Pairing Food with Negra Modelo

During the last year, I’ve been writing more about beer pairing dinners. As more people discover good beer, the popularity of pairing beer with food will continue to grow. I recently received an interesting package from the folks at Negra Modelo. As you might expect, it contained beer (as well as matching glasses). But it also included four jars of spice rubs from The Spice House.  

The brewery suggested I use the spices to make a few dishes to pair with Negra Modelo. In full disclosure, they also included a gift card to buy the needed groceries. Since I like to cook (in addition to making beer), I thought it would be a fun and tasty project.

The label on each of the spice jars provided suggested uses. Since I couldn't decide which one to use, I endeavored to make a trio of meats. Mind you, I'm not a huge meat eater, but this seemed like the perfect opportunity to indulge. I gave each of the proteins a solid rub down with different seasonings. I used Bavarian Seasoning on the lamb chop. Bicentennial Seasoning on the chicken breasts, and Quebec Beef Spice on—you guessed it, the beef!

Negra Modelo is a Vienna Lager. The style features a malty sweetness that's balanced by hops, but not overly bitter. I thought it would make a good marinade, so I poured some beer over the lamb and beef and let it rest in the fridge for a few hours.

I roasted the chicken in the oven for about 40 minutes and grilled the lamb and beef in a pan for about 8 minutes each. I did a pretty decent job because the chicken was moist and the lamb and beef were cooked to medium-rare, my desired temperature.

So then it came time for the pairing! The beer itself has flavors of toasted and caramel malts. It has mild earthy hop flavors in the middle, and finishes with subtle nutty notes. It paired nicely with each of the proteins, but my favorite combination was with the roasted chicken. In general, I think chicken tends to be somewhat flavorless. The beer's malt sweetness combined with the spice rub (flaked salt, cracked Tellicherry pepper, sugar, minced orange peel, coriander, and turmeric) combined to provide a very flavorful combination! The beer marinade also helped to keep the lamb and beef tender.

Beer is an ideal complement to food. You can use it in the preparation of your meal, pair it with food, or both! Celebrity Chef Rick Bayless has partnered with Negra Modela to create some recipes that will pair nicely with the beer. Or if you're more adventuresome, create your own recipes or pairings. Don't overthink it—try different combinations, see what works best for you, and have fun!

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