The Chef-Approved Beer Pairing For Your Next Bowl Of Ramen

Who doesn't crave a hot bowl of ramen after a long, cold day? Some people crave it just as much when it's hot outside. But, no matter what the weather report might say, that bowl of ramen will be all the better with a cold beer served alongside it. According to Chef Judy Joo, Celebrity Chef & Owner of Seoul Bird, with locations in London, Las Vegas, and now at CitiField & Barclays Center, that doesn't have to be just any beer. You can choose one that perfectly complements the flavors of your broth.

"A lighter non spicy ramen broth would go well with a pale ale or pilsners for their refreshing profiles," says Joo. When it comes to broths that have a bit more kick, on the other hand, Joo says "the lemony, coriander notes in a blond beer is a fine match for the spice of Buldak ramen, lifting the dish." So, while you could always keep it simple by grabbing a Sapporo — one of Japan's oldest beers and the most classic to pair with ramen – it's worth exploring other, more specific, beer pairings that can bring out the best in your broth.

Even at one of the best ramen spots in America, your beer options can be limited. Sapporo is bound to be on the menu anywhere you go, but you can also use the descriptions of the ramen to guide you towards something more unique.

Getting specific with your ramen pairing

Whether dining out or making ramen at home, you'll know if ramen is going to be on the spicier side if it lists any one of the following ingredients: togarashi, yuzu kosho, gochujang, sambal oelek (also called Indonesian chili sauce), or Chinese-style chili garlic sauce. Chili crisp is a common ramen topping that brings up the spice, too — and you can always ask your server to serve it on the side for you when you're out. Going along with Chef Joo's recommendation, the presence of any one of these should indicate you to order a blonde beer. Without them, you can go with a pale ale or a Pilsner.

If you're not finding anything along those lines on the restaurant's beer list, your server should be able to recommend something similar. Fortunately, your options open up a lot more if you're making ramen at home. Whether you're shopping for the instant ramen brand Tasting Table ranked the best or the spicy ramen with the highest heat level, a stroll over to the beer fridge will present you with an endless array of possible pairings. Chef Joo's recommendation makes it easy. Still, choosing a good beer can be complicated, so you can use Tasting Table's ranking of the 45 most popular beers to guide you.