It’s taco Tuesday, the event that makes the beginning of the week tolerable. This week instead of sticking to margaritas or traditional Mexican Lager, try a craft beer to compliment all the delicious flavors of your favorite tacos.
Mexican Lagers like Corona, Pacifico, Modelo, and Tecate are largely enjoyed with tacos and Mexican food for their characteristics of being easy to drink, good at washing down spice, and acting as a palate cleanser. However, they don’t exactly compliment any flavors. Here is everything to know about craft beer and taco pairings.
The first considerations to make when matching a craft beer with your tacos are: what protein or base is my taco going to be, and what sauces and garnishes am I going to enhance my taco with. After you have decided this, you are ready to choose which craft beer you’re going to go pick up from the store, or even better, the ones that arrive at your doorstep in your monthly Craft Beer Club box!
Light and Beer Battered Seafood
For tacos with a base of light and bright seafood like grilled fish and shrimp, there are a few craft beers that work like Mexican Lagers. American lagers, Hefeweizens, and California Pale Ales give the similar easy-to-drink, spice-diluting, palate-cleansing effect of Mexican beers.
However, if you prefer beer battered and Baja style fish tacos, a Pilsner, Belgian Wit, or American IPA is the best match. Pilsners are a classic match with tacos due to their light body, brightness, and deft hops. American hops go well with citrus, spices, and anything fried making IPA’s a fantastic match. The citrus and fruitiness in IPA’s and Belgian Witbiers enhance fish or shrimp tacos, specifically ones utilizing lemon, lime, or a fresh pineapple salsa.
If you like beer battered fish or shrimp, next time try battering your seafood with a craft beer. The carbonation in beer creates a light and airy batter that enhances light and flaky fish. When using craft beer to batter your seafood, remember to stick to the ones with a lower ABV since fish can be delicate when cooking. Lagers, Pale Ales, Session Ales, and some IPAs make great craft beer batter choices for fish tacos.
Rich and Fatty Beef and Pork
Beef and pork tacos come in all different styles and flavors: carne asada or carnitas, ground or shredded, spicy or sweet, al pastor or chorizo, and so many other variations. Overall, these dark meats pair well with darker craft beers such as, Amber Ales, American Brown Ales, Smoked Porters, and Dark Lagers. The darker beers have notes of caramel malt and toasted nuts, which connect with the flavors in the meat.
Pork has sweetness to it, especially in variations like al pastor, which works well with the sweetness of caramel malt in the craft beer. On top of the complimenting flavors, the lack of hops in these craft beers makes them smooth to drink, and the malt eradicates heat, so you can actually enjoy your spicy tacos!
Savory and Sweet Chicken
Like all proteins can be served various ways, chicken is another that can be prepared as either a savory or sweet meal. Although bursting with flavor, chicken is considered to be a milder protein than some others. Because of this, bigger beers are needed to bring out the underlying and exotic flavors in the chicken. IPAs are hoppy, citrusy, and bold, which can bring great things out of savory chicken tacos. For a rich and sweet chicken mole taco, look for an IPA with extra hops and bright citrusy flavors to lessen the density of the tacos.
Vegetable and Vegetarian Taco Options
Veggies are great to add on top of any taco, but can also be enjoyed on their own as the base. Instead of trying a meat substitute or tofu, you can fill your taco with potatoes, fried avocado, squash, peppers and onions, and so much more. Vegetarian tacos pair best with a medium-bodied IPA with herbal accents to compliment the veggies in the tacos without overpowering them. Be careful though, hops increase the intensity of spice coming from ingredients like chilies, so if you prefer a spicy taco opt for a less extreme Saison.
Enjoy Your Taco Tuesday
Have fun experimenting with your taco creations and change things up today by eating your meal with a nice craft beer. You can check out our online craft beer store to get some great craft beers ready for the many taco Tuesdays to come!