Maybe you know the musical fruit best in baked form, but these little guys are on call to amplify all sorts of recipes. Not only are beans (and their kissing cousins, lentils) superstars of budget-friendliness, they’re also flavour chameleons that can take on any persona — from five-alarm chili to spiced dal to hummus and beyond. Just reach for these beer recos and you’ll have tasty matches for eight popular bean dishes.
Hummus + cream ale
Your pitas and carrots won’t be able to stay out of this blend of chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice and olive oil. Plain hummus is kinda neutral, but you can pump it up with bold-flavoured veggies and herbs. (Looking at you, roasted red pepper, briny olives, garlic and parsley.) Best beer selection? Try a light-flavoured ale (such as a cream, blonde or golden ale), or a crisp kolsch. Its gentle hops and malt notes, plus bright fizziness, complement this dip’s creamy, sassy tang.
Chinese-style fried green beans + malt or dark lager
Here’s a literal hot tip: Your green beans love going for a sizzle with oil and ground pork. Spicy pepper and sticky soy sauce are also on board to re-create this takeout classic. The decidedly spicy-meets-sweet taste of this dish calls for a sugary malt or dark lager. In fact, you can even detect a soy-like flavour in some of these brews.
Beef and red kidney bean chili + pilsner
Newsflash: You’re allowed to think outside the grind and add juicy, boneless beef chuck to your chili (we did it here). To join forces with the bold flavours in your bowl, enlist the help of a pilsner. It has a spicy, herbal aroma of its own and gets along harmoniously with the oregano, cumin and cilantro simmering in the pot. Heck, you can even add some pilsner to your chili. Cornbread is strongly encouraged.
Lentils may be small but they’re mighty, taking on the flavours of whatever you combine them with. Impressively, they double in size as they cook, making this pantry staple filling and extremely easy on the wallet. A dark or brown ale is going to give you some substantial body and earthy malt, which is exactly what you want for a stick-to-your-ribs, down-home dish like this soup. Green or brown lentils both work in this kind of recipe, thanks to their spicy edge —don’t forget to pass the pepper for an extra kick.
Red lentil dal + India pale ale
Red lentils can support a kaleidoscope of strong flavours (think ginger, turmeric, garlic, cumin, mustard seeds and more) and will cook up nice and silky in a delicious dal. In the brew department, you need something strong to go toe-to-toe with such a warm, bold flavour explosion, and IPA’s powerful hops is the perfect partner.
Pasta e fagioli + British-style pale ale
ICYMI, pasta e fagioli translates to “pasta and beans,” making this soup the ultimate pantry superstar. Sage and bay leaves are the not-so-secret ingredients that take those tender cannellini beans over the top. To tie in with the garden veggies and leafy herbs in your bowl, you can trust a British-style pale ale, with its earthy-tasting hops and bitter appeal.
Beans are a good sub for your fave meaty mains. With great texture and plenty of protein, pinto beans are perfect for scooping into flour tortillas (with pickled onion, please), like in our Beer Bean Tacos with Quick Pickled Onions recipe. To take on the zip of those zesty tacos, you’ll need something to amplify the pucker. Saison or other sour beers, enter stage left.
Steamed edamame with coarse salt + pale lager
For this one, you’ll want to keep the beer as simple as the snack. Sometimes called “beer beans,” edamame goes with big-in-Japan pale lagers — which is perfect, since that’s the home of this salty snack. And guess what? The less hoppy your brew is, the better — it’ll complement the salty, earthy flavour those tender green soybeans bring to the table.