KIND sent me a mini-crate a couple years back that was full of their protein-packed granola bars dubbed “STRONG & KIND.” They were pandering to men because KIND was known almost exclusively to women and impulse shoppers at that point. Sadly I don’t think line took off like they hoped because I rarely see it in stores. Thankfully brick and mortar stores are for chumps, and they’re available on Amazon.
Not knowing what to do with a crate full of granola bars, I did the only thing I could think of. Came up with beer pairings. It actually worked out far better than expected.
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.
• My choice: Ninja Vs. Unicorn, Pipeworks
I put jalapeños 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.
• My choice: Eliot Ness, Great Lakes
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 subtle honey sweetness of the granola bar 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.
• My choice: Maple Bacon Coffee Porter, Funky Buddha
Don’t be fooled by the name; this isn’t a sweetheart granola 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.
• My choice: Kellerweis Hefeweizen, Sierra Nevada
India Pale Lagers are very similar to their IPA cousins, but they tend to be cleaner, crisper, and drier. All those bode well for a pairing with thai sweet chili. The sweetness gets put in check by the blast of citrus, and the maltiness really ties the room together.
• My choice: Double Agent IPL, Samuel Adams
Featured image is clearly not reflective of the beer pairingss I listed. I had to use stand-in models because I drunkenly took the trash out. Research can be tough.