Tuesday, October 22, 2013
Pairing Saag Paneer & Pumpkin Beers
It was a one-off, a fridge-clearing-out kind of pairing. Pairing saag paneer with Southern Tier's Pumking was a complete accident.
We had this meal last October but by the time we realized that this combination worked pumpkin beers had disappeared from the shelves. You can't get even get Southern Tier in Los Angeles! Our bottle was a gift.
This year we planned ahead and choose three pumpkin beers, Alaskan Pumpkin Porter, Shipyard Pumpkinhead Ale, and Dogfish Head Punkin Ale, made a batch of saag paneer, and tried to recreate the magic.
Pumpkin and ginger are a classic pairing, showing up in savory soups as well as desserts. The fresh ginger in the saag and pumpkin notes in the beers play off each other, balancing the rich diary elements of buttermilk and cheese with acidity. Spices, including red pepper flakes, turmeric, and cumin, are brought out by the sweet, earthy beers. This is definitely a meal we recommend trying. And fast, before the pumpkin beers are gone from shelves for another year.
Alaskan Pumpkin Porter (Mike's favorite)
Palate: Balanced pumpkin, cocoa, and Christmas spices with a complex, sweet finish.
Shipyard Pumkinhead Ale
Nose: Yankee Candle.
Palate: Cider-like; light bodied and overly spiced.
Dogfish Head Punkin Ale (Abby's favorite)
Nose: Pumpkin bread, heavy on the spice.
Palate: Belgian and brown sugar; lots of pleasant, balanced sweetness.