Despite all our best intentions, every evening does not shine like a Friday or Saturday night. They’re the weekend, a time draped with the allure of waking up whenever you’d like, dressing up, going out and staying up past your bedtime.
Mondays are meant for dragging yourself from your bed to your desk and then back to your bed. The only respite to the monotony is the sound of the doorbell, signaling the arrival of that night’s takeout container. Tuesdays arrive with turbulence and tiredness, so a greasy pizza may have to do. But, some nights warrant a treat. I am by no means proposing the idea that you commit to that $28 hunk of short rib at Whole Foods every other night—that’s simply not possible. What I am saying is, finding the right beer to pair with your weeknight dishes can make all the difference—and your day.
Monday: Chinese Takeout and a Hazy IPA
The ultimate easy-food: Chinese takeout. Sesame chicken almost tastes gourmet when paired with a citrusy, pillowy IPA. I said “almost.” If you do opt for something on the spicier side, an IPA with lactose or oats will rescue your palate from the heat. The two aren’t an obvious match, but they’re equally crushable, quite delicious, and both light enough to recover from the next morning. The sweetness of some sweet-and-sour chicken will mesh with your citra hops. The luxuriousness of a crab rangoon won’t be ruined by the pillowy hops.
What to look for: Stillwater Artisanal Soft Pack Vol. 2
Tuesday: Pizza and a Pilsner
The king of budget eating: Pizza. Go ahead and order a large, that way you can feed yourself for a couple meals. It’s a sad thought for enjoys cooking—forfeiting your next few meals for below average pizza and reheated, below average pizza. But, a pro’s tip is to spend the little bit extra on above average, extra crispy pizza. You can add some toppings, but don’t overdo it. Day old olives don’t sound appealing, nor does extra cheese. The best bet is red peppers, onions, sausage and basil. This way, over the next couple days, you can put your pizza back in the oven and relive the crispiness that once was. Pair it with a beer that’s equally as crisp and classic: A pilsner. It won’t overpower, but it’ll be impressively drinkable and a pizzas perfect opening act.
What to look for: Victory Prima Pils
Wednesday: Spaghetti and a Lambic
Mom’s choice: Spaghetti. If you’re low on cash but still want to do it on your own, spaghetti is a weeknight no-brainer. Pasta is cooked in ten minutes and sauce can be made with five ingredients, and the whole thing will cost you about $10—a can of San Marzano peeled tomatoes, a couple cloves of garlic, salt, pepper and basil. Did I just teach you how to make marinara sauce? Maybe. This is the classiest of cheap dinners, so what you pair it with is important. Red wine is too expensive—at least good red wine is—so opt for something similar, something fruity, something cheap: A lambic. If you’re not familiar with lambics or fruit beers, you’re probably hesitant right now. Lambics are a Belgian staple, famous being delicious, having a low-ABV, and usually being sold at low prices. A raspberry Lambic will run you about $10 and it tastes like mashed, ripe raspberries. The tartness is bearable and the sweetness isn’t overpowering, so pour yourself a small glass and enjoy.
What to look for: Lindeman’s Framboise
Thursday: Burger and a Sour
An unabashed classic: A burger and fries. Don’t be ashamed to say you still get fast-food every once and a while. Sure, it’s not great for you, at all, but when you’re in a pinch and you need something cheap and quick, a burger and fries is a steadfast solution. If you’re still opposed to McDonald’s (they do deliver now, though), you’ve got plenty of options. There’s Five Guys, Shake Shack, In-N-Out, Burger King, Wendy’s, etc. and all of them pretty much give you the same thing: A patty between two buns, combination of toppings and a side of fries in a paper bag to-go. Take this greasy, melded mess home and enjoy it on your couch—you’ve earned it. Pour yourself a sour beer to wash it down. As famous as these burgers have become, they aren’t all known for their infatuating flavor. So, pair it with something that’s unique, bold and crisp—something acidic enough to cleanse your palate.
What to look for: Brooklyn Brewery Bel Air Sour