Malty Vienna Lager Paired with Southwestern Stuffed Sweet Potatoes
Cinco de Mayo is merely three weeks away. (And so is...my wedding...when did that sneak up on me?) To commemorate the upcoming holiday, my blogging buddy Kristi from South of Vanilla and I are doing a few collaboration posts celebrating food and wine pairings of Mexico!
First up--We have her amazing Paleo-diet take on tacos, using sweet potatoes! Who knew cinco de mayo could be so healthy? Kristi started her blog about a year ago and focuses on recipes that reflect her primative, paleo-diet lifestyle. Now, I'm not usually one to follow diets (and unfortunately, beer, spirits and wine usually don't fit into the majority of diet regimens) but I'm a big supporter of the Paleo ideology. I'm a big fan of avoiding processed foods at all costs, and many of her recipes allow me to do that. Like this recipe--who would have thought to substitute tortillas for sweet potatoes?! Genius.
I've decided to pair this recipe with my favorite, easy-drinking Mexican beer. No, its not Corona...
Vienna-style lager. What is it? Have you ever even heard of it? It is actually a fairly common beer but has somehow been neglected by the craft beer world as a recognized style. Us beer snobs like to associate one commonly-known beer with it, and that would be the Mexican brand Negra Modelo. Why wouldn't we associate a beer from Austria with it?? Because, my friends, unfortunately this style of beer is nearly extinct in its homeland of Vienna. Thanks to the Mexicans, though, the style lives on!
Fun fact: the Hapsburg dynasty of Austria ruled Mexico for three short years. The Mexicans quickly kicked them out, but did like the Vienna-style beer, however, so kept it...along with the polka music. That's right, the Polka-sounding Mexican music we still hear today actually originated while Mexico was under Austrian rule. Isn't it cool how beer opens up a world of historical facts??
Although not as malty as the original Vienna lagers, Negra Modelo exemplifies the style in a very easy-drinking, modern-approach way. Vienna lagers have a rich malty aroma while keeping a clean lager character. They are usually amber or copper colored and have a great, aromatic, off-white foam head. On the palate, you really get that malty breadiness from the Vienna malt, sometimes with a toasty (but not roasted!) characteristic. Hops are there but are well-balanced. This is not a hoppy beer by any means. If you generally like Oktoberfest beers, this is another style to try.
This easy-drinking dark lager goes hand in hand with South of Vanilla's Southwestern Stuffed Sweet Potatoes. Now, essentially, this recipe is a healthy, paleo-version of the Mexican taco. I love pairing complex dishes like this one with dark beers. Especially malty ones, like Vienna Lager! The sweetness from the potatoes match with the sweetness in the malt. The balanced hops stand up to the ground beef, and altogether, the many flavors of the taco toppings aren't overpowered by any element in the beer. And thanks to the crisp, dry finish of the beer, each new bite of the taco will seem like your first. For this pairing, you don't want any beer that's TOO dark and roasty, which may overpower the more delicate flavors you get from the guacamole and salsa, so a caramel-toned beer like this really solves the equation. Plus, tacos with good Mexican beer? You shouldn't have it any other way! Click here to get the recipe!
Other Examples of Vienna Lager
Although you should DEFINITELY drink Negra Modelo with this Cinco de Mayo dish, there are other great examples of Vienna Lager to try out there:
- Gordon Biersch Vienna Lager
- Brooklyn Lager
- Saratoga Lager
- Penn Pilsner
- Old Dominion Aviater Amber Lager