beer and food

Who decided that IPA went with curry just because of the name?

Bailey´s been holding the fort while I´ve been studying for exams, but now they´re over, I feel I should make it up. However, as I´m still in the middle of Spain I´m stuck for immediate inspiration, so thought I´d post on something which has been bugging me for a while.

IPA and curry. I´ve been told by many wise people that instead of fizzy lager, one should drink IPA with curry. But I don´t see it. I´ve tried it on several occasions, and each time, the curry just completely kills the flavour of the IPA. Even a powerful tasting IPA like St Austell´s “Proper Job” is left completely bland by my chickpea massala.

Curry kills hop flavouring. Not that crazy really, given that hops are another spice. It´s just a waste of a decent IPA.

So what to drink with curry? A “Munich-style Helles” or alternatively Cornershop East European Lager (I´d like to see that as a style in the BJCP guidelines!) is inoffensive and refreshing, but then again, if you can´t really taste the beer, is it worth bothering at all?

I have a theory that a nice belgian wheatbeer might work, although it would have to be one that´s not too spicy. One to try when I get back.

Any other suggestions?


9 replies on “Who decided that IPA went with curry just because of the name?”

IPA and curry is just plain wrong. I doubt any quality beer will stand up to hot curry while still being refreshing. Or at least that’s my excuse for the case of Cobra in my shed.

I have certainly had some pretty decent IPA / Curry combos. Burton Bridge Empire Ale has worked well in the past as has the IPA I brew myself.

However the best curry beer experiance I have ever had was a byo’d bottle of Black Sheep Holy Grail. The nutty english malt character stood up perfectly to the spices and cleansed the palate.

Saison is often held up as a good match. Unfortunitly its not the sort of beer you would often see on the local curry houses menu, I usually settle for Singha.

I hope you aren’t using New Zealand curry in your analysis here, Kieran. I’ve had a few of them and as far as I can tell there’s just one chili in the whole country and they all share it between them.

Any decent beer at all will work with unspicy curry, I’d imagine.

I once ate a pretentious curry place in London where there were no discernible spices whatsoever in the food — just a lot of salt. Despite the extremely rarefied atmosphere and huge wine list, the only beer on offer was Cobra. *There* I would have liked some more complex and interesting beer.

When in Asia, I found that Guinness FES worked a treat with spicy food. All the roasty malt flavours stood up well and weren’t swamped by the spices. It’s not a beer I’ve ever seen recommended as a curry accompaniment, but it is widely available in the far east.

Beer Nut , if you know the right places to go our curry is on a par with all but the sub continent.
We have a large Gurati population here in Wellington which influences the indian cuisen here. I was at an Indian Wedding recently the food was amasing.

We also have a Restaurant here that uped and moved from Leicster, chefs, owners , waiters and all. Im told its exactly like the currys in the motherland.

As for there being no chillies in NZ , We actually farm chillies here. I make habanero sauce once every two years (it takes me that long to consume the stuff) when the harvest comes in.

F.E.S. would be a pretty smart pairing I reckon.

That’s good to know, Kieran. I’ll hold off on my complaint to the UN Human Rights Commission. I’ve never seen restaurants in any other country list two separate scales of spiciness on the menu, one for Asia and one for locals. Clearly I was going to the wrong places…

Mind you, I don’t take authenticity as a measure of quality. The curry I like is very much a product of British cuisine and would be unrecognisable to anyone who’s spent more than a couple of hours in India.

Absolutly, Great India which is the restraunt from Leicster is totally Anglo-Indian not traditional.

Actually alot of traditional Indian food is very mild, and delicate and then when its hot its proper hot.

Ron — our local curry house is Sri Lankan and has Lion Stout. We’ve always saved it for desert, though, rather than drinking it with the curry. Hmmm. Maybe next time.

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