Tapas and Mahou Beer: Pairings to TryOctober 29, 2021
What are food pairings for Mahou beer?
- Patatas Bravas
- Gambas al Ajillo
- Pan con Tomate y Jamón
- Mejillones a la Marinera
- Soldaditos de Pavía
- Croquetas de Jamón
With its relatively light, elegant, and well-rounded taste, Spain’s leading beer brand — Mahou — is a versatile accompaniment to all types of Spanish food. This beer appeals to even the most sophisticated drinker and distinguishes itself as the perfect partner for a variety of dishes. Over the years, many Mahou beer pairings have become a staple in bars and restaurants around the world.
What are Tapas?
Tapas are the ultimate expression of Spain’s culinary culture. They are small plates or snacks made from practically anything ― from tuna, chorizo, potatoes, slow-cooked beef, olives, and more. They’re served daily in bars and cafés throughout Spain. Tapas are made to be eaten with some good beer and enjoyed in good company. As with wine, there are no hard and fast rules for pairings, but we’ve put together the following suggestions for you to try with some Mahou Cinco Estrellas.
Tapas are loved for their simplicity and intense flavors. Patatas Bravas is perhaps one of the best examples of what Spanish Tapas are. Also called Patatas a la Brava, it typically consists of cubed and roasted potatoes topped with a warm, spicy tomato-and-garlic-based sauce. This recipe, which you can find here, is one of Spain’s most popular Tapas. They’re the go-to snack to enjoy with a round of beer. The reason for this is simple — there is no better crowd-pleaser than some crispy baked potatoes, especially when paired with Mahou Cinco Estrellas.
Gambas al Ajillo
Mahou beer has a very fresh and crisp flavor, which makes it perfect for something spicy, like Gambas al Ajillo. Every Spanish establishment has its own version of this dish, but good Gambas consist of these key elements: Fresh shrimp, cooked in garlic-infused olive oil, and the smokiness of paprika spices. Some places also season this with chili, parsley, a splash of sherry, or brandy.
Gambas can be enjoyed as is, or with slices of freshly baked, thickly cut bread. It is best to serve this sizzling hot in a metal pan or clay bowl to make the most out of the sauce, and with a bottle of Mahou on the side. You can try making it at home by following this recipe.
Pan con Tomate y Jamón
It’s amazing how simple Tapas recipes can impart so much flavor, like the Pan con Tomate y Jamón. It’s simply thick slices of country bread topped with some fresh tomatoes, garlic, and Spain’s famous cured ham — Jamón Ibérico. The tartness and saltiness of this open-faced snack are the perfect foil for the refreshing maltiness of Mahou beer.
Pan con Tomate y Jamón is the king of breakfast, and can also be served with other Tapas. This recipe is extremely easy to follow and makes a great treat to serve at parties. If Ibérico is hard to find, you can substitute it with some Jamón Serrano or Prosciutto.
Mejillones a la Marinera
Mejillones a la Marinera (Sailor-style Mussels) is a typical recipe in Spain, particularly on the Mediterranean coast of Galicia. The unusual name for this dish refers to the fast sauces usually containing garlic, tomato, and spices that the wives of fishermen would prepare to cook their husband’s catch of the day.
Steaming fresh mussels in rich, smoky broth (which can be followed in this recipe) is a favorite in many bars and restaurants across Spain. Despite its simplicity, it has strong, savory flavors. Mahou beers happen to go especially well with this style of mussels, as it does not overpower the dish.
Soldaditos de Pavía
This is a Spanish codfish recipe, meaning Pavía soldiers. The recipe (found here) takes strips of fish, marinated them in lemon juice and Spanish pimentón, coats them in a thick batter of flour and egg, and deep-fried them in olive oil. They are then served hot with a strip of roasted red pepper around them. They are a tasty and healthy dish and are usually enjoyed in bars and tavernas in the old quarters of Madrid. Have these with Mahou, whose cool and fresh bite goes well with any deep-fried fish Tapa.
Croquetas de Jamón
Croquetas de jamón, known as ham croquettes, are a staple on Tapas menus. As the name implies, they are small, breaded, and fried fritters stuffed with cured ham and cheese. This delicious Tapa isn’t hard to recreate at home, and we recommend following this recipe.
Crispy on the outside, creamy on the inside, with salty and savory fillings — these are a sure hit for your dinner parties or afternoon merienda with a cool glass of Mahou Cinco Estrellas. The contrast between the crunchy mouthfeel and the bite of this beer is a source of pleasure. Plus, Mahou’s cleansing finish leaves your palate ready for another bite of Croquetas.
Aceitunas are a really easy Spanish-style olive side dish that can be prepared in just minutes for your dinner parties and then kept in the fridge as a delicious Mediterranean snack. They’re made from juicy green olives and a marinade of garlic, lemon, thyme, and chili pepper flakes — savory with just a bit of a kick. We recommend following this recipe, which follows the traditional Tapas recipe. Because it’s so simple, it can take in additional spices as well, so you can marinate your olives in different ingredients every time. A thirst-quenching Mahou beer is the perfect accompaniment for this tangy and spicy Tapa.
The beer you drink should have enough flavor to make an impression, without undermining your food — it’s a delicate balance. With flavorful Spanish cuisine, there should be harmony between all the sensations to make the most out of your dining experience. And, in our opinion, the perfect pairing is the Mahou Beer.
Hints of malted barley, a gentle bite, and clean flavors not only offer the quintessential taste for beer lovers, but it also comes highly recommended as your Tapas companion. Treat yourself to a taste of Spain today by ordering a pack of Mahou from Ralph’s Wines & Spirits, and whipping up one of these Tapas recipes!