Marstons Burst Rate and Smoked Paprika Chilli

Marston’s have gone and got themselves a nanobrewery set up and their Burst Rate Munich Pale Ale is the outcome. Only 600 pints have been made and they very kindly sent a mini keg in my direction after a call out on their Facebook page. So the logical thing was to develop ourselves a nice recipe that would match nicely with this smooth drinking 6.5%er.

The Munich in the description refers to the use of Munich malts which brings a distinctive but delicate malty flavour to this gentle Pale Ale. The use of, I think, English hops, means that it has less punch than its American IPA cousins, leading to a good bitterness from the hopping but still a laid back complexity that was very pleasant to drink.

As you can see from my photos, the beer was a little cloudy but this was our fault for forgetting to ventilate it in advance even though we had been leaving it to settle for 48 hours. Whoops! I don’t think it impaired the flavour though, it was just a little yeasty right at the start of the keg as you would expect.

I was looking to match these different elements in my recipe and so developed a chilli recipe. I think we all have our own favoured method of making chilli and this ended up being a simple tweak on an easy family favourite for us.

Smoked Paprika Chilli
Serves 4

  • 500g minced beef (choose one with a higher fat content as this gives a more unctuous chilli and the higher fat content allows the Pale Ale to cut through and brings out the natural malty flavour)
  • An onion
  • A medium carrot
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tsp hot smoked paprika (we got ours from Deli in the Square in Leicester, it really packs a punch!)
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds, ground
  • Bay leaf
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • Pinch of red chilli flakes
  • 1/2 beef stock cube
  • 1/2 dried habanero chilli
  • Tin of chopped tomatoes
  • Tin of kidney beans
  • Cream of balsamic vinegar
  • 2 peppers

Finely chop the carrot, onion and garlic and sweat slowly in a pan with just a drop of oil until it softens. Don’t rush this stage, it takes about 10 minutes.

Add your spices and fry off with the sauce base ingredients for a couple of minutes, then add the beef, turn up the heat and brown off the meat.

Add your chopped tomatoes, swill the tin out with a dash of water and I added a good slug of Marstons Burst Rate for balance. Cook out low and slow for as long as possible.

Once the liquid has reduced by about half, add your kidney beans and peppers. Having tasted the sauce I felt it needed a little more sweetness and depth to match the beer so I added a gooey squirt of cream of balsamic vinegar, that wonderful dark shiny wonder-ingredient.

Cook on the lowest heat whilst you make rice using the absorption method.
Serve with sliced avocado and a sprinkling of grated cheese.

I have to say, we proper nailed this one! A slow cooked chilli with layers of complexity – that gorgeous smoked flavour matched with a robust, thick sauce with sweetness, giving way to savouriness and on to a building heat as you ate. This smokey element and sweetness brought out the best in the Pale Ale, matching the character of the malt and bringing out more floral notes in the beer. As the heat built, the bitterness of the hops was there to provide a welcome counter, and finally the fat from the sauce, avocado and cheesy garnish was also a great accompaniment to the beer giving a silky mouth feel and an equal punch of bold flavours from both the beer and the food. A thoroughly enjoyable dining experience!

Have you found some excellent beer pairings recently?


Bestselling author and freelance drinks writer. Champion of pubs and breweries. Occasional printmaker.

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