Predictable, clichéd, fool-proof food-and-drink matches evolve over time for a very good reason: while they're not groundbreaking, exciting or innovative, they work - and taste delicious - time and time again. You could, for example, probably choose plenty of white wines or pink wines or even light reds to go with this month's recipe - a pungent sauvignon blanc, perhaps, or a pale, dry pinot rosé, or even a cool Beaujolais - but you know as well as I do that salty, chilli-laced fried potatoes are really best washed down with a glass of cold beer. Especially if they're accompanied by the salty, cheesy, caramelised goodness of ricotta, roast onion and feta dip. So the question is, which beer? The freshness of a lager would work, but the beer might not have enough flavour and oomph. A dark ale, porter or stout would perhaps be too heavy. So I'd plump for something in the middle like an India pale ale. Developed (so the story goes) in the UK in the time of the raj, IPA is a full-strength beer with medium-bodied flavour but high levels of hop aroma and bitterness: the extra hops helped preserve the beer on its journey to India and produced a drink with more flavour and character.
Salty, chilli-laced chips and beer is a classic combination that shouldn't be tampered with, writes Max Allen.