Tailgating and beer

Tailgating & Beer Pairings

Tailgating and beer

Take your tailgating party to a whole new level with beer pairings!

Football season means tailgating and tailgating means it’s time to get your eat and drink on!  I’m so over burgers and brats— you can really impress your party people with some unique twists on the classic tailgate.  I’ve learned so much in the last couple months about beer since partnering with Let’s Grab a Beer– I now qualify as the “BEER BABE,” y’all!  In terms of versatility, lagers  are a great choice – they offer crisp and well balanced flavors with malty sweetness and complex hopping, which accentuate the flavors in foods without being overpowering.  Read:  They make everything taste better.  And lagers come in all flavors and styles, including pale, golden, amber or dark.

Go to LetsGrabA.Beer for more expert tips on beer and food pairings, beer trends and more.  

Here are a few of my fave tailgating snacks and the perfect pairings:

Chocolate Chipotle Chili and Cornbread layered in a mini mason jar:

Pair chili with Bud Light

An American Lager, like Bud Light, will bring down the heat of chili and be refreshing.

Hello, fabulous!  Look how stinkin’ cute this presentation is?!!  I made my “award winning” (it’s true, 3 trophies, people!) Chocolate Chipotle Chili with Jalapeno Cornbread.  And, not to get all braggy, but friends of mine have won their neighborhood competition with my recipe for 2 years running!)  

Chocolate Chipotle chili

It’s an award winner, y’all!

You want to pair the chili with an American Style Lager like Bud Light. An American style lager will allow you to enjoy the chili and cornbread flavors because it will cool the burn of the heat and open up a whole new flavor experience with the right balance of crisp hoppiness that doesn’t overpower the dish. 

Glassware: Pint Glass. Pint glass will keep the lager colder for longer and releases the natural carbonation quicker, keeping it crisp and refreshing.

Mini Mac and Cheese with Bacon Cups:

Mac & Cheese pairs with a Belgian Blonde

Pair Mac & Cheese with a Belgian Blonde Ale like Leffe Blond

The creamy, smokiness of this dish needs a beer which can mirror it, so try it with a Belgian Blond Ale like Leffe Blonde that is dry, fruity and lightly spiced for a perfect balance of strength and subtlety. The bitterness is delicate, extending over the whole palate and lingering as a subtle aftertaste that will complement the dish and enhance your normal Mac & Cheese experience 

Glassware: Goblet or Chalice Glass. The glass helps preserve the beer’s aroma and creates the perfect, creamy head.

Mini Mac & Cheese Bacon Cups
Smoky bacon and Gruyere takes this Mac & Cheese to a whole new level of delish.
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  1. 1 box macaroni
  2. 6 slices of bacon
  3. 1 Tb bacon fat
  4. 1 stick butter
  5. 3 cups milk
  6. 1 cup heavy cream
  7. 1/2 cup flour
  8. 1 1/2 cups Gruyere cheese grated
  9. 2 cups white cheddar grated
  10. 1/2 cup Parmesan grated
  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Snip bacon into bite size pieces and saute until cooked. Reserve 1 Tb bacon fat and set aside.
  3. Cook macaroni according to package directions, drain and set aside.
  4. Melt 1 stick of butter in a large sauce pan and add flour, stirring for a minute.
  5. Pour in milk and heavy cream slowly and keep whisking-- mixture will seem thick but will even out as you pour in the rest of the liquid.
  6. Stir butter/flour/milk/cream mixture until smooth, bringing to a simmer, about 2 more minutes on medium/high heat.
  7. Add in all cheese (except parmesan) and stir until smooth.
  8. Combine with cooked macaroni, bacon and 1 Tb bacon fat.
  9. Once macaroni is thoroughly and evenly coated, spoon mixture into greased muffin tins/cupcake tins, filling to the top.
  10. Sprinkle parmesan cheese on top of mac & cheese muffins and then bake for 30 minutes until browned on top.
  11. Let cool slightly before scooping them out and serving.
  1. You can also put this entire recipe into a casserole dish and bake it the traditional way.
What's on Parker's Plate? http://whatsonparkersplate.com/

Mini Meatball Sliders

Meatballs and IPA

Pair meatball sliders with an IPA like Goose IPA

I freaking LOVE sliders.  It’s the mouth feel, it’s the bite size delish, it’s the fact that I can eat one and not feel stuffed, while still saving room for the good stuff, like BEER.  Specifically, pairing meatball sliders with  An English-style or milder American IPA like Goose IPA.  The IPA will transform these mini meatball sandwiches into a different flavor experience, bringing out all the seasoning & spices while complementing both the sweetness of the sauce and meatballs to add another layer of zesty and spicy hop notes.

Glassware: Tulip glass. IPAs have a great color and aroma that are best displayed in a stemmed tulip glass allowing you to admire the walnut and amber colors, topped off with a creamy head. Glasses that curve inwards toward the top, such as tulips, focus beer aromas at the rim of the glass so the shape releases the warming aromas.

I had a hard time deciding what meatballs to make for this segment— I did a spin on Rachael Ray’s Florentine Meatballs with Cheese Sauce, but instead of using parmesan in the balls, I used Gruyere.  OMG.  They’re YUMMO, as Rach would say!  But check out some of my other signature meatball recipes, like Thai Meatballs with a Coconut Green Curry Sauce, Hoisin and Ginger Glazed Meatballs,  and Asian Meatballs with a Soy Ginger Dipping Sauce. Apparently, I kinda have an Asian theme going with my favorite meatball recipes!

Walking Taco

Walking Taco & Montejo

Pair your walking taco with a Mexican lager like Montejo

Hello, taco in a bag!  This is also known in tailgating circles as The Walking Taco and it’s so dang easy (and fun to make) you’ll never go classic taco shell again!  Just make all your favorite taco fixings, open up a bag of Fritos (or your favorite corn chip) dump it all in and shake it up!  Bam.  You’re welcome.  Pair your Walking Taco with a Mexican-style Lager like Montejo.  Mexican lagers have a great balance of refreshing sweetness and crisp hoppiness that will cleanse your palate and provide the refreshment you need to ensure you get all the flavors that pop with your walking taco. 

Glassware: Pint Glass. A Pint glass will keep the lager colder for longer and releases the natural carbonation quicker, keeping it crisp and refreshing.

Check out my segment in Greenville on Studio 62!


*This was a sponsored post by Let’s Grab a Beer, but all opinions are my own.

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