Most people would think wine when it comes to Italy. Although, Italy does produce beer and is actually an upcoming contender in craft beer. Amarcord Birra Artigianale is one of those breweries. Just getting it’s start back around the turn of the century, they have certainly made a name for themselves with their traditional style beers. It won’t be any time soon that Italy is seen as a beer country rather than wine, but they certainly do a great job with both.

There seems to be a bit of confusion about this beer. Beer Advocate labels La Mi Dona as an English Pale Ale while Rate Beer labels it as a Belgian Ale. I must say, in my opinion, it would be closer to an English Pale Ale rather than a Belgian, given, there was no spice flavor from the yeast. Also, on the Amarcord website, they also label La Mi Dona as an English Pale Ale.

Now, not to be confused, for those of you who don’t know beer history an English Pale Ale is nothing like the American version. Though we did borrow the basic foundation of the English Pale Ale, we certainly altered it to our liking here which has begun to take on IPA qualities. English Pale Ales are malty, low in hops with a moderate creamy body. There is a lot more sweetness in the beer than bitterness, so keep this all in mind when stepping into the world of English Pale Ales. In fact, keep this in mind for all true English beers, ESB’s, Brown Ales, Stouts and so on.

After educating myself on La Mi Dona, I thought a red-sauce based meal would work well. I whipped up my home-made meatballs and sauce, using my proprietary blend of spices and herbs. Spaghetti and meatballs is normally a very hard meal to pair, there is just so much going on, with the meat, the spices, the sauce. The key is to keep the beer simple. Don’t try to match it at all, instead contrast is the key with this pairing. The creamy, malty flavor of the beer lent itself to highlighting the spices of the dish. The carbonation of the beer, which is light, did a nice job cleansing the palate from the heavy meat and sauce flavors. There is without a doubt more beers that would pair well with this meal, but La Mi Dona was the best yet with a red-sauce based dish.

There really aren’t rules to pairing beers. It’s all about matching flavors or contrasting flavors, highlighting some flavor notes and taming heavy flavors. One thing to remember, the more complicated the dish, the more simple the beer should be and vice versa.

beer + food = Barleydine


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