Northwest IPA’s pair beautifully with Indian cuisine. How fitting, seeing as this style was originally brewed for long distance transport to India. Without refrigeration beer often spoiled on its long journey from England to British soldiers stationed there during colonization . The solution was the addition of more hops to British pale ales which acted as a natural preservative in the beer. The British soldiers loved the taste of these new hop heavy brews and the style remains.
I now sit at an Indian restaurant drinking an Oregon local Bridgeport IPA with chicken tikka, goat curry, and plenty of naan. A bold American hop aroma sits on top of the beer which pours a bright gold with a thick foamy head. Floral citrus flavors match the complex spices in the tikka as the heavy hop character is able to slice through the chillies in the curry, just bitter enough, and with a smooth dry finish. The lifting carbonation cools the flames, preparing the palate for the next bite.
I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised when I saw Bridgeport on the menu but I still was. When you typically walk into an Indian or Chinese or Thai or Vietnamese restaurant, the beer list is severely lacking. Usually 2 domestics (bud or bud light) followed by two “imports” which taste exactly the same as the domestics. Chang, 33, Tiger, Asahi, Sapporo, I guarantee they all taste exactly like everything coming from Anheuser-Busch. In fact some of the above are brewed by Anheuser-Busch. Bland Pilsner has taken over the world. Portland is fighting back. The front lines are restaurants like these. Non-beer centric venues that are still willing to serve great brew. As I take another perfect sip of Bridgeport I wonder how it took me so long to get out here.