Belgian Style IPA with Rare Roast Beef

The onset of winter always spells a desire to throw a winter hibernation party. A gathering of friends and family sitting by the fire, eating some hearty foods and warming up with some big beers is never complete without a perfectly cooked roast fetched from the local butcher. One of the regular dishes on my family’s gathering table was my grandfather’s steak tartare. That recipe, handed down for generations, inspired my love for the flavor nuances of rare beef. A locally raised, standing rib roast is my preferred feature on the party table so I designed a preparation that mimicked the flavors of my family tatare recipe.

By using scallions, toasted cumin seed and cracked pepper as a rub, I’m able to more closely connect the roast with its perfect pair, the Belgian IPA. The Belgian IPA has many rock solid facets to match the fatty, juicy, iron-rich flavors present in roasted, rare beef. Elevating this style beyond American and British IPAs is the multitasking yeast character. It provides mouthwatering spice and tiny-bubble effervescence powers through fatty, mouth-coating bites, making way for caramelized bits of roasted goodness.

A pale malt profile and hefty ABV (alcohol by volume) soon take over, giving promising depth to blanket metallic meat flavors and put to sleep any chance of palette fatigue. Hops, the real player in this match, allows unlimited interaction with aromatic spices and onion essence while concentrating those buttery flavors of fat right where they’re needed. Free State’s Santa’s Helper demonstrates this style deliciously as do Green Flash’s Le Freak , Great Divide’s Belgica and so many other Belgian IPA’s. This style is such a complement to rare meat that a juicy cheeseburger is equally coddled by its handsome personality. If my grandfather had lived to see this style, I know what we would be sharing for dinner tonight.

Photo © 2010 Geoff Deman

Rick MartinRick Martin is the Executive Chef of Free State Brewing Company in Lawrence, Kansas, the first legal brewery in Kansas since before prohibition. Since starting at Free State in 1991, Rick has created an inviting menu of rustic beer cuisine and has invented interesting new ways of pairing food with beer and spirits. Rick’s simple yet exciting views on beer and food gained attention during cooking performances at the Great American Beer Festival and with a feature of his recipes in The Best of American Beer & Food, a recent book by Lucy Saunders. His year peaks during Free State Brewery’s popular Beer Banquet dinners, an annual series of multi-course pairings carefully guided by Rick and Brewmaster Steve Bradt.