Paired with Basil Beers

All About Beer Magazine - Volume 37, Issue 3
July 1, 2016 By
Thai Curry Mussels with Chinese Sausage
(Photo by Cinzia Reale-Castello)

Mussels, like many beers, are delicate in flavor and texture but when mixed with big flavors become harmonious. I have always loved the pot of mussels and a Belgian ale combination that has made brasseries around the world famous. I love spice and how it can warm you in the cold months and help to cool you in the heat, so this combination makes for a delicious year-round starter or light summer entrée. The Bruery’s Trade Winds has great delicacy and yet complex flavors to make a great pairing.

Ingredients

1 teaspoon vegetable oil

5 ounces sweet fermented Chinese sausage

3 large cloves of garlic, sliced

1 stalk of lemongrass, trimmed, peeled and sliced fine

1 sprig of mint, picked leaves (the smaller the better)

2 tablespoons green Thai curry paste

2 red Thai chilies (optional if you are averse to heat)

1 pound fresh Bangs Island or Blue Hill mussels, scrubbed

2 tablespoons fish sauce

 1/4 cup real coconut milk

4 ounces Bruery Trade Winds

 1/4 bunch of Thai basil sliced in ribbons

4 leaves Genovese basil, whole

Preparation 

1. In a 12-inch sauté pan or large-sized steam pot, heat oil over medium heat and add sausage. Sauté in oil for 2 to 3 minutes on medium heat until sausage just starts to brown. Add garlic, lemongrass, half of the mint, curry paste, and chilies. Stir to combine and sauté until garlic is light gold, about 2 minutes.

2. Add mussels to pot; continue to sauté for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add fish sauce, coconut milk, beer, the remainder of the mint, half of the total basil, cover and cook for 7 minutes or until 90 percent of mussels are open. Discard any unopened mussels.

3. Add remaining basil and stir to combine. Transfer to a bowl and serve with bread or your favorite noodles. 

Makes 2 servings.

The Chef’s Pairings: Basil Beers

Brewers continue to experiment with specialty ingredients, pushing the boundaries of flavor. Since a good beer deserves a good meal, All About Beer Magazine asked chef Rob Martin of When Pigs Fly Pizzeria in Kittery, Maine, to taste three beers infused with basil and offer pairing suggestions. Get more pairing ideas at www.allaboutbeer.com/food.


NoLa 7th Street Wheat

ABV: 4.5% | Wheat Ale w/ Lemon Basil
Tasting Notes: Lemon-forward and low on basil with a slight clove aroma, this is an easy-drinking ale that would pair with pasta and sautéed vegetables. Think of this canned offering as a summertime beach beer that would be excellent with fresh-caught fish.

Bruery Trade Winds

ABV: 8% | Tripel w/ Rice & Thai Basil
Tasting Notes: Right up front are aromas of candi sugar, banana and garden-fresh bell pepper. The Thai basil comes out after first sip, hidden in the effervescence and not obtrusive, just lingering. This beer is destined for shellfish and steamer pots, like the Thai Curry Mussels with Chinese Sausage.

Lindemans SpontanBasil

ABV: 6% | Lambic w/ Basil
Tasting Notes: If you have ever walked into a natural tobacco or cigar leaf curing room, think about it and eliminate all the leather and manure smell—well maybe leave a little barnyard—but replace the rest with curing basil. The aroma is crazy. On the palate, it’s very bright with flavors of green bean and fennel, and finishes slightly tart with hints of menthol.This beer will go well with pad thai, pho or even grilled Spanish sardines that have been lightly brushed with lemon and mint.