Imperial Stout Pairing Ideas
Smooth like silk but complex and rich in body, our Imperial Stout is a powerhouse on its own – but, served with the right foods, it’s undeniable. From a rare porterhouse steak to stinky cheese, Mike from our education team has a few pairing ideas for you to try.
Mike’s thoughts on the perfect foods to pair with Imperial Stout:
Imperial Stout is one of those beers that makes me glad to be alive. It’s unapologetically in-your-face and it has a robustness that is undeniably Founders. It’s beautiful by itself in a snifter, perhaps enjoyed by the fire with a loved one – but served alongside the right dish…ooh wee! It’s an experience.
Imperial Stout is a study in balancing a variety of complex malts. The malt bill brings many flavors, each skipping lazily over your palate. It’s hard to know where to begin. I pick up everything from warm grain to stone fruit, chocolate, leather and even tobacco.
These bold flavors can impose some limitations on the food you can pair this beer with – but, don’t fret, the pairings I’ve chosen are going to be downright sexy.
Case in point… Upon my first sip I’m immediately envisioning sitting in a rough-hewn smoky room. On the table in front of me, a massive rare porterhouse steak, a marble ashtray with a cigar and a snifter of Imperial Stout. I can’t think of a better pairing, period. Like I said, sexy.
Almost any beef dish would pair nicely but a juicy steak is my top choice. An appropriately seasoned pork chop or leg of lamb would also be phenomenal.
Let’s talk cheese. I’ll come right out and say it: look for the stinky cheeses! If has a bit of a smell to it, or oozes – it’s perfect to pair with Imperial Stout. Camembert, brie and anything that says “triple cream” are my picks. Avoid anything sharp, as it will wrestle aggressively with the beer (and will surely lose).
As for desserts, the dark malts to hold up nicely next to anything rich and chocolate. I don’t mean cake type rich – I mean flowerless cake type rich, tort type rich, truffle type rich. Usually-eaten-with-a-gallon-of-milk type rich. If you want to step away from chocolate, try it with a cobbler hot out of the oven drenched with French vanilla ice cream.
Here in our taproom, I often pair the deli’s decadent Cheesy Does It sandwich with Imperial Stout. I choose to use creamy provologne and smoked gouda as they are a great compliment to a stout. My favorite, though? The Hot Italian Beef. It’s simple, hearty and delicious. Sometimes you find a pairing that allows both the dish and the beer to share the spotlight and this is definitely one of those pairings. You really can’t go wrong.
There’s always something comforting about drinking a gorgeous beer while gazing on the tanks that once housed it. It’s nice to tip a cheers through the window to the brewers who put their heart and soul into producing that pint of wonder, so I encourage you to visit our taproom at least once.
At the end of the day, we each have a unique palate. There is nothing I like more than learning about a new pairing idea I hadn’t thought of. Let us know when you taste something that knocks your socks off! Share your pairings with us on Twitter or Instagram by tagging #brewedforus.