Beer Or Wine – The Perfect Chili Pairing

As a foodie and an admirer of both craft beer and fine wines, I often wonder what the perfect food pairing is.  What follows is a monthly debate on just that.  Once a month I’ll toss out a food for pairing suggestions from my fellow beer geeks and wine nerds.  Some dishes will come with a convention that popular opinion dictates a specific pairing.  Other posts will present a dish that is a toss-up between beer or wine.  I look forward to hearing your suggestions in this conversation.  Be creative, challenge norms, have fun, and check back often to read what others have to say.   

This month’s pairing challenge comes from Megs at If It Falls on the Floor and is specific to a recipe from her new cookbook.  I warn you.  This isn’t your typical, serve as a side item with a salad at lunch chili.  No, this is a mouth on fire, call homeland security cause some nukes went off, 12 alarm, I’m breathing fire like a dragon, it’s going to hurt tomorrow chili.  Yeah.  It’s hot.  Just look at the ingredients below!  (For more on the recipe, check out this link)

Beef and Stout Beer Chili

Beef and Stout Beer Chili

  • 1½ tbsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp. ground coriander
  • 5 lbs. ground chuck (lean)
  • 2 tbsp. oil
  • 2½ lbs. onions, chopped
  • 1½ lbs. red bell peppers, chopped
  • 1½ lbs. green bell peppers, chopped  (make the spouse do the chopping!)
  • 3 cloves garlic (or more), minced
  • 2-3 large jalapeno chili with seeds, chopped
  • 7 tbsp. chili powder
  • 2 tbsp. canned chipotle chili in adobo sauce (or more), minced
  • 2 – 28-oz. cans crushed tomatoes with added puree
  • 2 – 15-oz. cans kidney beans
  • 2 bottles dark beer + one for yourself
Maybe Some Green Chile Wine?

Maybe Some Green Chile Wine?

Holy shit!!!  3 large jalapeno chilies with seeds, 7 tablespoons of chili powder, and 2 tablespoons of canned chipotle chilies in adobo sauce!?!?!?!?  At first glance, I was thinking something along the lines of an American Strong Ale.  Big malt and big hops to match a hearty chili made with bell peppers, beef, beans, and stout beer.  Then I read the heat and suggest a fire-hose of milk to extinguish the flames.  If you are more man than me, then I’d recommend Stone’s Arrogant Bastard.  But be careful, with the heat level and the high ABV of 7.2%, it might just be an early night for you.

What about you?  What beer or wine would you pair with chili raising this kind of heat?

15 responses to “Beer Or Wine – The Perfect Chili Pairing

      • My husband can take even more heat than I can, but even he agrees that at a certain point it just gets macho-stupid. I recently tasted a hot sauce that was seriously like eating gasoline. Heat without flavor, just for it’s power to hospitalize me, is to me, macho-stupid.

        This would probably suit Ken well though. It does sound like it would be flavorful, and he can eat a LOT of jalapenos.

  1. Oooof. That’s some crazy chili you’ve got there. No way I could do it. As for a pairing? I’d probably go beer. COLD and light. And follow with a Pepto Bismol chaser . . . Salud!

  2. After eating this, I think Cerberus will guarding my butt. I am more of the wine guy than beer. Though, my beer recommendation would use the same beer I used in the chili. On the wine, I always go with the Todd Helton of wine pairing answers (answer to many Baseball trivia questions) and drink a Beaujolais. For me, it’s just great easy drinking wine. Though your wine choice has to be low tannin, which would result in possibly higher acid. Last thing you want is your wine making you more thirsty.

    Actually, in celebration of the cooler temps, we had tamer chili (compared to this) this week. We drank with an Argentinian Malbec, which did well. And with leftovers the next day, we did a Crozes-Hermitage (100% Syrah). Both didn’t try to battle the chili, but let the good times roll. I am more biased to the Syrah, but either of the three mentioned are good.

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