Pairing Beer with Ramen

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by nickdank, Dec 27, 2014.

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  1. nickdank

    nickdank Initiate (0) Feb 13, 2014 New Jersey

    So we all know David Chang, founder of the Momofuku empire, is famous for hating "fancy" beer. He's also famous for making incredible ramen. I suppose if you were to ask him what styles of beer would pair best with the ultra rich, salty, porky, umami bomb that is ramen, he'd probably say "the shittier the better." But what would you say?

    I suspect a lot of Sapporo, Kirin, etc. and that's fine. But I wonder if anyone has any rock solid pairings that lie outside of Japanese lagers.

    Crisp pilsners make sense. But the crazy umami and salt might do well with something maltier and sweeter, no? Would hoppier styles like APA work?

    What do you think?
  2. Chinon01

    Chinon01 Initiate (0) Jan 23, 2007 Pennsylvania

    Soups are tough because of the liquid component; the broth IS the best pairing for the pork and other bits.
    But if I had to choose a beer it would be one delicate enough not to mask the flavor; the broth is gonna mute the impact of the other ingredients on the palate.
    Therefore I'd go w/ any light Japanese beers or a Gueuze for something a little more champagne like.
  3. Smakawhat

    Smakawhat Poo-Bah (7,714) Mar 18, 2008 Maryland

    I had some good luck with soba noodles and Belgian Dark ales but that is a little different.

    Depending on the base broth and what you are having it could really vary, but soups are tricky cause you kind of drink em both...
  4. Heretic42

    Heretic42 Initiate (0) Aug 31, 2011 Texas

    I've had luck with rauchbiers, saisons, and lighter Belgian pales. I thought Hitachino Nest White Ale was an ok pairing, but I'm not sure that another witbier could stand in its place.
  5. nickdank

    nickdank Initiate (0) Feb 13, 2014 New Jersey

    I actually posted this because I was hoping to get a few suggestions before going out to get ramen with the wife and friends. Ended up bringing victory prima pils (went to a byo place). I feel like it was a pretty decent pairing honestly. I think the soup ended up bringing out a tad bit too much of the alcohol presence in the beer though.
  6. joelwlcx

    joelwlcx Initiate (0) Apr 23, 2007 Minnesota

    I would go with any pale lager.
  7. Doctor_Bogenbroom

    Doctor_Bogenbroom Initiate (0) Nov 2, 2014 Pennsylvania

    Pabst Blue Ribbon!
    woodchipper likes this.
  8. evilcatfish

    evilcatfish Defender (612) May 11, 2012 Missouri

    Kolsch. While I've never personally had this combo it seems perfect
  9. Raj

    Raj Disciple (314) Jun 25, 2014 Illinois

    I had a JK estival dichotomous with ramen today, thought it was a really nice pairing (and a pretty great beer). I think saisons and lightly sour wild ales work well with spicy or rich dishes. We have some great BYO ramen spots in the area; its fun to bring a variety of beers and experiment.
  10. misternebbie

    misternebbie Initiate (0) Aug 24, 2014 Pennsylvania

    Lager or Pilsner
  11. blastoderm55

    blastoderm55 Disciple (327) Jun 7, 2013 Texas

    Thought the topic was going to be about how I can only afford ramen (10/$1) an account of how expensive this beer hobby is.
  12. Digital_luda

    Digital_luda Initiate (0) May 25, 2014 Connecticut

    My girlfriend is a waitress at a ramen/pho place. Double IPAs and sours go great with their food. The hitachino best white ale is great too
    Homebrew42 likes this.
  13. Chinon01

    Chinon01 Initiate (0) Jan 23, 2007 Pennsylvania

    @Digital_luda - Double IPA and Gueuze are quite a departure from one another. What qualities do they share that make them both good for Ramen?
  14. lambpasty

    lambpasty Initiate (0) May 3, 2013 New Hampshire

    I enjoy pairing Belgian strong pales with ramen-type dishes, as much flavor as the style has it's delicate enough to compliment it I think. I've also enjoyed spiced ales like Troegs Dream Weaver and Allagash White, particularly with pork and beef.
    rockernino likes this.
  15. jaxon53

    jaxon53 Meyvn (1,182) Mar 1, 2006 Connecticut

    I see you are in CT, where would one find this Ramen place you speak of?
  16. skivtjerry

    skivtjerry Zealot (560) Mar 10, 2006 Vermont

    Natty Lite always worked with ramen when I was in college. For something better than the 15 cent survival stuff, maybe SN pale ale or the above mentioned Prima Pils. Chinon01, DIPA and Geuze are wildly different (I'd go with the geuze) but a citrusy IPA does have some sour-ish notes that might put it in the ballpark. Yes, it is a stretch.
  17. 31Sam13

    31Sam13 Initiate (0) Sep 29, 2014 New Hampshire

    I would have to say either an IPA or a white ale, and in all truthfulness I have had many a ramen with my favorite IPA's...however, if you are looking for the nostalgiac college/ grad. school feel...Pabst or Natty Natty, wait, ZIMA...oh, god...
  18. iatethecloudsfor

    iatethecloudsfor Initiate (0) Feb 6, 2012 Vermont

    I think thatd be a was te of a geuze. I'd go with pale ales, pils, or lagers
  19. NJBeer265

    NJBeer265 Initiate (0) May 21, 2013 New Jersey

    Ani Ramen recently opened up near me in NNJ. When my wife and I went we paired it with Surette Provision Saison from Crooked Stave. We both thought it went well have have paired with other Saison's since.
    dazedandconfused likes this.
  20. Chinon01

    Chinon01 Initiate (0) Jan 23, 2007 Pennsylvania

    Why do you believe that it would be a waste of a gueuze?
  21. iatethecloudsfor

    iatethecloudsfor Initiate (0) Feb 6, 2012 Vermont

    I feel like the broth/spice will overtake your taste buds just like drinking a dipa before geuze or imperial stout or eating something really oily
  22. Chinon01

    Chinon01 Initiate (0) Jan 23, 2007 Pennsylvania

    Ok sure if the ramen is spicy what you say makes more sense. The ramen I've had at Momofuku (momofuku ramen – pork belly, pork shoulder, poached egg) wasn't spicy at all so that was my reference.
  23. iatethecloudsfor

    iatethecloudsfor Initiate (0) Feb 6, 2012 Vermont

    ya im sure the ramen i make doesnt compare to that and i love to spice heavily...cheers
  24. Dicers

    Dicers Poo-Bah (1,754) Sep 2, 2012 Colorado
    Fest Crew Society Trader

    Jack's Abby Hopstitution
  25. rockernino

    rockernino Initiate (0) Aug 10, 2014 California

    I second the Belgian Strong Pale Ales with Ramen. Really cleanses the palate and washes any heat from the dish.
    Dicers likes this.
  26. Sneers

    Sneers Initiate (0) Dec 27, 2009 Pennsylvania

    Depends on the kind of ramen, I think. I'd pair to the broth for the most part. For example, for rich, fatty bowls like tonkotsu I might go with something crisp enough to lighten the broth, but malty enough not to be pummeled by it: maybe a Munich helles. Maybe something Belgian with a miso-based broth, so the fruity esters meet up with the sweet nuttiness of the miso.

    I had Sixpoint's Brownstone with Chang's basic ramen at Noodle Bar (I think it was just called "Momofuku Ramen"), and it went very well with it. The beer's toasty malt went well with his signature bacon/smoke flavor in the broth, but the hops kept it lively.
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