I consider myself a liberated gourmand, in so much that I love exotic ingredients, but I’m not ashamed to say that there are many times when I am just as happy enjoying a burger or pound of wings as fine dining. One of those occasions is on the horizon, as the New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks are set to battle it out in Super Bowl XLIX. I will join more than 100 million other fans in North America watching the game. And my game day will include pub fare and a bottle of beer.
I do try to make the most of my game-day occasions. I’ve long held the belief that nachos can be gourmet. Kathy’s Pulled Porked Nachos, found in this week’s Cooking Class, are a great example of jazzing up a Super Bowl standard. I’ve even been known to top mine with local cheese curds, from Foxhill Farm, and duck confit. In last week’s column, Kathy taught us how to make the latter. Even the pub standard chicken wings can be elevated to the next level with some super side sauces, such as blue cheese and bacon or spicy chipotle.
As for the beer pairings, purists (most times this includes me) may argue that the intensity of flavour presented by the spice elements of the wings calls for a beer with enough flavour to stand up to spicy sauce. If you want to break out the pairing charts, then I would suggest looking to sweeter-edged, malty styles of lagers and red ales, as they offer a hint of refreshing sweetness. A Vienna-style lager, such as Samuel Adams Boston Lager, would work perfectly in this case. For the richer flavours of the nachos, especially those with some notable spice component, you might want to reach for a fuller flavoured Pale Ale, such as Hop City Big Mouth Pale Ale. Of course, no matter how tasty the food is, often the priority on Super Bowl Sunday is cheering for your favourite team and the comradery of good friends. In these times, I suggest you don’t have to overthink the beer and food combinations. Simply enjoy whichever is your favourite brand and remember to do so in moderation.