It’s well known that nothing washes a good curry down quite like a nice cold beer. And this isn’t just a modern phenomenon, the tradition dates back to the 1920s when Prince Axel of Denmark visited London’s Veeraswamy (the UK’s oldest surviving Indian restaurant) and brought with him his own barrel of Carlsberg. He was so impressed with the combination that he arranged for Veeraswamy to receive a regular supply of Carlsberg, and so it took off. That’s all well and good but given the range flavours that currys have to offer, surely some beers compliment certain currys more than a pint of Carlsberg or one the industry favourites like Kingfisher, Tiger and Chang? So here’s my guide to pairing your favourite curry with the perfect beer.
Chicken Tikka Masala and Thornbridge Jaipur
The British curry house classic, and my personal favourite. The simple yet deliciously creamy medium-spiced curry is the epitome of what indian cuisine offers. Thornbridge Jaipur IPA really puts the Indian in Indian Pale Ale, it’s wonderful hop, citrus and honey infused taste really compliments the flavours of the Tikka Masalas spices in a great way, leaving a slightly sweet almost floral aftertaste. All highly hopped gassy IPAs go really well with strongly flavoured curries!
Vegetable Korma and Krombacher
One of the mildest currys out there and often given a hard time for it. However when done well a Korma is a wonderful smooth and creamy blend of mild spices often containing coconut and sultanas. Krombacher is a classic mild tasting, gassy German style Pilsner, it accompanies the Korma perfectly ensuring the mild flavours aren’t overpowered, without any bitter aftertaste.
Lamb Jalfrezi and Pilsner Urquell
The hottest curry we have on offer, the Jalfrezi has an intense flavour with a thick, dry sauce leaving a slightly bitter aftertaste. Like most Indian curries Jalfrezi can be made with pretty much any meat but we’ve gone for lamb which gives it even more flavour. As such you need a strongly flavoured beer to combat it such as Pilsner Urquell, with its spicy hops and underlying sweetness it cuts through the intense flavours of the Jalfrezi without taking away from it.
Thai Green Curry and Saison Dupont
A bit of a curveball here. Its aromatic flavours coming through from the coconut, fish sauce and lemongrass, conveys a very different taste to the traditional indian dishes we’ve looked at so far. A Saison beer is a good choice here, with its tropical hops and peppery spiciness it works with the sweetness of the Thai curry perfectly. Saison beers are often hard to come across, however they should be available at most supermarkets Saison Dupont is a classic example.