Beer pairings have become a hot topic for both foodies and beer fanatics, and for a good reason. With so many flavor profiles out there, you can find a unique beer pairing for any dish. Most people already have a clear idea of what to drink with pasta, tacos and burgers, but what about the spicy, herbal, aromatic flavors of Indian cuisine?
Whether you want a low-key libation or a beast of a craft brew, thankfully we have answers for the best Indian food and beer pairings.
What Do They Drink in India?
India pale ales have been enjoyed in India for a few hundred years, but the style was actually pioneered by the British and shipped to India during colonial times. Indians drink far more lagers and other German style beers than they do IPAs.
Do as the locals do and drink lagers with Indian food, or you can indulge in the richer flavors of an IPA. After all, the magic of Indian cuisine lies in the complex, surprising combinations of flavors. Drink authentically or drink boldly, your choice.
Bold, Hoppy India Pale Ales
A beer that packs a punch can stand up to the curries, kormas and other rich sauces and spices of Indian food. IPAs stand up to the challenge thanks to their complexity of hops and aromatics. The relatively high alcohol content of an IPA also seems to make spicy foods even brighter and more enjoyable.
Take a swish, and you’ll get the wonderful IPA hoppiness while drawing out the depth and variety of the dish you’re eating. Enjoy your favorite local IPA (we like the Columbus Brewing Company IPA) or opt for an Indian-inspired brew like Avery’s Maharaja Imperial IPA.
Crisp Lager for Contrast
IPAs can be a turn-off, especially if you are not typically a beer aficionado. Fortunately, there’s another Indian food and beer pairing that blends everything together nicely — a crisp, premium lager. The crispness tempers the spice, making lagers the ideal pairing for Indian food if you aren’t an everyday flame-eater.
Lagers also pair well with the creamy Indian dishes like tikka masala. Up against cream and coconut milk sauces, the lighter hops and brighter floral notes of a lager offer a refreshing contrast that helps balance the meal’s flavors.
Find Your Taste Bud Nirvana
Ultimately, the best beer pairings for Indian food depend on your tastes and the particular dish. Overwhelmed by IPAs but want something more robust than a lager? Try a citrusy hefeweizen with a gingery dish like rogan josh and let the two interact on your palate. As long as you avoid awkwardly pairing flavors (tandoori and chocolate stout, anyone?), you can enjoy any crisp lager or bright, hoppy ale with your next Indian adventure.
Still afraid of choosing an unspectacular duo? At Curry Up, you can tell us what dish you like, and our team will be happy to recommend a popular beer pairing.