As a sub-par physical specimen, I don’t find myself eating many protein bars. When I do though, I like to pair them with beer to really defeat the purpose.
KIND sent me a mini-crate full of protein bars a week back. If you’ve never had one before, it’s probably because until recently only women bought them. Now they’re pandering (to the extreme) to men with “Strong & Kind” bars, which are flavors like Hickory Smoked and Honey Smoked BBQ. They were surprisingly good; so I figured, what better way to blow through some almond protein bars than by putting together beer pairings? You can use these for more than just protein bars though. They should give you some good general ideas for food as well.
Roasted Jalapeno paired with a Vienna Lager
I put jalapenos on everything I can, so the last thing I want to do is mask the taste. This makes a lager the obvious choice. Viennas are crispy and clean which should allow the peppers shine. They also adds just a little residual sweetness which contrasts the heat.
Best Choice: Eliot Ness, Great Lakes
Honey Smoked BBQ paired with a Porter
Big foods need big flavored beers, and nothing pairs with BBQ quite like a porter. These two balance perfectly so that one doesn’t wipe away the flavor from the other. The intensity of flavors is matched and the honey sweetness of the protein bar, which is very subtle, is enhanced by caramel sweetness from the beer. If you can find one with good carbonation it won’t put you to sleep afterwards either.
Best Choice: Porter, Anchor
Hickory Smoked paired with a Double IPA
You can obviously stick with porters here, but I wanted to mix things up a bit. DIPA’s can always be counted on to stand their ground in a pairing, but the intense hops bring more to the table than just a face shriveling kick to the teeth. The bitterness is like a megaphone for the umami and takes this hickory smoked bar from sticky nuts to pre-packaged heaven.
Best Choice: Hercules Double IPA, Great Divide
Honey Mustard paired with a Hefenweisen
Don’t be fooled by the name; this isn’t a sweetheart protein bar. They might call it honey but the spiciness of the mustard is still significant. That’s why I decided to contrast the pungentness (not a word) with a Hefenweisen. The beer reins in the excessive spice while not eliminating it, and the bar helps bring out some of the more subdued flavors in the beer. It’s a perfect partnership.
Best Choice: Kellerweis Hefeweizen, Sierra Nevada
Thai Sweet Chili paired with an American Lager
All American lagers aren’t created equally. There are plenty of amazing ones out there if you can get beyond the name. The chili in this protein bar is definitely sweet, so you don’t need a huge beer to match. The maltiness of a lager provides balance while still letting the Thai spice to shine.
Best Choice: Brooklyn Lager, Brooklyn Brewery
Featured image is clearly not reflective of the beers I listed. I had to use stand-in models from my fridge because I drunkenly took the trash out. Good for me?