How to Pair Wine and Beer with Spicy Foods?

Hi everyone,

I’m planning a dinner party for my son’s completing successfully gen ai training and I organise a surprise party for him and featuring a variety of spicy dishes, and I’m curious about the best wines and beers to pair with them. I’m wondering about the best wines and beers to go with all that spice. I hear some drinks can cool things down or even turn up the heat, but I’m not sure which ones to pick.

For wine, should I go sweet, dry, or bubbly? And are there certain types of beer that are better with spicy food?

Any advice you have on wine and beer pairings for spicy dishes would be awesome! Feel free to share your personal favorites too!

Thanks a bunch!

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The stock answer is sweet wines like German rieslings.

My answer is sparkling wine like Champagne.

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Champagne works great, Wine House has Champagne Lanson (Black lable brute) for 30 something which is pretty much a classic reference champagne, very minerally and great with food. Cheap enough to get several bottles.

I personally like Wheat Beers (Hefeweizen). These beers have a slight sweetness and smooth texture that can complement spicy dishes well.

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For spicy Asian food we’ve enjoyed pairing with Gruner. Not too sweet but a good compliment to the heat and flavors.

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Disclaimer: I don’t drink.

I normally would’ve assumed that a hoppy beer would work well to cut through the spice, but science supports the sweeter recs mentioned here:

I find most IPAs and other hoppy beers not food-friendly in general. I find it annoying when a restaurant has say ten beers and eight are IPAs.

The flavor profiles of IPAs (and beers in general across all beer styles) gave dramatically increased over the last 5-10 years. With pretty much endless possible combinations of hops varieties and other additions (oats for mouthfeel etc etc) you can easily pair IPAs with many different types of dishes (similar to wines). Most people associate IPA with “just hoppy beer” when there are so many different variation (and even increases if we include closely related varieties like cold IPA, IPL, brut IPA or milkshake IPA$

I generally don’t like high-IBU beers with food, though I like most of them on their own.

Do you mean bitter beers ? - IBU is often associated with bitterness even though higher IBU doesn’t mean higher perceived bitterness. There are many beers with high IBU (IBU measurement tend to mainly focus on lupulin measurements which is just one component of perceived bitterness) which have low perceived bitterness, IPA and other styles like stouts and porters

I wish breweries made more brut IPA. Haven’t seen many lately. Low IBU low ABV and dry. The ones I had paired very well with food.

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I just go by taste but beers labeled IPA or with high IBUs generally aren’t food-friendly for me. I think it’s about the hops. There’s a lingering bitterness that’s refreshing on its own but makes other things taste off.

Brut IPA is not a beer term I knew! Sounds interesting maybe I’ll ask at F.O… next time I stop by


In my experience they are quite rare to find and not many breweries are making this style. It is sometimes called champagne of beers as it has a similar very dry profile - it is worth trying out when you can find it (and I think it could pair with oysters quite nicely) but at least for me it is not something I continuously try to find at shops or restaurants

Brut IPA is a recent invention. Amyloglucosidase is added to ferment the beer bone-dry.

“The Champagne of Bottled Beers” was an advertising slogan for Miller High Life.

Are you saying that stouts and porters have a high IBU… When I’ve had some stouts or porters (it’s all Greek to me, so I don’t recall which), I can sometimes taste a distinct bitterness (b/f the sweetness hits). But I never thought of those 2 as “bitter,” so it’s interesting to read that they have high IBU (and I realize you’ve also stated that high IBU does not always correlated w/ perceived bitterness).

Guiness for example has an IBU of 50. Many stouts are in the 20-40 IBU range and Imperial stouts are often 50-80. So, it us not surprising that you taste a clear bitterness in them - but the roasted malt notes (often with even sweetness in the background) make the perceived bitterness of stouts relatively low

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