The Food: Top’s Chicken Flavored Ramen Noodles w/Sriracha hot sauce, sliced pepper, frozen chunks of chicken, sliced button mushrooms, and scallions
The Beer: Frankenlager Smuttynose Brewing Company’s IPL
The ramen was cooked with frozen bits of pre-cooked chicken, green peppers, onions, scallions, and button mushroom slices. All of this was blasted with a healthy punch of sriracha from a clogged bottle nozzle. On its own, it tastes softy spicy with blandly grainy noodle character. The chicken is tough and slightly freezer burned, but the mushrooms are nicely earthy and fungal, and the veggies add a light vegetal pop to the dish, especially the green peppers. The beer will be reviewed later, but suffice to say, it is a marriage of earthy/spicy European hops with the big citrus of American hops, all in a smooth IPL format that makes it easy to drink, crisp, and palate cleansing. I think the new German hop varietals (this beer has Saphir in it) are creating some supreme new flavors in beer.
Together, the dish brings out a boozier note from the beer, allowing for rich, medicinal and citrus bitters to shine through while bolstering the spice of the broth and adding splashes of citrus fruit. With the chicken, the beer smoothes out the freezer-burned notes and allows for some nice, poultry flavors to come through. The beer also pops the green pepper flavors in the mouth, and allows the spices of the broth to mingle with the pepper to create some surprising heat. As a whole, the finished pairing bolsters the spice and accentuates some of the dish’s and the beer’s subtler notes, which is quite nice. This is not a perfect pairing, as the beer is a little too flavorful for the lackluster ramen I prepared, but I think it is a pairing worthy of experimentation with. IPL’s play well with spice, and the lack of heavier ale yeast flavor allows for the food to really shine.
Verdict: Yep, but experiment with heavier flavors and more fresh veggies in the ramen