February 16, 2006

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Drinking beer with Thai food
Tip: The beer needs to stand up to the spice
By Mike Roy   beergasms@aol.com

Even here, in what used to be the homogenized state of New Hampshire, we now have more dining options than we could have imagined years ago. Influences from all over the globe including Brazilian, Hungarian, Indian, Korean, Nepalese, Vietnamese and so on have made their way into our area and are making an impact.

One food style that Iíve been turned on to in recent years is the cuisine of Thailand. Thai food is a medley of inspiration and assaulting of your senses. Iíve often enjoyed its intricate yet sometimes overwhelming spices, not to mention the oddity of using nuts and legumes in dishes to add not only depth of flavor but amazing texture as well.

The most popular Thai dish in the U.S. is Pad Thai. Itís a delicious mix of stir-fried rice noodles, bean sprouts, eggs, peanuts, spices and chicken, shrimp or even tofu. It can be mildly spiced or devilishly hot.
So, what beer best complements Thai? The traditionalist in me could easily point to Singha, a golden lager produced in Thailand. Itís made with 100 percent malted barley, unlike the majority of lagers produced in Asia and the United States, which gives it a fuller body and a biscuit character along with a very clean floral, almost grass-like, hop aroma and flavor.

This would be a beer that milder dishes would pair well with, in that neither would over-shadow the other. A more heavily spiced dish would drown out a very mild beer such as this. In this case I recommend such styles as I.P.A.ís or India Pale Ales, which are known for their assertive bitterness and spicy hop character. They are more suitable to stand up to these dishes.

The thing to remember when pairing food with beer, whether it is Thai or any other, is there are three simple ways in which to pair. The first is to cut, the second to compare and the third to contrast: Choose a beverage that reduces the character of the dish, is reminiscent of its flavors or goes in the opposite direction. This way, you can fully utilize your pallet and enjoy all there is in food, and most importantly ďlive to eat.Ē

Mike Roy is the brewer at Millyís Tavern in Manchester.

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Beer of the†Week

Pabst Blue†Ribbon
I had a party just before Christmas and one of the guests left behind a partial case of this stuff. Other guests had left partials of fancier beers, and Iíd planned to ration those out and use the Pabst medically, for cooking and perhaps for target practice.

However, more and more over the next couple of weeks, I found myself grabbing a Pabst and leaving the fancy beers for the other members of the household. When the case was gone, I was sad.

Pabst, although it is now made by Miller in a plant far away from Milwaukee, is pretty much the same as it was when it was packaged in olive-drab cans and sent to the GIs involved in World War II. The taste is clean and light. Itís a tasty beer, but itís easy to miss the taste because it is so light. The flavor could be overpowered by a piece of Wonder bread.

However, for a cheap beer itís pretty good. Better than Bud.

Itís also good for cooking hotdogs in.

ó Robert Greene



01/05/2006 Fight your gut with beer
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Lending an ear and a beer
The all-star beer-ball team

The art of the brew (I)
The art of the brew (II)
The history of beer