Happy IPA day! This beer, the darling of the west coast, has come along way since its early days in the 1700s with a long and complicated history. Today India Pale Ales are the most popular beer style in the United States and for good reason. From the citrus, piney west coast IPA to the dark, slightly toasty black IPA and everything in between, there is an IPA for almost everyone these days. You can pick your alcohol strength from sessions, standard, double, and imperials. The line-up is diverse and exploring the vast options is always fun. A beer style like that deserves to be celebrated and what better day than National IPA day!
To highlight the greatness and versatility of this beer, I’ve put together a beer pairing dinner menu with some of my favorite California IPAs to share with you. Whether you make the whole thing from start to finish or just bust out a block of cheddar to share with some friends over beer, make sure you raise a glass of your favorite IPA and toast to this fine beverage.
El Segundo Brewing White Dog IPA + Spicy shrimp and lemon dipping sauce
This white IPA adds some wheat malt to the party, which lightens the body of the beer and helps bring out the citrusy character of the hops. This makes it a great partner to a lighter dish like shrimp. The beer won’t overpower the shrimp and the citrus notes will complement it nicely, especially with the lemon dip. The spice helps the shrimp stand-up to the beer, but keep in mind that hop bitterness emphasizes spicy foods. Be careful not to make them too spicy!
Alesmith IPA + Aged cheddar cheese
A nice aged cheddar has a great sharpness with some fruity notes that are the perfect match for this IPA. The hops balance out the sharp bite of the cheese and the citrus and pine complement the flavors nicely. This balanced beer also has caramel notes from the malt, which goes great with the nutty notes you get as the cheddar ages and doesn’t overwhelm the cheese.
Stone Cali-Belgique + Arugula, blue cheese, orange, grapefruit & toasted walnuts
Bitterness tames bitterness, so the arugula bite is tamed by the hoppy bitterness. Both the salad and the beer lend nice spicy notes that complement each other as well. The citrus in the salad is a great match for the tropical fruit hop flavor and the fatty, rich blue cheese is balanced by the bitterness of the beer and the fruity notes complement it.
Bear Republic Hop Rod Rye + Beer can chicken with fresh cut sweet potato fries
With 18% rye malt in the bill, this beer has a nice spicy, earthy character along with light caramel notes that make it a great main course IPA. The spice and earth match nicely to the grilled and slightly smoky chicken. The fatty, crisp skin gets balanced out by the hops and the citrus notes add nice completing flavors to chicken. The bitterness also works great to balance out salty friend food like the french fries. The caramel notes complement the sweet potato fries in addition to the browning that takes place on the chicken during grilling.
Sierra Nevada Flipside Red IPA + Crème brulée
This pairing is all about the rich cream and caramel. This beer has the right amount of bitterness to stand up to a creamy, fatty dessert like crème brulée without overpowering it. A nice malt backbone that includes caramel and chocolate malts complement the flavorful caramel crust of the brulée. The carbonation of the beer scrubs the palate of the fatty custard after each bite so you are ready to experience the next as if it was the first.