Extra Special Bitter

Roasted Chicken paired with English Pale Ale

Today I went grocery shopping. Not one of those fun grocery adventures, but one that you cringe while checking out, seeing that your bill is over $100 and there's still a pile of stuff on the conveyer belt...

Luckily, we rarely spend this much money on groceries. As I looked at my receipt as I was walking to my car, almost everything I had bought was under $2...except for that $15 pack of pork chops and $10 thing of ribs. Okay, I'll spend my money on meat, that's okay :)

Everything I buy at the grocery store is in its raw form--fruits, veggies, meat...except for the 3 boxes of Kraft Mac and Cheese I just need for those lazy nights and sliced bread (who has time to make bread?!) But it always depresses me seeing people buying frozen dinners, boxed rice-pilafs, even pre-seasoned frozen veggies...it would be a lot cheaper if these people took the time to learn how to make these things from scratch! Maybe its laziness, maybe its time, but its probably more of a reason that people just don't know how to cook, and were never taught how. I'm one of these people, who only 6 years ago though that something as simple as roasting a chicken would be hours of preparation and a day slaving away in the kitchen.

I couldn't have been more wrong, as I now obviously know that roasting a chicken is one of the easiest dinners you can make! You literally just put together a herb blend, rub it on the chicken, and throw it in the oven! And after everyone has enjoyed their dinner, you usually have some leftovers for another night and a carcass to make homemade chicken stock, which is also super easy! You get so much more for your money with a whole chicken than wasting your time with boneless, skinless chicken breasts...I wish I could break my habit :)

The Pairing

Roasted Chicken goes with so many beers, it was truly hard to pick one. I chose Alaskan ESB (Extra Special Bitter), a seasonal beer from Alaskan Brewing Company. I love beers from this brewery, their smoked porter is to DIE FOR. This example is a bit hoppy for a traditional English ESB, but a great American-Craft interpretation.

ESBs (Extra Special Bitter) is literally the same thing as English Pale Ales--I could get confusing and tell you the different levels of English bitters, but just trust me in knowing this is the same style of beer as if you picked out a Pale Ale from an English brewery. ESBs are nice and malty (caramelly, biscuity) which pair perfectly with roasted chicken. Mmmm I want them together again right now! Anyway, the nice caramelization you get on the skin of the roasted chicken is going to line up with the caramel in the beer--a match made in heaven. The carbonation is going to cut right through the crackling fattiness of the skin and will make each bite as exciting as the first. Are you getting thirsty yet? :)

DO NOT use an American Pale Ale or any IPA in this pairing--it will be too hoppy. Of course, do what you please, but I say with this dish, keep it English.

Other fun English Pale Ales/ESBs to pair this with:

  • Old Speckled Hen
  • Fullers ESB
  • Bass Ale
  • Anderson Valley Boont ESB
  • Redhook ESB

Not a Beer Drinker? These are Your Wine Options:

  • Oregon Pinot Noir
  • Red Burgundy
  • California Chardonnay
  • Beaujolais

Recipe Adapted from thehungryhousewife.com


Roasted Chicken paired with English Pale Ale

Prep time: 10 mins

Cook time: 1 hour

Total time: 1 hour 10 mins

Serves: 3-4

Ingredients

  • One 3-4 lb whole chicken (use however large of a bird you want, just adjust cooking time)
  • 1/2 Cup softened butter
  • 2 Tbsp fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp coarse kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper

Instructions

  1. Optional--a day ahead, rinse and dry the chicken and place it on a rack on a 9x13 roasting pan. This helps dry the skin out so it becomes nice and crispy.
  2. If you don't have time to wait to cook, rinse and dry the chicken with some paper towels before proceeding
  3. Preheat oven to 425 degrees
  4. Mix butter, oil, herbs, salt, and pepper in a bowl
  5. Spread the butter mixture all over the bird, top and bottom, legs and cavity
  6. With your fingers, reach under the skin of the chicken to separate from the meat. Spread the butter in this area too, as deep as you can reach (without breaking off the skin!)
  7. Place chicken back on the rack of the 9x13 pan and roast in the oven until juices run clear when pierced between breast and leg. Depending on the weight of the chicken, this is about and hour to an hour and a half (keep an eye on it after 45 minutes...when the skin is looking nice and crispy, it is close to being done).
  8. Allow to rest for 20 minutes before carving