Classic Pairing: Moules + Biere

We're not telling you anything new here with the revelation that mussels and beer were born to be together.  Many people have had the classic French moules mariniere where the mussels are served steamed in a broth of white wine, shallots, parsley and butter.  But we Beer Chicks like to do it like the Belgian beer fanatics do with their classic moules frites (mussels with fries), replacing the wine in the recipe with – you guessed it – beer.

The beer that we love love love to use to steam mussels in is the Belgian style called White Ale. Traditionally brewed with coriander and bitter orange peel, this beer gives a spicy, citrusy complexity to the dish that we love.  Our favorites to use are Unibroue Blanche de Chambly, Allagash White, Lost Coast Great White and Hoegaarden.  We also have two additional little tricks that really enhance the flavor of these delicious mussels.  We add a little dijon mustard/cream mixture right at the end to make these mussels pop!

Now, we don't generally pair food with the exact same beer style that it's made with, but in this case, you really can't beat it.   Maybe steam the mussels with one White Ale and pair the mussels with another and let your taste buds run wild.  Also, don't forget the freshly baked crusty bread to soak up all the delicious beer broth!

White Ale Braised Mussels 
 
  • 1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
  • 4 shallots, finely chopped
  • 1 small onion, chopped (1 cup)
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
  • 2 small bay leaves
  • Large pinch of salt
  • 2 cups White Ale
    (pour beer slowly at an angle to measure, do not measure foam)
  • 2 tablespoons whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 2 pounds mussels, scrubbed, debearded  
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • Lots of crusty bread

Heat butter in a wide 5- to 6-quart heavy pot over medium high heat until foam subsides, then cook shallots, onion,  garlic, thyme, bay leaf, and salt, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 4 minutes.  
 
Add the White Ale and bring just to a boil. Add the mussels and cook, covered, stirring/shaking occasionally, until mussels open wide, 4 to 6 minutes. Transferring the mussels to a deep serving platter as they open. (Discard any mussels that remain unopened)
 
Remove pot from heat. Stir together mustard and cream in a small bowl, then add mixture along with parsley to hot broth and whisk until combined. Discard bay leaves. Pour sauce over mussels and serve with warm freshly baked crusty bread.