Food and Drink Matching: Pairing Mexican Food with the Right Beer

January 14, 2021

Mexican food and beer are like birds in a tree — they’re a natural and great combination. Just as an excellent sauce can enhance food, a well-paired beer can transform any meal into an awesome dining experience.

With so many kinds of beers out there, where do you begin? We broke down Mexican cuisine into a few general flavor profiles to help you achieve an excellent beer match.

Creamy Food

Mexican dishes with creamy condiments or sauces, such as burritos loaded with cheese and creamy enchiladas, are great at accommodating bitterness in beer. Go for beers that have citrusy, bright hops like American pale ales. These beers interact wonderfully with the freshness of raw onion, tomato, and cilantro. Moreover, the bitterness of these beers cuts through the richness of the Mexican dish.

Hearty Food

The bitterness, carbonation, and alcohol content of the beer works well with rich-braised meats that have deeply flavored sauces, such as mole poblano. These three characteristics allow the beer to penetrate the richness of the food and hold its ground against densely flavored food.

If you’re going to eat a rich-braised, red-meat Mexican food that’s not overly spicy, try pairing it with a Belgian dubbel. This beer contains the alcohol, carbonation, and body necessary to help the drink establish its presence amidst the dish’s mouth-coating fat. Additionally, the beer’s pleasant pepper, caramel, and raisin-like flavors will complement the rich red meat nicely.

Spicy Food

When you’re going to eat extra-spicy Mexican dishes, it’s best to stay away from beers with elevated alcohol levels, high carbonation levels, and excessive bitterness. These three properties intensify spicy heat, which could unpleasantly throw the dish out of balance. Go for malty beers instead.

If you’re going to munch down on chilaquiles verdes and other brighter spicy dishes, go for less-hoppy American blonde ales or paler beers like witbier and helles. The soft, malty flavor in these beers alleviates the spicy pain without overpowering the dish, giving you a refreshing relief from the heat.

As for richer spicy dishes, such as grilled chorizo with spicy tomato sauce, you’ll need a beer that’s more assertive. Irish red ale is a good option, as it has a caramelized malt property that tastes wonderful alongside the sweetness of the cooked tomato.

Fatty and Crispy Food

Fajitas, tacos al pastor, carnitas, and other similar Mexican dishes require a beer that can stand up to their fattiness. When pairing beer with crispy and rich dishes, your best bets are smoked beers like smoked porters or rauchbier, dark or amber lagers like dunkel and Vienna, and American brown ales. These beers have a caramelized flavor that works well with browned meats.

Bright and Light Food

Lively dishes, such as a ceviche packed with juicy tomatoes, sharp cilantro, sour citrus juice, and fresh seafood, require a beer that will not dampen their brightness. This is where your easygoing Tecates, Coronas, and Pacificos are most appropriate.

If you are looking for authentic Mexican food in Virginia along with great-tasting beers, don’t hesitate to visit El Paso Mexican Restaurant. We use the freshest food to make our homemade entrees prepared. Additionally, we have an array of imported beers, tequilas, and margaritas that you’ll surely love.

Contact us today.

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