March – Food and Beer Pairing

Hop Head Said
(Frisee, Avocado, Grapefuit)
Beer: Ruthless Rye IPA (6.6%)
Brewery: Sierra Nevada
Style: American IPA
Serving: Pint Glass or Mug @ 45°- 50°

General American IPA Style Description:
Aroma: Think citrus (grapefruit), resinous pine, or even tropical fruit. There may be a slight sweetness present from the malt but the hop aromas will most likely cover up those aromas.

Appearance: Colors will vary from medium gold to a reddish copper but they will all be clear unless they have been dry hopped and then there may be a slight haze. Because the malt used in this style has very little dark color the head will be white to off-white and should persist.

Flavor: IPA’s are all about the hops (bitterness, flavor and aroma) and so there will be medium to high amount of hop flavor and bitterness that will reflect the American hop citrus qualities (citrusy, floral, resinous, pine). Malt flavor will be low to showcase all the hop characteristics in and an American IPA.

Mouthfeel: You can expect a medium body with a pleasing mouth puckering bitterness (think grapefruit) that helps to dry the beer out and creates a thirst quenching, refreshing beer.

Other IPA’s: Titan, Furious, Stone IPA, Two Hearted Ale

General Beer Pairing Suggestions:
Cheese: Pepper Jack. Meat: Fish, smoked salmon. Cuisine: American, Mexican.

I love IPA’s! They are refreshing when it is hot out and their warming alcohol keeps you warm when it is cold. These beers pair well with many foods especially savory or sweet foods. The bitterness and alcohol help cleanse the palate of savory foods like cheeses or fried foods and the bitterness also helps keep the sweet foods in check. But if you want to spice things up a bit drink an IPA. The bitterness momentarily emphasizes the spice but the alcohol helps to refresh the palate just like a tortilla chip.

Specific Beer Description:
Ruthless Rye IPA pours a crystal clear copper with a cascade of tiny carbonation bubbles rising from the etching in the bottom of my glass. The pillowy, off-white head has staying power with some decent lacing on the side of the glass. Lemon peal, pine and earthy hop aromas (a mouth watering combination) ready your palate for what’s to come. Ruthless Rye’s crisp hop bitterness gives way to a wonderfully smooth earthy hop flavor. However, the caramel-like malt sweetness and the rye malt spiciness balance the bitterness before it can become to intense. The malts then morph, what could be an over the top aggressive, hop bitterness into a smooth and refreshing grapefruity flavor.

My overall opinion is that you should try this beer! Ruthless Rye doesn’t have the one-sided bitterness that turns so many people away from trying other IPA’s. The mix of spice and citrus hop flavors make this beer an awesome partner for salads that include bitter greens or citrus.

Specific Beer Pairing Suggestions: Frisee, Avocado, and Grapefruit Salad – Recipe Link

This pairing works for several reasons. First, the hop bitterness and flavor resonate in the bitter frise’e which is tossed in a citrus balsamic vinegar. The earthy flavors of the shallots and avocado as well as the cracked pepper resonate with the rye spiciness. You may find it hard to tell where the salad ends and the beer starts, except for the crunchy parts.

There are some contrasting components, and this is where this pairing really shines. The caramel-like sweetness helps to take the bitter edge off the frisee while seamlessly resonating with the citrus vinaigrette and grapefruit. Last but not least, the alcohol and the carbonation help cleanse the vinaigrette and savory avocado off the palate as you swallow. A crisp and refreshing way to cleanse the palate before your next bite.