Pairing Challenge

Enchiladas Pairing Challenge – The Vote

I don’t think Bryan from This is Why I am Drunk realized what a reaction he would get from two ladies when he picked enchiladas for June’s Beer Versus Wine Challenge.  The first is Megs from If It Falls on the Floor.  Anyone who has checked out her blog knows how New Mexico proud she is.  In fact, in her novel suggestion below she is outright giddy.  The second lady is Mrs. G.  She is as proud of her Texas background as Megs is about her New Mexican.

But can you blame them?  Who doesn’t love a gooey, cheesy enchilada drenched in a spicy red sauce?  In fact, I am getting hungry just thinking about one.  Topped with sour cream and fresh cilantro.  Ok, my mouth is watering now.  Why oh why are we on a diet when the best Mexican in Charlotte is two blocks away???  And toss in some farm, fresh summer ingredients to brighten up the dish.  And I’m eating fish tonight???

Chicken Enchiladas with Red Sauce

Chicken Enchiladas with Red Sauce (Photos Courtesy of

Let’s take a look at this month’s contestants!

  • If It Falls on the Floor – Negra Modelo – Is it the best beer in the world? No. Is it a great beer? Not when compared to specialty brews. But it is a great enchiladas fit when ordering a big fat one at a Mexican taqueria on a Friday night after work. It’s one of those flavorful Mexican beers that is a one-size-fits-all for whatever you end up ordering while at the comedor.  Negra Modelo is widely available in Mexican eateries from the dingiest taco truck to the classiest of restaurants. It is made more or less in the Vienna lager style with a toasty, caramelly sweetness that compliments spicy foods such as the enchilada. Negra Modelo has a boldness to match tomato-based salsas and sauces, and doesn’t take the focus away from the guts of the flat big boy smothered in cheese and spicy red chili sauce.  Oh, yeah! Enchiladas and Negra Modelo! Dinner at my house, 6:00 p.m. on Saturday. You bring the beer, I’ll make the dinner!
  • Wander and Wine – Yum! Enchiladas are my specialty! Beer seems like the obvious choice, but I’m going to stick to the wine for this challenge and choose two different types. For white, I’d say Torrontes – especially if the enchiladas are spicy. It’s got enough acidity to cut through the spice and richness of the cheese, as well as a nice crispness to refresh the palate. For red, I’ll say Petite Sirah. Random, I know, but I think it is robust and rich enough to pair well with the heavy cheese and meat without losing its characteristics.
  • Beer in My Belly – I’m still finding my pairing legs, but I would love to try a nice India Pale Lager beside the Enchiladas. The hoppy character will play well with the cumin and cilantro as well as the Mexican cheese, while the clean lager character will help to brighten the palate and keep the meal from weighing down your tongue. For specifics, I would consider Smuttynose Brewing Company’s new Big Beer series beer, Frankenlager. At 6.1% ABV it carries a nice grain bill, while its showcased hop is the German Saphir, which is not quite as overpowering as some of the new American hops. With a softer, yet still succulent and citrusy hop character, as well as a mellowing malt underbelly, Frankenlager will be able to spice up the dish’s cilantro and cumin, while providing some malt to play with the rich red sauce and the softly bready tortilla, as well as smooth out the back of the palate with a clean, bright body. All that said, I recently became badly lactose intolerant so I can no longer eat enchiladas (unless I use vegan cheese which is just not as fun… t’is a sad day for me) so I have no way of trying out my response for sure. Cheers.
  • Talkavino – I would go with beer, probably either amber ale or a porter. I think Enchilada is quite challenging for the wine
  • The Wandering Sheppard – When it comes to enchiladas, I would probably open a Rhone or Spanish mix – GSM (Grenache/Grenacha, Syrah, Mouvedre/Monstrall). For me it is a good pair against the heat and weight of the sauce smothering the tortillas.
  • @mocha_y – Idc what I’m eating – the only wine I drink is Pinot Grigio. Love, love, love.
  • @corri_roberts – For beer, a Corona Light with Lime #beer and a Malbec for the #wine.
  • Arthur in the Garden – It all depends on the flavor you are seeking-wine with lighter flavors and I prefer beer with heaver food!  Lately I have been all over Big Boss’- Bad Penny!
  • The Wandering Gourmand – I’m going to class it up and suggest Black Box Malbec. Box wine what? Yeah, you read correctly. I think of enchiladas as an easy to toss together week night meal. We normally don’t pop good wine during the week or open pricey craft beers (we’re frugal). Black Box actually makes some decent weeknight red table wines. I wanted to pick a white for this pairing but find most boxed whites to be too acidic. The Malbec has a nice medium mouth feel which would nicely compliment a semi-heavy dish.
Farm Fresh Toppers for Enchiladas

Farm Fresh Toppers for Enchiladas (Photos Courtesy of

Don’t forget to vote by June 17!