A Malty Brew Should Be Your Go-To When Pairing Beer With Spicy Food, According To An Expert

A malty beer alongside spicy foods
A malty beer alongside spicy foods - Static Media / Shutterstock / Getty

Have you ever equated spicy food to a band?  In an enlightening conversation with Lindsay Jo Whirley, a certified cicerone and the assistant director of culinary operations at Newfields, we learned how spicy food can be analogous to a concert's headliner, like the Killers at this year's Lollapalooza. This band needs a manager to shine; that manager is a good beer. But not just any beer as a malty brew should be your go-to when pairing beer with spicy food.

"An already delicious spicy dish can be balanced and enhanced by a great beer companion," Whirley explained. "The maltiness of certain beers plays so incredibly well when served alongside a dish where spice is the star of the show."

Whirley was passionate about her analogy, stating how sometimes spicy food can be a "disorganized chaos that everyone loves and shows up to see." However, the band, or the spicy food, needs a "mature and wise" band manager, the malty brew, to get the band on stage and ready to perform for all the fans (or our taste buds). "Maybe that's a stretch too far, but I am fond of explaining it this way," she added. We don't think it's a stretch. Spicy food can turn up the heat in our mouths and sometimes overpower all the other flavors. As per Whirley, a subtly sweet, malty brew can cut through this "chaos" and "tame it."

Read more: 15 Popular Hard Seltzer Brands, Ranked Worst To Best

But Sometimes You Want To Amplify The Heat In Spicy Food With Beer, Rather Than Tame It

hoppy beers
hoppy beers - VDB Photos/Shutterstock

When enjoying spicy food, we often wish to balance it with a subtly sweet, malty brew or an iced cold glass of milk. At other times, we may want to do the opposite. As Lindsay Jo Whirley explained, "If you are looking for a beer that will amplify the spice rather than tame it, a hoppy beer or a Mexican lager will certainly do the trick." If you don't know where to start with hoppy beers, we've got you covered with our explanation of every IPA style, from milkshake IPA to sour IPA. Grab one of our favorite Mexican lagers or one of these beers that go well in a Michelada and you should have a great pairing for your spicy dish.

We agree with Whirley's recommendations to amplify spicy flavors, but we also imagine a delicious chocolate stout beer would also be perfect for pairing with spicy food. After all, humans have been pairing spices and heat with chocolate throughout history, and these days, chili crisp and chocolate is the rich and spicy flavor combo you need to try. No matter which style beer you grab, it's always fun to experiment with beer pairings.

Read the original article on Tasting Table