Jalapeno Poppers Paired with IPA

Game-day Hot-day Cold-day Whatever-Day, snacking on jalapeno poppers with a cold glass of IPA will make whatever time you're having a better one.

I made these jalapeno poppers on a whim last Sunday. Andrew and I had a fairly late brunch and it was nearing 4:00...so...I think we missed the mark for lunchtime. Thirty minutes later, we had successfully devoured all of the poppers, leaving no trace that I had ever even made them. The beer was gone pretty quick too.

The Pairing

I've always read that IPAs heighten the heat of spicy food, so I've stayed away from them as a pairing. With my Polish roots and Midwestern upbringing of eating meat and potatoes without any seasonings, I've had to really work at handling spicy dishes since venturing out of the meat-and-potato diet. However, as these poppers were coming out of the oven, an IPA just seemed so good with them. So I opened up my go-to, Great Basin Brewery's "Icky" IPA.

Me-oh-my what a pairing! IPAs do heighten the heat of spicy food, but in a good, refreshing way. The bitter hops in the beer react with the pepper-sweet heat from the jalapenos all while complementing the fattiness you get from the cheese. Its a great pairing. Just make sure you don't pick an IPA that has an overwhelming amount of hops/bitterness in it, like an Imperial IPA. If you get a beer that has way too much going on in it, it'll overpower the jalapeno popper and you won't be able to taste anything. So keep it a simple IPA, yo!

The Recipe

I think almost all variations of jalapeno poppers will work with IPAs (yes, even the bacon-wrapped ones everyone on pinterest seems to be going nuts for right now). I wanted to keep it simple, so I found this great recipe for a 3-cheese jalapeno popper topped with panko bread crumbs on Damn Delicious' Blog (I have made so many of her recipes...she's really got some good stuff on her site). I love the recipe I used because it was quick, easy, and a nice presentation. The only problem is I didn't double the recipe--we could have ate those poppers all day long!

Other Libations You Can Serve with Jalapeno Poppers

If IPA isn't your thing, don't worry, there are some other great beers (and wines!) that will quench your thirst. Here are some of my picks:

  • Traditional Pilsner--these have a good amount of hops that will react with the spice of the poppers like the IPA does, but won't give you as much bitterness. Also, some breweries are marketing "hoppy pilsners", like Firestone Walker's "Pivo Pils"...those would be great too.
  • Grapefruit Beer--the last beer fest I went to had like 10 grapefruit beers from different breweries; they seem to be all the rage right now. The fruitiness will complement the jalapeno very nicely
  • Sauvignon Blanc--the most refreshing wine in my opinion, most sauvignon blancs have flavors of jalapeno in them anyway. This is my go-to wine for all dishes with some decent spice to them. Go for a sauvignon blanc from Chile or New Zealand for this pairing.

Happy Pairing!

Hawaiian Mac Salad Paired With Mana Wheat Ale

I told my friend from Illinois I was going to do a post on my blog about Hawaiian Mac Salad. She asked me what that was. WHAAA?!?!! Then I realized—oh, I didn’t know what Hawaiian Mac Salad was before I moved out here either. I guess Hawaiian Mac Salad is kind of exclusive to Hawaii, and uh, Las Vegas. That and ABC stores. Thank you Hawaiian population :) We are so lucky to have both of these things out here.

There is only one thing you need to know about Hawaiian Mac Salad: MAYONNAISE. Seriously. That is what makes the Mac Salad Hawaiian. And it will always be a little sweet. I went to a party last weekend for my Hawaiian friend (it was so legit, they had an entire pit-roasted pig sitting on the counter) and had some of their mac salad—sweet mayo-y heaven. And luckily, it was very close to the recipe I’ve made below. Mmmm. I may have gotten 2nds...or 3rds....of it.

The Pairing

I went on a limb for this one, trying to find a good beer to accompany the sweetness of the salad. As I was browsing the enormous beer selection at the store, I couldn’t really find anything I liked, so I grabbed a Maui Brewing Company Mana wheat ale to go with the whole Hawaiian theme. It wasn’t until I got home and popped a top that I realized it had Pineapple juice brewed right in with it…ohhhhh man, what a pairing!

This beer goes with the salad like peanut butter and jelly. The beer is sweet, the salad is sweet. The carbonation of the beer lifts all that delicious mayo fattiness off your tongue. And the chicken recipe I’ve also paired with the salad has pineapple juice right in the marinade. There couldn’t have been a better match. I’m so proud of myself.

The Maui Brewing Company Mana Wheat is a unique beer…as I said, it is sweet, and the pineapple juice in it is very prominent. Look at the picture below...doesn't it look like a glass of orange juice?! It’s a great beer for a hot day as it is light and spritzy. It almost drinks like a sauvignon blanc (similar tropical fruit notes in it) if you’re a wine fan and want to venture out. Or it’s a great beer to give to your friends that only want a “sweet” beverage. I think this beer is best drank on its own or with other sweet foods. It would also go well with barbecued foods with sweet sauces or even with ice cream, like an Orange-Julius.

The Recipe

The recipe I’ve provided was adapted from I Believe I Can Fry—check out her site for a little background on Hawaiian Mac Salad! Her recipe makes a great base and I added some seasonings for added flavor. You can add whatever you want to this salad to make it your own…tuna and olives seem to be common additions, but not my thing. You can serve this with my Hawaiian Chicken recipe or at your next BBQ, or heck, just to have it on its own! But I’m warning you, you will probably be hooked after your first bite and soon enough will be dreaming about the next time you can have it.

Sweet Mayo Hawaiian Mac Salad

Author: Dani

Prep time: 15 mins

Cook time: 2 hours

Total time: 2 hours 15 mins

Serves: 6-8


  • 1 lb elbow macaroni noodles
  • 1/2 Cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 Cups Hellman's (aka Best Foods) mayonnaise, divided
  • 2 Cups whole milk, divided
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp onion powder
  • 2 medium carrots, shredded
  • 1 stalk celery, minced very small
  • 2 green onions, heavily chopped


  1. Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. Put macaroni in pot and bring back to a boil. Let cook for 12-15 minutes, until VERY soft. Drain and place back in pot.
  2. Immediately pour apple cider vinegar over the macaroni. Stir to combine evenly. Let cool for about 10 minutes
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together 1 1/2 Cups of the milk and 1 Cup of the mayonnaise. Add brown sugar, garlic powder, and onion powder.
  4. After the pasta has cooled for approx. 10 minutes, combine the mayonnaise mixture with the macaroni. Cover pasta and place in the refrigerator until it has cooled completely.
  5. When completely cooled, add the final 1 Cup of Mayonnaise and 1/2 Cup of Milk. Stir in the carrots, celery, and onions. Place in refrigerator until ready to serve.
  6. **Salad gets better with time! If you can resist eating it, let the flavors meld overnight before serving!**