.
Wheat beers and Hefeweizens are usually crisp, light, and refreshing, and that makes them a favorite choice to go with Indian food. Dishes that have tangy flavors, like raitas, chutneys, or lighter seafood curries, compliments well with the clove-like overtones of this kind of beer.
3. New Belgium Brewing-Fat Tire Amber Ale
This brand is one of the famous and widely enjoyed amber ales. It has a combination of toasty malt flavors and a touch of hop bitterness. The rich amber-to-reddish brown color of this beer makes it visually appealing to beer drinkers.
Thanks to the balanced maltiness and moderate bitterness of amber ale, it can easily be paired with a lot of Indian dishes. Its moderate hoppiness and smooth finish can harmonize with the taste of lentil-based curries or creamy vegetable kormas. At the same time, its caramel and toasted malt flavors can give a pleasant contrast to spicy food.
4. Allagash Brewing Co.- Allagash Tripel
A classic example of the Belgian Tripels, which has complex and rich flavors. The combination of malt sweetness, subtle spiciness, and fruity esters is the highlight of this kind of beer.
Belgian tripels are known for their high carbonation, subtle spices, and complex flavors. They usually have yeasty and fruity esters that go amazingly well with aromatic and strong flavors of Indian dishes like lamb rogan josh, butter chicken, or sumptuous biryanis.
Budweiser is a pale lager with a mild malt flavor and a slight hop bitterness. The taste of this beer is not overly complex, which makes it a popular choice for those who like straightforward and light-tasting beers.
Lagers like this brand are usually versatile and safe choices for matching with Indian food because of its crisp and clean taste. A wide choice from light Pilsners to fuller-bodied Munich-style lagers, these beers offer a cooling palate cleanser in between bites of spicy and strong flavors. They can complement well with a wide range of Indian foods, including vegetarian thalis, samosa, and kebabs.
What Beers to Avoid for Indian Food?
There are several types of beers that might not go well with Indian food because they can possibly contrast with the strong flavors and spices of Indian dishes. The following are the beer brands that you should avoid when eating Indian food:
1. Russian River Brewing Co., Pliny the Younger
This brand of beer is a limited-release Triple IPA which means it has a higher alcohol and tons of hops. It is even hailed as one of the hoppiest beers in the world. It has substantial bitterness that can be intense and lingers on the palate.
Hop is one of the primary ingredients used by brewers to add flavor, aroma, and bitterness to the beer. Beers with a high hop content tend to be more bitter than regular beers because of the bigger amount of hops used in brewing it. This taste can overpower the flavors of Indian cuisine and may level up the spiciness, making the dining experience too bitter or intense.
2. Samuel Adams (Boston Beer Co.) Utopias
This is a unique and limited-release beer that is known for its extreme strength, complexity, and distinctive flavor profile. It has a thick and viscous mouthfeel and coats the palate with its rich malt character.
This brand is categorized as barleywines, together with imperial stouts, which are examples of beer with high-alcohol content. These kinds of beers can be too overpowering when paired with Indian dishes and may overshadow the subtle flavors of Indian food.
3. Coors Light
Coors Light is designed to be an easy-drinking beer because of its light flavor profile. This has a light and watery feel and has a relatively low alcohol content.
This brand of beer falls under the light lagers and is a refreshing kind of beer with a clean and crisp profile. At the same time, Indian dishes are known for their complex and bold flavors. The strong flavors in Indian dishes because of the different herbs, spices, and aromatic ingredients used in it will overpower the taste of this kind of beer. It may even taste bland when paired with flavorful food.
4. Southern Tier Brewing Company’s “Choklat Oranj”
This brand is a dessert-inspired beer known for its combination of chocolate and orange flavor within a rich and decadent stout. It has the aroma and flavor of rich cocoa and the citrusy bitterness of the orange.
Pairing with sweet beers like dessert or some fruit-flavored beers may not go well with spicy Indian dishes. as the sweetness can clash with the heat of the food. The sweet flavor in the beer can intensify the heat from the spices and can become an overwhelming combination.
5. Cascade Blueberry and Kriek
These beers are produced by Cascade Brewing, a brewery that specializes in making a wide variety of sour and barrel-aged beers. These beers are sour-aged with fresh blueberries and cherries, creating a harmonious blend of sourness and fruitiness.
Sour beers have a tart and acidic taste, and because of this may not always go well with Indian cuisine. The sourness can clash with the delicate flavors of the food and prevent you from experiencing the intended flavor of the dishes.
FAQs About the Best Beers for Indian Food
Are there any Indian beers specifically brewed for Indian food?
Yes, there are Indian beers specifically made to go with the flavors of Indian food. A popular example is the Kingfisher. This beer is a pale lager, and it originated in India and has become well-known internationally. It has mild hops and moderate malt sweetness making it a perfect choice for pairing with a lot of Indian dishes.
Are there any non-alcoholic beer options that go well with Indian cuisine?
Yes, there are non-alcoholic beer choices that can complement Indian cuisine. You may consider choosing non-alcoholic beers with a malt-flavored profile because it can give a bit of sweetness and balance the spicy and flavorful Indian dishes. Opt for the light and refreshing ones, too since they can help cleanse your palate between bites and give a cooling effect as well.
Can I use beer as an ingredient in Indian cooking?
Yes, beer can be used as an ingredient in Indian cooking. Beers can add depth and unique flavors to certain dishes. It can be used as a base for marinades for meat or vegetables. The carbonation in the beer can help make the meat tender and add flavor at the same time. It can also be used in batters for frying food like bhajis, pakoras, or tempura-style dishes. Others also use beer to deglaze pans and make flavorful sauces for stews, gravies, and curries.
Rounding Up the Best Beers for Indian Food
You can have the best dining experience in eating Indian food when you are able to choose the correct beer that can enhance and bring out the complex taste in your Indian dish. The key is to strike a balance between the characteristics of the beer and the strength of the dish.
You may choose an IPA to highlight the spiciness or wheat beer to go with the tangy flavor of the food. Experimenting with the different kinds of beers and local Indian dishes may help you find your very own combination that will truly satisfy and enjoy your Indian culinary adventure.
I am a passionate beer connoisseur with a deep appreciation for the art and science of brewing. With years of experience tasting and evaluating various beers, I love to share my opinions and insights with others and I am always eager to engage in lively discussions about my favorite beverage.