We don’t usually write articles on potato chips but when we were offered samples of Neal Brothers Foods Kettle Chips with a request to find a wine or other beverage pairing we were intrigued.
Neal Brothers food was started by two brothers, Peter and Chris Neal. They began in the family kitchen in 1988 and grew from there. Peter and Chris have a commitment to health food and their chips are non-GMO. The Pink Himalayan Salt chips only have three ingredients, potatoes, salt and sunflower oil. The other chips are the same with the addition of natural ingredients like organic dried cane syrup, real maple sugar and garlic and onion powder.
We didn’t know what flavors of chips we would get but spent some time trying to think of potential pairings anyway. Probably white wines were our first thought. Once the chips arrived we thought we would have a better idea, however it did not work out that way. The first bag, Pink Himalayan Salt seemed pretty straightforward. Even the Maple Bacon gave us some possibilities. The Srirachup and the Montreal Steak Spice we were really going to have to think about.
We decided to invite our friend Mike over to help us as he is more of a potato chip connoisseur then we are. We selected three white wines, a Rhone white, a Chilean Sauvignon and a Lodi Viognier and a couple of red wines to open. The reds were a Rhone red and a Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon. We also decided to try two beers, one light and one medium bodied. We would taste all of the chips with the wines first and then make another pass tasting with the beer.
We started off with the Pink Himalayan Salt and worked our way through the wines and then tried the maple Bacon, Srirachup and last the Montreal Steak Spice. Afterwards we opened the beers and did the same progression.
The Neal Brothers Pink Himalayan Salt Kettle Chips are very tasty. Crisp, not greasy with just enough salt to complement the potato flavor. The Rhone white and the Chilean Sauvignon Blanc did fine, not great, The Lodi Viognier was not quite as good a match. The reds as you would expect overwhelmed the chips. Of the two beers the lighter one paired well while the medium one muted the flavor of the chips.
The Maple Bacon Kettle Chips tasted just like their name. A nice light maple sweetness with the smoky bacon underneath. The flavor of the potatoes still showed through too. This was a little more work. We wanted to find what would work while still preserving the maple and bacon flavors. The Rhone white went ok while the other white wines tended to mute the flavors and the reds overwhelmed the maple and bacon flavors. The lighter beer went the best with the medium bodied beer a close second.
Spicy Srirachup Kettle Chips? Sriracha flavored chips was a first for me but if you know Sriracha you will immediately recognize the flavor. A slight sweetness with a nice slow building heat with a lot of flavor. These chips are spicy but they are not the “how much can you take” flaming hot that some snacks have. The Rhone white and red did quite well with these chips. The lighter bodied beer was best.
We were curious what the flavor of the Montreal Steak Spice Kettle Chips was going to be like. Usually when I have a steak there is just salt and pepper on it. I don’t use a steak sauce or anything so I wasn’t real sure what to expect. However, as soon as I had one of the chips I could visualize eating a steak. You taste the onion and garlic and paprika along with a fair amount of heat. We also picked up the flavor of dill, very nice work by the Neal Brothers. While the red wines did okay with these chips it was the medium bodied beer that was the star.
Conclusion: It’s a lot of fun to get together with friends and try chips and wine and beer. You can find wine that will pair with the individual chips but we found beer was easier and more enjoyable. The lighter style of beer with the Himalayan Pink Salt and the maple Bacon and the heavier beer with the Srirachup and Montreal Steak Spice. Wine was too hit or miss trying to pair. I would think margaritas would do very well too.
Neal Brothers Foods Kettle Chips are available exclusively at Whole Foods Market.
What would beverage would you pair with these Kettle Chips?