Stews and Brews: Pairing Craft Beer with Classic Stews
For casual entertaining during the holidays, nothing beats a comforting bowl of stew: It's conveniently make-ahead for the host and deliciously satisfying for guests.
Belgian-style brown ale adds rich flavor to this hearty stew packed with bacon, chuck roast, onion, and egg noodles.
Beef Stew Pairing: Petrus Oud Bruin
Aged for two years in oak barrels, this Flemish-style oud bruin (old brown ale) walks the line between sweet and sour, and tastes like a combination of brown ale and burgundy wine. Add to that its hints of plum, black cherry, and brown sugar, and it’s the perfect base—and accompaniment—for this hearty beef stew.
Dried Ancho chiles and fire-roasted tomatoes add kick to this traditional Mexican dish, which stars boneless pork shoulder and white hominy.
Posole Pairing: Brooklyn Brown Ale
Born in Brooklyn, this American brown ale’s roasted malt flavor is the perfect complement for posole’s savory browned pork. Its mild hoppiness dances with the lively flavors of radish and cilantro, and its subtle hints of stone fruit and chocolate add a degree of warmth to this quintessential Mexican comfort food.
A looser, brothier version of the classic French meat-and-bean casserole, this stew delivers umami satisfaction from porcini mushrooms and rich, nutty Parmesan cheese.
Veggie Cassoulet Pairing: Fuller's ESB
An oft-overlooked style of beer, ESB (extra special bitter) is a dark, malty, full-bodied brew that goes remarkably well with the warm favors of winter stews, especially cassoulet. London-based Fuller’s ESB presents hints of toffee and biscuit enlivened by a slight citrusy finish that plays nicely with the cassoulet’s sugary sweet potatoes and carrots. Fuller’s nuttiness lends even more depth to this flavorful dish.
Chicken, Apple, and Butternut Stew
Cider, chopped apple, butternut squash, and parsnips lend appealingly forward sweetness to this fall harvest stew. Unfiltered apple cider has pectins that help thicken the stew. If you use filtered, clear cider, add another tablespoon of flour.
Chicken Stew Pairing: Leffe Blond Ale
Blond, a spicy, smooth Belgian ale, blends seamlessly with the warm autumnal favors of this hearty seasonal stew. Its slight bitterness tempers the dish’s sweetness, and its fizzy carbonation reawakens the palate between each delicious spoonful.
Lamb Tagine with Lemon and Olives
Tender pieces of lamb soak up the ginger, saffron, cinnamon, and cumin that flavor this Mediterranean stew. Sweet golden raisins, whole-wheat couscous, fresh carrots, and green olives simmered together round out the dish.
Lamb Tagine Pairing: Victory Pilsner
With its warm, exquisite spices, this North African–style tagine is best paired with a discreet pilsner that lets its favors shine. Pennsylvania’s Victory Brewing Company offers one of the best. Its light foral qualities complement the tagine without overwhelming, and the clean, slightly hoppy favor makes it a perfect refresher for the dish’s centerpiece—sweet, succulent lamb.