Southwest Beer Cheese Dip
We talk a lot of pairing beer and food. About the sensory experiences of flavors, textures and ingredients that compliment each other. We’ve known since the accidental and unfortunate childhood pairing of toothpaste and orange juice that some flavors are a combative train wreck once they comingle in our mouth. We know that espresso and chocolate cake are magical in partnership, and that greasy cheese pizza is made that much better with a highly carbonated pale ale.
What we don’t talk enough about is pairing beer and experiences. Because if you and I are in a deep fireside chat, late in the evening, warming our bones near the fire of a ski lodge, I’d want to share a barrel aged beer with you, the boozier the better. But if we’re hiking though the woods on a hot August afternoon, tank tops sticking to our backs and dust from the trials clinging to our legs, a crisp Kolsch would be awesome (but the boozy bourbony beer would not).
We are right around the corner from a shared experience that most of us will take part in one way or another. Football lover, casual fan, or just along for the commercials and the food table, you’ll likely find yourself in a room with sports fans screaming at the TV on Super Bowl Sunday. I have just the beer for you, sports fan, wagering enthusiast or just-there-for-lack-of-anything-better-to-do guy. This is a day filled with intense emotions, highs and lows, and the beer should match. You’ll also need to take into consideration the food as to avoid the aforementioned combative train wreck possibility. Food at these gatherings tend to be intense as well: hot wings, buffalo cheese dip, jalapeno nachos; that sort of primitive bar food that you love more than you’d probably ever admit to. Another consideration: time. You’ll be drinking all day, several hours and several beers, and when you’re done it won’t even be night yet.
In summation, these are the considerations when pairing The Super Bowl with a beer: intense flavor, pairs well with spicy and greasy food, can be consumed for long hours. The conclusion we come to is a session IPA. (Quick Beer 101 lesson: “session” means lower ABV, usually 5% or lower). You’ll get the intense flavor to match both the food and the emotions, you’ll get the nice carbonation for the greasy cheese and meat, and since the ABV is lower you’ll avoid becoming a cautionary tale.
Here are some Session IPA’s that will pair well with the Super Bowl. These are a few that I’m personally excited about, let me know what your favorite is.
- Rogue // 4 Hop 4.4% ABV
- Drakes // Alpha Sessions 3.8% ABV
- Great Lakes // Steady Rollin 4.8% ABV
- Green Flash // Segal Ranch Session 4.5% ABV
- Black Raven // Nothing But Flowers 4.9% ABV
- Widmer // Replay IPA 4.5% ABV
- 21st Amendment // Down to Earth 4.4% ABV
- 8 wt oz cream cheese
- 2 cups (226g) cheddar cheese, grated (packed)
- 1 cup (113g) mozzarella (packed)
- ¾ cup (170g) IPA beer
- 1 tbs (8g) cornstarch
- ½ tsp (2g) smoked paprika
- ½ tsp (2g) garlic powder
- ½ tsp (3g) salt
- ½ tsp (2g) pepper
- 1 cup (172g) cooked black beans (rinsed and drained)
- 1 cup (135) corn kernels
- 1 cup (140g) diced bell pepper
- 1 small jalapeno, diced (seeds and internal membrane removed for lower heat)
- 1 avocado, diced
- ¼ cup (28g) cilantro, chopped
- Preheat oven to 350.
- Add the cream cheese, cheddar, mozzarella, beer, cornstarch, smoked paprika, garlic powder, salt and pepper to a blender. Blend until smooth.
- Add to a large oven safe bowl, stir in the black beans, corn, bell pepper, and jalapeno.
- Bake at 350 for 15 minutes or until warmed through.
- Remove from oven, top with avocado and cilantro, serve warm.