Pesto Pasta with Belgian Strong Pale Ale

Duvel and Pranqster with Pesto Pasta

June 5th, 2013

Beer 1: Duvel

Type: Belgian Strong Pale Ale
Brewing Company: Brouwerij Duvel Moortgat NV
ABV: 8.5%

Beer 2: Pranqster

Type: Belgian Strong Pale Ale
Brewing Company: North Coast Brewing Co.
ABV: 7.6%

The Food: Pesto Pasta with Sausage

Details: Four cheese tortellini with Hillshire Farms smoked sausage and pesto sauce.

Pesto Pasta with Belgian Strong Pale Ale Review

The beers were good, the pasta was awesome, the two together were good.

With this pairing I tried two different beers. I’ve been looking for a good beer to pair with pesto so I decided to test a few instead of limiting myself to just one beer with my dinner.

The first beer I tried was Duvel. According to the brewer, Duvel is “the perfect thirst quencher” with citrus elements in the aroma and a hint of spiciness in the favor.

The light color and carbonation in Duvel concerned me to begin with as I typically am not a fan of light fizzy beers. I could identify some of the citrus elements in the aroma but mainly the aroma reminded of champagne. The flavor was good; the beer was certainly drinkable and much smoother than I had expected.

The second beer I tried was Pranqster. This beer is brewed by North Coast Brewing using a “mixed culture of antique yeast strains that produce a floral nose, a full fruity flavor, and a clean finish.”

Pranqster is a great beer and one that I’m pretty familiar with as the brewery is only about 2 and a half hours away. Pranqster has a nice golden color and a smooth fruity flavor. Pranqster is a very drinkable beer and one that I would recommend for almost any occasion.

The pasta I decided to pair with these beers was easy to put together and extremely delicious. I, personally, am a huge fan of pesto. I didn’t know it existed for the first half of my life and now that I know about it I’m making up for lost time. The pasta consisted of just cheese tortellini, Hillshire Farms smoked sausage, and pesto sauce. Just cook the pasta, slice and fry the sausage, and throw it all together!

The big question is: how was the beer with the food? To answer this, let’s tackle these two beers separately.

How was the Duvel with the pasta? The answer is: fine. Overall, the flavors seemed the same. The pairing didn’t seem to have much of an effect on the pasta or the beer. It did, however, add a bit of a dry champagne flavor to the beer. The aroma had initially had a bit of a champagne smell but then paired with the pesto it seemed to move to the flavor. This really didn’t seem good or bad to me. I am a fan of dry champagne so it wasn’t horrible but it wasn’t really what I was expecting in the beer.

How was the Pranqster with the pasta? The answer is: good. I thought this combination went great together. The flavors seemed to compliment each other yet neither flavor changed. Typically, I like my pairings to enhance either the beer or the food but with the pesto this was exactly what I was looking for. The pesto still tasted good, and the beer still tasted good; just that has seemed difficult to accomplish so I was happy with this result.

To summarize, if you have some pesto pasta and you have to choose between Duvel or Pranqster to pair with it, I’d choose the Pranqster. Both options are worthwhile but the Pranqster was a better overall pairing with the pesto and one that I would enjoy trying again.


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