Since as long as I’ve known, a few times a day, you decide the meal that your appetite and taste buds desire and take the necessary means to make it happen. The next thought, instigated from an equally primitive part of the brain, is that you might get thirsty as you enjoy that meal. What beverage would go well with my meal? Let me present the idea that perhaps we’ve been backwards all along.
The liquid portion of our meals have forever been treated as an assessory. It’s become the pattern of the tie or the size of the hoop to complement the the jacket, the dress, the main event. Lately, on the rare occasion that I find myself out and about enjoying a meal at a restaurant, I search my palate for the ale or lager that will put me where I need to be. Then comes the grub that fits it.
If you have yet to attend a dinner that pairs different beers with courses of a meal, consider yourself behind the times. This is not just the pursuit of beer geeks seeking out an excuse, but rather an acknowledgement of the ability of this combination of ingredients to create a flavor that uniquely blends with certain culinary creations. While wine absolutely has its place in food pairings, grapes and yeast do not have the variety of knobs and levers (read: water, malt, wheat, barley, hops, spices, yeast, etc.) available to a brewer.
Upslope India Pale Ale is completely unique within the IPA category, with its complex malt character, traditional copper color, and well-balanced hops. I accidentally discovered the perfect food to be paired with our IPA. Hands-down it’s chili-rubbed steak. While we’ll take care of the IPA part, your job is to create the pairing:
2 12-ounce beef rib eye or new york strip steaks
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano, crushed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
Trim fat from steaks. Place steaks in a shallow dish. Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Spoon spice mixture over steaks and rub all that goodness in with your fingers. Cover and marinate in the fridge for 1 hour. Grill the steaks for 12 to 15 mins depending on your tastes, flipping halfway through. Cut steaks into serving size pieces and crack an Upslope IPA for each steak served.