Beer + food pairing #3

It’s official…. I love Nigella Lawson’s recipes. I also love Liberty Brewing Co. beers. Like, a lot. Pairing the two together makes for a good time.

#3 Liberty C!TRA Double IPA + Nigella’s Party Popcorn

Have a party!


  • 3/4 cup popping corn
  • 3 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp paprika (smoked or natural depending on your preference)
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 3 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 bottle Liberty C!TRA Double IPA


  1. Place the corn and the oil in a large pot over a medium heat. Put in just enough corn kernels to cover the base of the pot.
  2. Keep a lid on the pot until the corn has finished popping (2-3 seconds between pops). In a small bowl, melt the butter then stir in the sugar, salt and spices. Drizzle this over the popcorn, mixing it through as you go.

You can play around with this recipe a bit to suit your tastes. Nigella’s original version calls for a good dose more salt, whereas I like mine with extra brown sugar sprinkled over the top. I have also made a successful version using paprika, salt, sugar and lime.

Don’t be scared of seasoning, Nigella wouldn’t be! Adding brown sugar to the popcorn brings out the juicy citrus and hop notes in the beer. The underlying spice aromas are fantastic with the malt. There are quite a lot of flavours going on here, especially if you use smoked paprika, so the party in your mouth never stops!

P.S. This recipe makes a LOT of popcorn but I’ll admit I sat and ate most of it by myself. There’s no shame in that. Invite friends to your party, and tell them to bring beer, if you want to.

liberty beers
Liberty Brewing Co. beers
Beer + food pairing #3

Beer + food pairing #1, #2

The elusive art form of creating the perfect match!

I’m going to share a few little gems here, but don’t forget that tasting and trialing your own pairings is all part of the fun and experience of drinking! My tastes may differ from yours, and hence the post starts with anchovies. Enjoy!

#1 Strong lager + sherry strawberries

Harrington’s Ngahere Gold paired with poached strawberries and anchovy. Just screams out Summer!


  • 125g ripe strawberries
  • 30ml medium sherry
  • 8 white anchovies
  • one bottle of strong lager to share


  1. Slice the strawberries and place in a saucepan over a medium heat. Add the sherry and reduce a little (3-4 mins).
  2. Turn the heat down and add the anchovy. Stir to coat evenly.
  3. Take off the heat and cool to room temperature before eating. The anchovies turn pink so they look way less intimidating!

Serves 2

P.S. I generally find lagers dull and boring, so I chose a strong lager with sweet, pungent grassy qualities. The sweetness of the strawberry complements this beer while the white anchovy gives a delicate saltiness, so it is crisp and cleansing on the palate.


#2 White IPA + salted toffee cashews

Moa’s Southern Alps is an unusual fusion of Belgian Wit and IPA. I found it paired nicely with the delicate creamy flavour of these scrummy cashews and it brought out the sweet coriander notes in the beer. In fact these nuts will go with basically any beer, so this is an excellent crowd-pleasing match (be warned, it’s hard to stop eating them!)


  • one cup of raw cashew nuts
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • some good quality flaky salt
  • one bottle of Moa White IPA


  1. Throw all the ingredients except for the salt and beer into a heavy based frying pan over a medium heat.
  2. Stir gently until the sugar begins to caramelize (about 5 mins).
  3. Grab a sheet of baking paper. Once the cashews are coated in gooey brown toffee, lay them out in clusters on the baking paper to cool.
  4. Once cooled, sprinkle with finely ground salt to taste. Wash them down with beer.


Beer + food pairing #1, #2