When you think of what the epitome of a hearty, warming winter dinner might be, it’s hard to overlook a delicious, piping hot bowl of chili. And it’s perfect for winter since, as much as you may enjoy eating it, it’s somewhat hard to justify in 90 degree August weather. Chili is extremely versatile in that it can be eaten as a side soup or a meal, vegetarian-style or meat-laden, traditional or non-traditional, spicy or mild. No matter what the recipe, one thing’s for certain: a great chili deserves (and usually needs) something equally as tasty to wash it down with, and what better beverage than a cold craft beer?
If you are of the chili-loving audience that prefers yours extra spicy, the Santa Clara Cooking Examiner has offered up a recipe for Mike’s Ground Zero Chili that will surely warm the body and heat up the palate. That chili definitely needs a partner in crime, though, and the suggested beers below are more than ready to step up to the plate. Simply follow these simple guidelines (depending on your preference) for a perfect beer and chili pairing experience!
For the heat-lovers out there, the hops in an IPA will intensify the spices in any meal. In other words, the hoppier the beer, the hotter the food you’re eating it with will taste. So if you’re looking to complement your chili with some extra fire, give one of the following OC brews a try:
- Backstreet Brewery Ladera Ranch’s ER IPA- Not quite crazy enough to send you to the Emergency Room as its name implies, but quite hop-filled nonetheless. A staple on Backstreet’s tap menu.
- Karl Strauss Costa Mesa’s To The 9’s Holiday Ale- Be forewarned… this ode to 2009 was brewed with no less than 9 varieties of hops, giving it 99 IBUs (International Bitterness Units) and 9.9% ABV!
For you other folks that like a little heat, but prefer to subdue the fire-alarm causing effects, a maltier beer will help alleviate the stress on your taste buds and balance out the spiciness. Good choices are lighter beers that give off a sweetness on the tongue with minimal bitterness. Some great local selections are:
- Pizza Port San Clemente’s T-Street Wheat- A tasty wheat beer with just enough hops to still make it interesting.
- Huntington Beach Beer Co’s Huntington Beach Blonde- “A light, refreshing, all malt ale, with a gentle hop aroma”… all malt ale, enough said!
These brews are all available at their respective breweries in pints or to take home in either bottles or growlers. Please visit their individual websites for more info.