Beer Buzz 

Enhance your Winter Olympics TV sports experience with exciting food and craft beer pairings. Forget the bland and go for the bold.

Food with beer presents the same basic challenges as winning in competition. You can match the flavors of your food with similar flavors in your beer or you can contrast the flavors of your meal with a beer that's totally on the other side of the palate. Sort of like assessing the competition and playing their game [only better] or making them figure out what's up.

Since hot and spicy foods are the expected sports fare, the hops in big seasonal winter beers and the always available India Pale Ales (and Brugge Belgians) give your taste buds a double dose of spicy goodness.

Conversely, a beer with a contrasting flavor balances out the spiciness of sportstime fare, refreshes the palate and gives you a chance to discern a spectrum of flavors. In this instance, the fruity, crisp flavors of a wheat cools us down and the rich maltiness of a brown, red or stout, especially an oatmeal or milk stout softens the impact of hot spices.

Of course, you can offer both options and thus have something to talk about during commercials besides second-guessing contestants and judges. Watching Michigan vs. Michigan State, The Ram's newly released Java Stout paired well with appetizers of BBQ smoked chicken quesadilla, spinach-artichoke dip and twice-baked potato quarters.

Delivering a winning food and beer combo can start with a visit to the store of your choice where a knowledgeable beer clerk can guide you through the options and you can get a one-on-one experience at brewpubs and breweries for what's available for growler carry-out and in bottles.

Right close to home, in preparation for the TV-time events, NUVO has been taste-testing a full range of choices at Alcatraz, Barley Island (Noblesville and Broad Ripple), Broad Ripple Brewpub, Brugge, The Ram, Rock Bottom (Downtown and College Park), Sun King, Upland (Bloomington and their Indianapolis Tasting Room), and Oaken Barrel in Greenwood. It's worth the time.

Feb. 10, 6:00 p.m. Rock Bottom College Park is tapping Liz Laughlin's big malt, big hops winter warmer named "Subzero." It's a definite choice.

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About The Author

Rita Kohn

Rita Kohn

Rita Kohn has been covering craft beer and the arts for NUVO for two decades. She’s the author of True Brew: A Guide to Craft Beer in Indiana.

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