What Kind of Beer Pairs With Fajitas?

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Choosing the right beer to go with a meal means taking into account how the beer's flavors will interact with those in the food. Some dishes go with only a limited number of beers. But fajitas can contain a wide variety of ingredients; as a result, a wide variety of different beers can complement this meal.

Fajitas With Beer

  • Some fajita recipes call for beer as part of a marinade, particularly beef fajitas. Beer in the marinade helps tenderize the meat and imparts a subtle, malty richness. One way to choose a beer to match this type of recipe is simply to serve the same beer used in cooking. Although the two beers are the same, the process of cooking will have altered the flavor of the beer used in the fajitas, typically enhancing its sweetness. The bitterness of the beer in the glass and the softer, maltier taste of the beer in the food should complement each other.

Mexican Beers

  • Fajitas are a traditional Mexican dish, so traditional Mexican beers are a good choice to drink with them. Mexico's brewing tradition began in earnest in the 19th century, when German, Swiss and Austrian immigrants brought their brewing traditions to the country. Most Mexican beers are light lagers, but darker Vienna-style lagers are another good choice for Mexican food. These lagers, with their light malt flavor and dry finish, complement the flavors of grilled meat without overwhelming them.

Spicy Food

  • Not all fajitas are spicy, but those that are can benefit from the right beer choice. Many drinkers choose lighter lagers, preferably ice-cold, to go with spicy dishes, but darker beers such as oatmeal stout can also pair with very hot food. The robust, sweet flavors of these beers survive contact with highly spiced fajitas. Versatile amber ales also make a good accompaniment to spicy food if you don't enjoy the heavier stouts.

Beer and Meat

  • Because fajitas can have such a wide range of ingredients, it's difficult to generalize about which beers will go with them. One method is to choose a beer based on the meat in the dish. As a rough rule of thumb, dark beers are more similar to red wine, going well with red meat, while lagers and light ales go well with the same foods as white wine. For instance, the light, yeasty flavor of weissbier complements the delicate flavors of chicken. However, there are many exceptions. For instance, red ales go well with chicken and seafood.

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