I’m a bit of a wine snob. I’ll admit it. Especially when it comes to good food. A quality steak should only be paired with a big, bold red wine. No fruit bombs here. I want something serious and complex, something to tease my palette. This is actually the eleventh commandment. Serious food equals serious wine.
Saturday night I found myself in a bind. Two ribeyes were sitting on the counter warming up to room temperature before grilling. What to serve with them? A seductive Cabernet Sauvignon? An inky Petit Syrah? A Malbec fit for an asado in the Argentinian campo? I opened my wine vault intrigued by the possibilities only to find it dry. I have been so busy remodeling the basement over the previous months that I failed to take action on my depleting wine stash until it was too late.
I remembered a duecer of New Holland El Molé I had chilled in the fridge. Intrigued by the craft beer movement, I thought this could be it. I had been wanting to branch out and substitute wine with craft beer for various meals for quite some time. My reluctance to change prevented me from doing this. Why fix something that ain’t broke, right? And a perfect food wine pairing ain’t broke. Now was the chance – I had no other options other than the El Molé.
The beer was quite awesome. Lips smacking, mouthwatering awesome. The color surprised me. I was expecting a black,
stout color. The pour was a medium brown with a medium head action. The flavors were everything one would expect from a Mexican molé dish. Coffee and chocolate flavors playing nicely together with a spicy, chile finish – just like any authentic molé dish. Not too spicy though. It was definitely a beer that could have begged a few more glasses.
As for the pairing? Steak was the correct choice. However, the Bobby Flay recipe I was following didn’t quite pair up well. The rub was aggressively spiced with ancho chiles, cumin, paprika, and ground mustard accompanied by a sweet and spicy steak sauce. The spices of the steak did not mesh well with the bold flavors of the brew. I would serve it again with steak though, just not one as strongly flavored. A simple marinade of soy, Worcestershire, and garlic would be perfect.
I walked away from the dinner intrigued by what other meals I can substitute wines for craft beers. Any ideas on spaghetti with marinara anyone?