Tuesday 21 April 2009

FAB POW! Stone's Ruination IPA with Spicy Belly Pork

Here’s my Food and Beer Pairing of the Week!

I’ve been on a bit on an IPA bender of late. The last few weekends have just been all about the hops and I can’t get enough. Last weekend I was drinking it all day and bought as many bottles from Utobeer as I could carry, so it looks like my IPA-a-thon will continue unabated. Right in the middle of all this fun I had the big dog.

And I finally did it, I finally found something to go with Stone’s Ruination IPA. I think. (I've written about bitterness and this beer here)

I wanted to open this beer on that fateful night whatever happened and drinking it would’ve coincided with dinner so I thought I’d try again to put them together. The thought process was something like this: the food has to be BIG and rich and fatty and meaty and spicy and sweet and earthy. So the choice was obvious. Spicy belly pork with chilli and garlic roasted butternut squash. That’s it.

I roasted the belly pork with chilli, paprika, loads of pepper and cayenne pepper and a touch of five spice. Then the squash was just cut into wedges, oiled and seasoned, smothered in crushed garlic and chilli and smoked paprika and roasted until soft. The result was surprising good: the crunchy crackling starts it all off, then the layer of mouth-coating fat, then the juicy meat and peppery spice (that’s a lot going on, flavour- and texture-wise) and the beer pours in and glides over the fat, it pulls the sweetness from the meat and the spice and tingles the heat of the chilli, blending it all with the huge caramel base of the beer. The fragrant squash is a buffer of earthy sweetness to soak up the hops and give a delicious fruitiness while still retaining all of that palate cleansing/stripping bitterness. It had me eating then drinking then back for more pork then more beer in a sexy and vicious circle of spice, meat and hops. I had a ball.

But I said that I think it works. Even now I’m not certain that it actually did work as a brilliant match. Maybe I got something which just dulled the bitterness stopping a monsterous palate pile-up but not actually giving a great match-up, or maybe my bottle was a bit old and had lost some of its kick. I don’t know. For me it worked a treat and I’d pair it again happily. Plus, belly pork is a favourite food of mine and Ruination is a favourite beer, so…

Anyone had anything great this week? Or has anyone had any luck trying to pair a dish with any extremely bitter beers?


  1. This weekend will be all about ribs! I'll post next week some time.

  2. Awesome, I really love ribs. I've cooked them a few times this year. I make a wicked beer BBQ sauce to go over them too.

  3. I have a few different ways to do them. Sometimes I boil them first and then marinade and grill, but this time I am going NY style and marinadig them with a BBQ rub and then doing them in the oven.

  4. The last few times I've baked them in a covered dish with just some seasoning, then when they are cooked (long and slow) I pour over the sauce, uncover them and roast in a higher oven so they go sticky and crispy. Great stuff. Hopefully I'll get some done on the BBQ soon too for that proper charred taste.