Brewers Tell Us Their Favorite Beers To Pair With Spicy Food


We love spicy food around these parts. From hot wings to nachos to sushi slathered in wasabi, we just can’t get enough heat. We won’t even consider eating a slice of pizza if there isn’t a pile of chili flakes on top. Tacos are hot sauce or GTFO.

But when you eat spicy food, you eventually need a respite from the heat. And while many say the key is to drink a cold glass of milk, we prefer beer. Good beer. That’s why we asked some of our favorite brewers to tell us their go-to beers to pair with spicy, lip numbing foods.

Check out all of their answers below!

Saugatuck Brewing Serrano Pepper Ale

John Stewart, general manager and director of brewing operations at Perrin Brewing

Saugatuck Brewing Serrano Pepper Ale is a great way to enhance a spicy food experience with a spicy brew. It’s a perfect way to turn a meal up to 11.

Comrade Superpower IPA

Bryan Selders, brewing ambassador at Dogfish Head

Although I don’t get it too often since this Colorado brewery is really far from Delaware, Comrade Superpower IPA is robust ebough in hop aroma and flavor to stand up to big spice with just the right amount of light malt sweetness helping cool things down. A true winner for sure.

Peticolas Velvet Hammer

Brian Morris, innovation brewer at Deep Ellum Brewing

I’m looking for a decently assertive bitterness anytime I’m enjoying spicy food. Velvet Hammer from Peticolas Brewing Company not only provides this but also swings a heavy 9% ABV that will help numb the pain.

Three Weavers Expatriate IPA

Tim Matthews, head of brewing operations at Oskar Blues Brewery

A quintessential west coast IPA like Expatriate IPA from Three Weavers is perfect. All the hops to cut the spice, but the perfect amount of body and mouthfeel to not overwhelm.

Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA

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Jason Santamaria, beer architect at Second Self Beer

I love a good, fresh East Coast IPA with spicy food. The hops accent the spiciness, but the maltiness of the East Coast variants help keep the heat in check. Try DogFish Head’s 60 or 90 minute IPA.

Firestone Walker Union Jack

Joe Mashburn, head brewer at Night Shift Brewing

I think something like Firestone Walker Union Jack IPA would be a great beer with spicy food. It’s dry and bitter and would be able to stand up to the heat of the food.

Stone Ruination

Joe Connolly, director of Springdale Beer

I’m an incorrigible spice hound, so I love a big, obnoxiously bitter double IPA like Stone Ruination to force my taste buds to submit.

La Cumbre Slice of Hefen

John Walker, head brewer and co-founder Athletic Brewing Company

La Cumbre Slice of Hefen — soft and refreshing wheat and yeast with low alcohol to counter spicy foods.

Backlash Basilisk Basil Saison

Kelly McKnight, pilot brewer at New Belgium Brewing Company

Backlash’s Basilik Basil Saison. Helder uses rye and maize. The basil accentuates the earthy spice tones from the Saison yeast and brings a freshness to the beer. Summer in a glass that pairs well with kick ass heat.

Karl Strauss Aurora Hoppyalis IPA

Mark Theisen, head brewer at Coronado Brewing

I usually do IPA’s with my spicy food. When I’m not drinking Weekend Vibes IPA, I love Karl Strauss’ Aurora Hoppyalis IPA. The beer is slightly dank with a lot of citrus notes that really cut through the spiciness. The beer finishes with a lingering dryness to temper the heat and make you want to take another sip.

Pizza Port Ponto

Yiga Miyashiro, director of brewing operations at Saint Archer Brewing Company

I really enjoy drinking a fresh IPA from one of the local pubs or small distribution breweries with spicy food. Here in San Diego I’ll swing by Societe or Pizza Port and grab a growler fill. When I’m traveling, it’s all about seeing what the locals are brewing.

Miller High Life

Matt McCall, brewmaster at Coney Island Brewing

Any of the domestic light lagers are great for spicy food. The high carbonation helps scrub the tongue a bit to ease the pain and the low ABV allows you to drink as much as you’d like to help wash it all down. If I were to pick my favorite, I’d say Miller High Life.