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Ramen is a very deeply misunderstood food in America. Here, when most of us think of ramen, we think of those stupid packing peanuts in broth that impoverished college students are forced to eat out of budgeting issues.
Real ramen, though, is not like that in Japan. In Japan, a bowl of ramen involves broth, noodles, egg, and vegetables — and is a seriously decadent meal, in and of itself. The quality, too, tends to be better than what you'd find in the aisles of Foodtown.
If you are near an Asian grocery store and can grab some authentic ramen packets, follow a good ramen recipe and make yourself a bowl. Then, if you really want to try to dine like in Nippon, you'll grab the best beer to pair with ramen.
According to multiple groups, the following beers make the cut as some of the best beer to pair with ramen... or really to pair with almost any noodle dish from the East.
If the ramen you made has a light, less salty broth known as shio broth, then you need a beer that's equally light. Japanese brand Sapporo makes a premium white beer that is crisp, refreshing, and also acts as a perfect palate cleanser for lighter ramen dishes.
Generally speaking, Sapporo Premium is the best beer to pair with ramen if you don't know what kind of broth you have in the soup. After all, it does work well with greasier soups, light soups, and offers a pretty good balance to seafood elements in soup, too.
For those who don't know, shio would generally be included in chicken and seafood ramen.
Sierra Nevada Nooner
Shoyu ramen, which is ramen that has a lot of soy sauce in its broth, needs something that can handle the salt content in its soup. That's why the best beer to pair with ramen done up shoyu-style tends to be flavorful, hoppy, and somewhat bitter.
Beer fans tend to suggest a traditional pilsner to counterbalance the salinity of the broth. Crisp beers work well, and so do hoppy beers. We like the Sierra Nevada Nooner, in terms of a domestic pilsner pairing — primarily because it's so light that it works to balance out saltier soy broth.
If you want a more authentic Japanese pairing, then the best beer to pair with ramen using shoyu broth would be a Sapporo Premium Black. Dark broth, dark beer. Dig?
If you decide to try the relatively new, slightly thicker and saltier option of miso ramen, then you're in for a treat. This is basically an upgraded version of miso soup — and that means that this ramen dish will give you a lot of flavor and a lot of deliciously seafood-friendly goodness.
However, pairing a beer with miso soup can be very hard to do. There are really two schools of thought, here: sour and dry.
Many like to play the tartness of the ramen up with a Gose for a "Greek yogurt" type of tanginess. Sour beers are very good, if you dig the slightly sour elements of miso.
On the other hand, the more traditional pairing for miso is a pale lager. For this, a classic Budweiser will work as a good example of a smart pairing for miso ramen, since it's one of the best beer to pair with ramen. And, it also comes with the perk of being one of the best cheap beers for ramen-eating college students to buy.
Go ahead, show your love of lager. We won't judge.
Asahi Super Dry
Tonkotsu, perhaps the heaviest form of ramen, features pork broth and super heavy umami flavors from bone marrow. In other words, umami is high in this, and at times, it can be a bit overwhelming for inexperienced palates.
People who enjoy tonkotsu ramen have a tendency of liking saltier, richer, and overall decadent food. The problem with this kind of super thick soup is that trying to get something that has an equally strong flavor will likely make everything a bit too much.
The solution? A super light, dry beer like Asahi Super Dry.
The best beer to pair with ramen that contains such a heavy broth has to be light in order to cut through all the grease and fat. Otherwise, the meal will fry out your tastebuds.
Of course, if you want a wine-like beer, you could probably get away with an apple lambic, too. The acidity in the wine tends to work to cleanse the palate and balance out the strong savory flavors in the broth.