srirachacorn.jpg
In the attempt to achieve pure hedonism, Happy Together aims to locate the ideal food and beverage match at Seattle-area restaurants or markets.

Every Monday,

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Beat the Heat of Sriracha Popcorn with Sam Adams Pilsner

srirachacorn.jpg
In the attempt to achieve pure hedonism, Happy Together aims to locate the ideal food and beverage match at Seattle-area restaurants or markets.

Every Monday, as part of my anti-work week ritual, I get pho at one of the 14 Than Brothers locations. I can turn-and-burn a bowl of hoison and Sriracha mixed veggie pho (pho chay) in under five minutes with minimal acid reflux repercussions. No-frills in the alcohol department, most "pho" restaurants (who nix many other Vietnamese aspects from their single focus eateries) lack one crucial addition to my Sriracha-laden weekly prep meal -- beer.

Anything drenched in Sriracha has found its match in beer, a lager to be specific. Iron Chef Michael Symon has a life-changing Sriracha hot wings recipe that couldn't go better with anything other than a crisp, slightly hoppy lager. Say Budweiser and you will get hit, there are many lagers and Czech-style pilsners brewed nationwide that will quench a Sriracha-fire thirst.

Eating: Sriracha Popcorn -- Beloved by many, worshiped by some and the root of odd obsessions, the Thai chili and garlic dip called "Rooster Sauce" has been adapted as a coating for popcorn thanks to the folks at Seattle's own J&D's Foods (of Bacon Salt and Baconnaise spread fame). Inherently sweet and buttery, the Sriracha makes an obvious partner in crime for popcorn and volunteers some of its heat for a final kick to the crunchy snack.

Location, location: West Seattle Thriftway -- Although several retailers will order this niche product upon request, the Washington-owned grocery chain of Thriftway has Sriracha Popcorn available at their West Seattle address as long as they can keep it in stock. J&D also sells it on their website, as well as many other products up for pairing consideration.

Drinking: Sam Adams Noble Pilsner -- Warning: Once you got sauce on your pop, there's no way to stop. Mostly because the heat only builds when you halt the popcorn inhaling. Although this is how addictions can form, you must drink to dull the piquancy of the popcorn. Sam Adams' Noble Pilsner is a cure for the fever, with its five noble hop varietals and mid-level IBUs (International Bittering Units, the scale to measure bitterness/hoppiness) to balance out and stand up to the Sriracha heat. A honeyed malt also aids as a coolant and clean finish.

Pointers from the Pros: "You definitely want a beer that is going to stand up to the heat and balance it out to cleanse the palate," says Danna Gibson, a certified cicerone and key account specialist for The Boston Beer Company. "The great thing about pairings like this, where they complement and contrast, is you are able to fully enjoy the flavors of the beer and the popcorn -- which means you will probably find yourself eating and drinking more than you expected to!"

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