Beer and curry – it’s a classic partnership that’s been enjoyed for years across the UK, and there’s no doubt an ice-cold lager goes down a treat with your Friday night takeaway. But, if you’re ready to take it to a different level, then you need to start experimenting with some of the craft ales that are shaking up the beer and food partnerships at the moment.
Curry and beer are a match made in heaven because of two factors: the bubbles and the hops. The bubbles cleanse the palate, preparing it for each new mouthful, so you can really experience the spices. The bitterness of the hops, on the other hand, is great at cutting through the heat and spice. For those of you who like a really spicy curry – the stronger the ABV of the beer you’re drinking, the hotter the curry will taste!
Lagers and Indian pale ales are the most popular choices with curry, and for good reason. They have that perfect blend of carbonation and hoppy bitterness. But wheat beers, blonde ales and even milk stouts can work brilliantly with a curry too. It’s because they share similar flavour profiles with plenty of rich and delicious spice notes like coriander, cardamom and ginger.
Start at the less spicy, creamier end of things with a good lager and a chicken korma. The gentle sweetness and light fizz of Cobra works brilliantly with either korma or our classic butter chicken. Try a wheat beer with the more intense flavours of our vegetarian dishes, and take your pick from out tandoori grill with a dangerously delicious IPA.
With a flavour bomb like our Madras curry, choose an IPA where the hops have been turned up to maximum volume – it’s a match made in heaven. And, if you love the rich and earthy flavours of our lamb dishes, then try a full-bodied stout.
While some foodies might turn up their noses at the prospect of pairing cider with food, with the onset of more varieties to the market and the greater appreciation of the craft of cider, this attitude is changing. Cider is, of course, a fruit-based drink and very much like wine, it can be sweet or dry, quite still or very sparkling. Cider’s depth of flavour can complement certain types of food and dishes.
Depending on how hot you like your curries, a nice cold cider can be a perfect match to these. Or if you prefer a milder curry, such as a Korma or Passanda and a medium dry cider goes well with these.
Prosecco has become THE sparkling wine over the past few years and this summer has seen it really take off! Understandable really, given it's fresh, fun and (most importantly) very affordable.
Prosecco is not only fun to drink it is incredibly versatile and can be paired with a wide range of foods.
Its high acidity and low alcohol content means it can cut through rich foods.
In fact, seafood and Prosecco is a match made in foodie heaven. From Thai curries, South Kerelan prawn dishes to grilled salmon and bombay potatoes, the Prosecco acts like a squeeze of lemon and enhances the dish.
The bubbles are also excellent to cool down spicy Asian foods and refresh the palate between mouthfuls. Prosecco and Thai/Indian curry was a revelation!
Malaysian and Chinese dishes are traditionally based around tart tamarind, sour lime, pungent fish sauce and creamy coconut milk with lots of garlic and ginger. You might normally slurp down bowlfuls of this with a cold beer in Asia, but the laksa’s exotic blend of herbs and spice also cosies up to a crisp bottle of wine nicely.
While an extra-dry white – like an American pinot gris with its hint of stone fruit and subtle spice – is an obvious choice, Malaysian flavours also sing next to more unexpected pairings. Think crisp Spanish cava or aromatic reds from the Burgundy region.
Indian dishes like this lentil and cauliflower curry are traditionally built on layers of delicately wrought spice and pastes and a single meal can be made from at least ten different ingredients, from toasted cardamom pods to ground cumin and sliced red chillies.
Vegetarian dishes made for the acidic, lemony fizz of a sparkling wine, while punchier Indian plates such as the fiery lamb rogan josh call for reds packed with ripe red fruit like a peppery syrah or full-bodied grenache.