The Sensible Cicerone, Part I: Cake and Pizza Rolls

If you’re like me, you spend most of your food budget on craft beer, leaving none for food. But! That doesn’t mean fancy people should have all the pairing fun. In this weekly column I’ll use my beer expertise to help you find the best beer pairings for your crummy leftovers and Costco microwave entrees.


Dinner #1 – 14 Pizza rolls, made in the microwave instead of the oven, so they’re soggy and unevenly heated


Pairing: You’ll definitely want to go with a double IPA on this one. Look for something with a strong aromatic hop punch and solid malty backbone. Citrusy American hops will be a good complement for the heavy baked crust. You’ll want to go for something at least 100 IBU so the bitterness will numb your tongue and minimize the difference between the soggy, lukewarm pizza rolls and the molten-lava-tongue-scalding ones!

Suggestions: Firestone Walker Double Jack, Odell Myrcenary DIPA, Alchemist Heady Topper, Victory Dirtwolf, Avery Maharaja

Dinner #2 – 27 Chicken Nuggets with no sauce, with a side of whatever vegetables in your fridge aren’t moldy

 003Pairing: Since the fried nuggets will be greasy and heavy, it’s best to stick with a lighter beer here. Try a Belgian pale which will be light in body, but will bring some sweet and spicy aromatics in from the yeast – this may confuse your taste buds into thinking the sauceless nuggets have some flavor! These can be deceptively high in alcohol, so an added bonus will be that you may forget whatever tragic life events resulted in you eating this meal.

Suggestions: Leffe Blonde, Affligem Blonde, Green Flash Rayon Vert, Ommegang Rare Vos

Dinner #3 – An entire cake, eaten off the serving tray, not even put onto a plate


Pairing: We can’t go too sweet here or else you won’t make it through the entire cake, but still need a rich, full-bodied beer with some bitterness to cut the sweetness of the cake. Look for a solid imperial stout, preferably something barrel aged and/or spiked with espresso to keep you awake. The high alcohol content means you can drink less beer, leaving more room for cake.

Suggestions: Avery Tweak, Founders Kentucky Breakfast Stout, Boulevard Imperial Stout X, Alesmith Speedway Stout, Great Divide Yeti

Dinner #4 – Wine


Pairing: Wine is sharply acidic, as well as being sweet, often oaky and tannic. Pair it with an extremely sweet fruit lambic and 2-4 Tums to prevent the inevitable heartburn.

Suggestions: Lindemans Framboise, Kriek, Cassis, Peche, and anything else with a name you can’t pronounce and pictures of fruit on the label

Come back next week, where we’ll delve into pairings for other popular meals like 1.75 Nature Valley crunchy granola bars, half a Chipotle burrito that kinda leaked in your backpack, and a can of tuna!

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