I have to fess up to something. I subscribe to a number of recipe services that send stuff daily. Most of it I don’t pay attention to, but every so often a headline will catch my eye and I will have to look at the recipe, and if it sounds as good as the title, I write down the ingredients I need so I can pick them up on the way home and make that meal.
Here’s one that caught my eye today: Sweet and Sticky Tofu with Baby Bok Choy.
Yes, I love tofu. This recipe called for dredging the cubed tofu in cornstarch, frying that up until golden brown, removing the tofu and stir frying garlic, ginger matchsticks, green onion, roasted red and green serrano chiles and baby bok choy, adding the crispy fried tofu, and then adding a soy sauce and brown sugar-based sauce that quickly tightens up, thanks to a little more cornstarch, and coats the ingredients with the sticky sweetness of the title.
Well, knowing what direction I’m going with dinner, what to drink with it?
Sounds like a tough one, doesn’t it?
Easiest ever, but through sheer luck, I think.
After I had gathered all the ingredients I needed to make the meal, I walked back to the beer and liquor section, with no preconceived notion other than wanting to find something compatible with fiery tofu, because I intended to ramp up the ginger and peppers called for in the recipe. Some like it hot.
I dismissed wine immediately because with my limited knowledge of them, a late harvest riesling is the only one I thought would go with the meal I had in mind, and I had a spatlese last night with something else that I can’t even remember now.
Arriving in the beer aisle, it took all of three seconds to find the beer that seemed destined to be paired with my version of Sweet and Sticky Tofu with Baby Bok Choy. My eyes fell on a six pack featuring some goof wearing a thistle on his head.
And then I saw the name – The Hemperor.
Ho, ho, I thought, the stars really are aligned today.
The Hemperor is an HPA from New Belgium Brewing Co. Their website describes it as “The World’s Dankest Ale.”
“Hops and Hemp Reign. Together at Last.” the legend on the bottle label reads.
My, oh my, I do love the aroma of this beer. Very hempy! Or did I mean hoppy?
The website also tells us that the mad beer scientists at NBB found a way to “recreate hemp terpene flavors in beer, which complement the inclusion of hop flavors and hemp hearts (seeds) in a brand new, delicious way.”
Hop, hop, hempray to that that!
The taste on my pepper-laden tongue is piquant and teasingly poignant. The Hemperor does not put out the fire in my mouth, but it makes the symbolic self-immolation seem righteous, which makes everything seem alright.
And it tastes great!
I am getting so many conflicting and collaborating flavors in this beer. It sends shivers down my spine trying to understand it. This, I think, is my new go-to beer. I have completely fallen under the wonderful spell of The Hemperor. Thank you, NBB!