Eye of the Hawk Vs. Imperial Barley Wine Ale: Which Pairs Best with Our Robust Mushroom and Potato Dinner?



For this month’s beer pairing, I wanted to do something more robust for those of of us who are less salad eaters (link to last month’s post) and more into good ol’ fashioned potato based dishes. After finding the recipes I wanted to try, the next step was to find a few beers that would pair nicely with the dishes. Here’s what I made:

Amazing Creamed Mushrooms! I Used Portabellas and left out the pasta in favor of Yukon Gold potatoes.

Freakin’ Amazing Yukon Gold Baked Potatoes (Alton used Russets)

The End Product. I also baked asparagus that had been marinated in olive oil, salt, pepper, and half a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar.

The End Product. I also baked asparagus that had been marinated in olive oil, salt, pepper, and half a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar.

The meal was fabulous and I intentionally chose high alcohol, Imperial style ales to pair with this superbly robust meal. Let’s break them down and see how they held up to my scrutiny.


At a whopping 11% ABV, this Imperial Barley Wine Ale was a vigorously strong brew. Plentiful notes of sherry, malt, and such a varied hop assortment that I had troubleIMG_2324 pinning down their aromas. The initial flavor was that of molasses, so intense that the taste lingered as an after scent for minutes after a single sip. While I wouldn’t say it didn’t go well with the mushrooms and potatoes, I’ll say that it didn’t do much for the taste. As far as pairing with the asparagus, NO. Just no. It was bad. Asparagus plus barley wine is just not okay. So my final thoughts? I’ll get back to it.




Loved this drink. Eye of The Hawk Imperial Ale was slightly floral with a citrus ester note. It totally jived with the balsamic vinegar in the asparagus and just went natuIMG_2315rally with the Yukon Golds and the Portabella mushrooms. Because this dish was so creamy, the dry finish to this Imperial Ale was almost too good of a pairing. The entire meal seemed to bring out a fuller body with a significantly more pleasant mouth feel in the beer.

The Verdict? Eye of The Hawk is an Excellent Pairing You’ve Got to Try

While the Imperial Barley Wine Ale is a great standalone beer (and by standalone I mean drink one at a time, and do so slowly), it’s not a great beer to pair with this dish. In fact, I don’t think it’s a beer pairing type of drink. Rather, drink the Imperial Barley alone after a really long week by the fire pit or on the front porch. This is no doubt a “just chill” beer.

Eye of the Hawk can totally be drank alone, but, damn, it went so well with the Creamed Mushroom and Potato Dish. Honestly, I impressed myself again with my excellent beer pairing abilities. This is a dish I’ll make again for guests and offer a cold beer with it.

What do you think? Is there a different beer I should have considered pairing with this dish?

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