Pairing: Craft Beer & Junk Food

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It’s late, and you’re hungry. You start rummaging around your cupboards for the perfect thing to feed that hankering. The hankering that can only be filled with guilty pleasures of  junk food.

Popcorn, chips and ice cream are mainstays for anyone looking to cure the craving.

But before you just reach for whatever is easiest to get to, why not try something new to spice up the late-night snacking?

Pair those guilty pleasures with some beer.

Beer is always paired with complex flavors and four-course meals but never with junk food.

Craft beer is still beer, regardless of how complex the process has become to make it, and beer goes hand-in-hand with snacks.

Java Head Coffee Stout with an ice cream sandwich

Nothing technical here but it was sublime. Java Head is a little bitter for a stout, which goes perfect with the ice cream. My late night snacking buddy liked it too.

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The sandwich was just Giant brand so the “cookie” part of it isn’t too chocolately but the chocolate malt from the beer brings out the flavor even more.

(717) Collaboration Ale with popcorn

I took this at the suggestion of  “The Boss,” and she was spot on.

717

717 is a great hoppy-tart beer and the salt from the popcorn helps tame the hoppiness to add balance to the whole combination.

The popcorn I ate was buttery and greasy, the way I like it, but the dryness of the beer cuts through the grease and cleans the palate.

Tip: Popcorn can be pretty healthy if you don’t go the super buttery route, so this could be a perfect late night snack if you’re looking to cut back on the calories, although the beer might make up for them.

Now here’s the real junk food part. For everyone that is on that diet you can skip passed this part, or just live vicariously through me.

Lagunitas Sucks with Doritos Spicy Nacho

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All I have to say is YUP!

IPAs always go great with spicy food but when you add “cheese” to the mix it makes it glorious. This wasn’t my first rodeo with this particular pairing, but it’s a match made in late night heaven.

There is one problem. The Sucks bottle I had was of the 32 oz variety and no one to share it with so by the end of a “Friends” marathon the bag was pretty much empty.

Herr’s Jalapeño Popper Cheese Puffs with St Boniface Paideia Pale Ale

Now, I know this sounds like a broken record but, it’s true. Nothing goes better with spicy foods than hoppy beers and for me it doesn’t get much better than this: Local beer. Local snacks.

craft beer jerky

Cheese puffs are addicting enough. I (and Sara) love spicy things, so these are trouble. So. Good.

Another beer to try with this could be a hoppier amber ale, like Troegs HopBack. This could be for someone who isn’t all about the heat because the maltier (sweeter) taste would help tame that heat.

My next match-up is definitely going to be a rich chocolate stout with some mint chocolate ice cream. I know!

Have you ever paired junk food and beer, if so what? If not, you should probably start.

James Werner
Author: James Werner

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