First things first—when it comes to beer and food pairings you must break down the flavors you’re workin’ with. The zymurgical institution that is the Waldos Triple IPA has been described at times as herbaceous, botanical, resinous, and dank. Upon first sip, you may encounter deep, juicy notes of ripening mango skins, guavas, and passionfruit. Dig a little deeper and things get catty and dank with undertones of cedar, citrus, pine, and a whole lotta cannabis (disclaimer: no cannabis is used in the production of Waldos, and similarities in aroma are a mere coincidence) alongside a wee bit of sweetness from the high alcohol content. The IBUs are clocking in high with a bitterness reminiscent of crushed grapefruit peels.
Now that we know what we’re working with, Lagunitas Petaluma TapRoom Chef Matt breaks down his rationale behind a few food pairings that bring out the best in Waldos and vice versa. Read on, then chow down!
Thai Larb Gai/ Laab Kai/ Laab Gai
This Thai chicken salad goes by many names but has a few integral ingredients that make this dish an ideal pairing for Lagunitas’ dankest ale. This salad is mainly composed of ground chicken (ground beef and ground pork can also sub in here), toasted jasmine rice, tons of herbs and aromatics like fish sauce, lime juice, mint, cilantro, scallions, garlic, red onion, and Thai red chilis, just to mention a few. The Maillard reaction of the seared ground chicken and the nuttiness of the toasted jasmine rice are serving caramel, sweet notes, complimenting those produced by the high alcohol content of Waldos. The high alcohol also helps temper the spice of the red Thai chilis. The dankness of Waldos instantly made me think of this salad and the magical decoction that only exists when fish sauce, lime juice, and a host of herbs combine in a thin dressing that I can only describe as dank and herbaceous.
You could make this yourself, but if we were you we’d just hit up our favorite local Thai spot and call it a day.