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.
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!
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.