This article will help you find the best beer for Indian food, which quenches your thirst and brings out all the flavors of both beer and food.
Pairing beer with food is a great way to experience all the dish’s unique flavors and enjoy a good beer. Indian food is a cuisine style that, on its own, has a diverse range of flavors. Pairing your favorite curry or Indian dish with a good beer is a great way to get more flavor and have a different taste experience with a dish you may have had many times.
Besides curry, there are a host of other dishes that are popular in Indian cuisine. The defining feature of Indian foods is the spice palette used to season dishes. This spice pallet pairs well with a wide range of beers. Knowing which beer matches the dish you are enjoying is the challenge.
Like Indian cuisine, beers come in a range of styles and flavors, and there is a right beer for every type or style of Indian dish. As we delve into this article, we hope to provide you with a great beer pairing for various Indian food favorites.
Brown and Amber Ales for Indian Food
Malty beers pair well with spicy foods, so if you love an Indian dish with a bit of heat, a brown or amber ale is a great pick. Brown and amber ales are a nice complement to rich dishes like lamb or chicken vindaloo.
While both styles are good pairings with rich, creamy dishes, our recommendation is to pair amber ales with creamy dishes that have sweet base notes. Brown ales are a great complement to grilled meats and tandoori-cooked foods. Don’t want meat? Brown ales are a perfect complement to root vegetables and tomatoes, so a perfect match for vegetarian curries.
Hefeweizens and Wheat Beers for Indian Food
We like to enjoy these light and flavorful beers with seafood. Indian cuisine has many delicious dishes that use shrimp and prawns. A hefeweizen or wheat beer is an excellent complement to a lighter, seafood-based dish.
Wheat beers are often served with a lemon or orange, and the base fruity and citrusy flavors make a great pairing for your favorite meats with spicy Indian chutneys.
One of our favorite Indian dishes, Biryani, is an excellent match with a hefeweizen (wheat beer). Just keep in mind, this dish is heavy in rice, so too much rice and too much wheat beer will leave you feeling very full.
IPA and Hoppy Lagers for Indian Food
If you like your Indian food hot, hoppy lagers or IPAs will help quench your thirst and cool your palate between bites. Higher alcohol IPAs will cut the heat of spicy dishes, and the floral and citrus flavors will pair nicely with the spice blends in many Indian dishes.
IPAs and hoppy beers are also a great, flavorful pairing with some of your favorite fried Indian foods. Pair samosas and pakoras with a delightfully hoppy IPA.
We like a crisp, American-style IPA, with grapefruit and apple notes to pair with vegetarian dishes like matar paneer. This dish has a creamy, spicy sauce with not a lot of heat. It seems a bit bland, but pair it with the right IPA, and the spices will come alive in your mouth.
Kolsch and Lagers for Indian Food
These light and refreshing beers get a boost from the spice blends in lighter, vegetable-heavy Indian foods. When you are enjoying fresh, light dishes such as salads, vegetable curries, coconut or cashew-based curries, or butter chicken, you want a beer that doesn’t overpower the flavors of the food. We like a Kolsch or a crisp lager with milder Indian dishes.
If you want to get the most from your meal and your beer, we recommend that you skip the light lagers or blonde ales when enjoying robust Indian dishes. The heat and spice will overpower the flavor of the beer.
English Bitter Ale for Indian Food
As a nod to the English influences seen in India, we really like an English Bitter ale as a nearly perfect complement to many Indian dishes. This amber-colored beer with a perfect balance of malt and hops brings out the hidden flavors in rich dishes. In addition, these beers are generally not as carbonated as other styles, making them perfect for cooling the mouth.
Stouts and Porters for Indian Food
Like the diversity in Indian food, stouts and porters with their range of flavor profiles make them a good match with Indian foods. These heavy beers complement meaty dishes and those with thick, creamy sauces. The rule of thumb with stouts and porters is to combine dry beers with rich dishes with sweet flavor notes and sweet beers with dishes that are hot and full of spices.