Although wine and cocktails are popular food pairings, beer has started to join the party, providing a more casual yet tasty alternative pairing to dishes. Ambar, a full-bodied Vienna-style lager from the well-known Dos Equis portfolio, is what Dos Equis calls, “a beer with brawn from Germany, swagger from Mexico and the finest North American pale and roasted malts.” Munich, Pilsner, Vienna toasted and dextrin malts are used to create the 4.7% ABV beer. With notes of caramel and burnt sugar, it’s the perfect beer to sip on while tasting cuisine from all backgrounds. Toting such an international pedigree, we decided to branch out from your typical cerveza and lime, and challenge six chefs from all over the U.S. to come up with a dish that pairs with Dos Equis Ambar. Check in every month to see what culinary deliciousness these creative masterminds have cooked up!
It’s no surprise that some of the chefs we feature would pair Dos Equis Ambar with Mexican cuisine, but Chef Peder Bondhus proves that pairing with cerveza can be a thoughtful and modern take on a Mexican classic. A chef for 15 years, he joined Fox Restaurant Concepts three years ago and is now their Brand Chef, including overseeing three Blanco locations in Tuscon, Scottsdale and Phoenix, AZ. “Blanco is an interpretation of modern Mexican,” describes Chef Peder. “It has an American sensibility and you will also see those traditional Mexican flavors, but they’ll always have a twist that makes them unique.”
Nowhere is that ethos of untraditional modern Mexican cuisine more apparent than in the dish Chef Peder prepared: He took a typical Mexican dish—tacos—and made them with short ribs that had been braised in toasted chilis, tomatos, poblano peppers and garlic for three hours, until they’re tender and falling apart. The main star of the dish—besides the fresh tortillas, of course—is the Hatch green chilis sourced from Mexico. In prime season around mid-late August but also a great flavor for the cooler fall weather, the chilis are hugely popular at Blanco. The chilis are steamed for ten minutes, and then the skin is removed and they are garnished on top of the tacos.
“Dos Equis Ambar has a clean, bright flavor, and it really helps cool down the heat of the chilis. Dos Equis Ambar is an excellent match for any type of spicy food, in fact,” Chef Peder explains. “Our cuisine goes great with a beer like this because the flavor palates match up. The contrast of the spicy chilis and the beer’s brightness is great and makes a perfect pair.” While there’s nothing wrong with beer and Mexican cuisine—in fact it’s a match made in heaven—it’s bringing in interesting, tasty and seasonal ingredients that really make the pairing stand out in the crowd. A Vienna-style lager from Mexico? Braised short rib tacos? Bringing a new twist to a popular product is what Dos Equis and Chef Peder does best.