Two of my favorite things are right here: potatoes and IPA. There are a lot of options here for pairings, though, so I hope you’re ready for some variety. First, you must decide: what kind of potato salad? Classic summer BBQ style loaded up with mayo, boiled eggs, pickles and onions? German style with bacon and a warm dressing? French-inspired with tons of fresh herbs and white wine vinegar? The world is your pomme de terre. I went with a more Eastern European-like set of flavors: capers, cultured sour cream, a hearty dash of pickle brine. For IPA options, I would shy away from anything hazy or juicy here and stick with our old classic IPA friends that highlight citrusy and piney hops like Amarillo, Cascade, or Centennial. An attenuated body is desired, but a bit of caramel malt goes great as well.
Three Reasons this Pairing Works
1. Hop notes accentuate any herbs and seasoning on the potatoes. Parsley, dill, whatever floats your boat. Spicy or grassy hops in particular work for this.
2. Acidity in the salad (from mayo, lemon, vinegar, etc.) plays well with the beer’s malt character, showcasing the fullness and the body.
3. The hoppiness of the IPA helps cut the richness of the potato salad (whether it’s dressed with mayonnaise, sour cream, olive oil, bacon fat, whatever). This helps even out the whole set of flavors and entices you to have bite after bite! Not that you should really need the extra help though…
I think potato salads belong in every season, as a side to meat, eggs or fish. Just customize to available fresh ingredients and desired flavors. For this particular pairing I chose Fremont‘s Interurban IPA, but a slightly maltier IPA would also be a nice choice, like Pike‘s IPA or Ten Pin‘s Head Pin IPA. Enjoy!