Updated: Jul 25, 2020
With the Tropical IPA's tropical hop notes, slightly tangy nose coming from the mango addition, peppery Belgian backbone, and strong bittering hop finish we can go in a number of interesting directions with food pairings for this beer. Here are 3 that I love!
Beef tacos- Beef or steak is always a great contrasting pairing for IPA. Fat and umami in the meat create a balance with the strong bitter character of the beer. Then, we add in another contrasting element with the sweetness of the tortilla, which serves to both compliment the malt character and contrast our bittering hops. What really seals the deal with our TIPA is the addition of mango and tropically skewed hops, which contain strong pineapple, guava, and lychee notes. This creates an additional layer of flavor complexity that acts much in the same way of a pineapple sitting atop a tacos-al-pastor skewer.
Shawarma- With shawarma, we see a lot of the same elements as we did with tacos. But, here, the beauty is that we can go even deeper on both the complimentary flavors. Shwarma meat, whether it be beef, chicken or lamb, is always spiced with cumin and paprika. Cumin happens to be the perfect pairing spice for the peppery backbone of Belgian yeast used in the Tropical IPA. Tehini is rich and balancing sauce that serves to mellow out the aggressive bitterness of the TIPA. And finally, the true pro move here- amba. Amba, a tangy pickled mango sauce of Iraqi origin, pairs so well with the mango addition in our TIPA, it's almost as if they were created for each other.
Cheesecake- For a dessert pairing for the TIPA, you almost have no option but to go with a contrasting consistency and flavor. The principal of pairing the TIPA with cheesecake works on the same principal of pairing coffee and cheesecake- tannins and bitter notes cut across the rich, creaminess of cheesecake in a way that no other dessert can quite provide. There is also a tang to cheesecake that serves as an echo for notes within the beer. And, of course, the fruit notes coming from mango and hops in the TIPA serve as conceptual substitute for fruit toppings and increase perceived sweetness by triggering a psychological association with fruit of similar chemical makeup in our minds.