Friday Food Pairing: Pasta!

Honorary BB, Allison (aka Cooke), requested that we talk about pairing beer with Italian food. As we all know, the beer/pizza combo is one of God’s greatest gifts to mankind. He came up with that on the third day, I think. The go-to with pasta is usually wine though, partially because pasta dishes can be a bit heavy, and beer feels like too much to fit in your stomach on top of all those noodles.

My two best friends, Beer and Pizza.
My two best friends, Beer and Pizza.

For this reason, I wanted to come up with a pairing that was light-bodied and had a higher abv—a beer that featured some of the qualities of wine. Enter the Belgian Tripel, a style that masks its high alcohol content with a light, sometimes fizzy body, hints of spice, and slight sweetness. I spotted Victory Brewing Company’s Golden Monkey, a Tripel that I’ve had and enjoyed many times, at the local market, so I grabbed one from the fridge and called it a day. (Side note: something I love about New York is that the cashier doesn’t give you a weird look when you purchase just one beer.)


I threw my extremely simple pasta recipe together off the top of my head. While my noodles were cooking, I chopped two zucchini and sautéed them in olive oil and salt and pepper until they were tender. Next, I threw in a pint of cherry tomatoes and a teaspoon of garlic, and cooked the tomatoes for just a couple of minutes, until the skins started to split. I combined the veggies with my cooked pasta (whole wheat penne), and stirred in a few tablespoons of pesto. Voilà! A sprinkle of Parmesan and dinner was on the table in 25ish minutes. Look out Rachael Ray, there’s a new Rachel in town.


Unfortunately, this episode of Friday Food Pairing wasn’t as successful as Volume 1: Chickpea Potato Curry. The Golden Monkey was a bit boozier and heavier than I remembered, and it didn’t have the level of spiciness that I wanted to mesh with the pesto. It wasn’t a terrible combination by any means, but I think something more carbonated, like the Boulevard Long Strange Tripel or the Westmalle Tripel might have been better. Maddy and I talked it over, and we also think a tart, funky Gueuze, would have been nice.


Happy Friday, party people! I promise to restore Friday Food Pairing to its former glory next week.


7 thoughts on “Friday Food Pairing: Pasta!

  1. Saison Dupont is another idea for the dish you made. I’m sure you’ve had it before, but I thought of it because it’s highly carbonated, light, and its herbal flavors seem like a good match for sautéed zucchini and pesto. Since it was an easy dish to make, maybe you could try it some other time.

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