Pairing Beer and Chips with Mackie’s Scottish Crisps

As any food and drink writer currently studying to be a beer sommelier (is there others doing this?) when you are approached by brands you take a look at how trying one thing can help with another. When an email dropped in my inbox with the opportunity to work with Mackie’s Scottish Crisps I knew I wanted to do something different all the while not adding any extra work into my already crazy life. Mackie’s comes in a bunch of wild and crazy flavours so why not find out which beer would taste best when you want to get your snack on? An adult beverage for an adult chip.

Deciding on the beers was pretty simple. I stayed away from the heavier beers like brown ales and stouts because who can really see themselves eating chips with those? Dessert more like it! Here are the 5 styles I experimented with.

Kolsch – This German style is a light, crisp beer with a low hop presence and some vinous characteristics. As a malt forward beer with a balance of sweetness and bitterness it works really well with  balanced flavoured chip like the sea salt and beef. When there are not as many flavours in play it compliments well.

Wheat Beer – These beers pair well with most food and have a full, grainy mouth feel. This beer style is great with salty snacks and its grain like flavour compliments the potato starch perfectly. (Note: All the chips paired wonderfully with the wheat beer)

Cream Ale– Similar to a lager, cream ales also contain a grain-like taste but with a crisp, refreshing finish. Also malt and hop balanced, this beer is a great choice for uncomplicated chip flavours.

Amber Ale– A malt forward beer with hints of caramel and toffee. It has very little bitterness. Being a little on the sweet side this beer is perfect for chips that you want a contrast in flavours. Mature cheddar versus dark sugar flavours.

IPA– The most bitter of the beers, IPA’s have a distinct resinous flavour and citrus notes. This beer is perfect for fatty foods as well as cutting through the heat on spicier chips.

I had group of foodies with varied beer consumption habits gather together on a warm summer day by a pool to make our chip tasting fun and delicious. Starting with the mildest flavour of chip and continuing through all the bags we sipped and chipped and judged our way to some very solid winners.

Mackie’s chips are made in such a way that it’s the flavour of the chip you are tasting the not the oil.  They are thick cut, crispy and hold up amazingly well with the beer.  And now on to the winners.

Chip Flavour: Sea Salt

Best Beer Pairing: Tie between Kolsch and Cream Ale

Chip Flavour: Sea Salt and Vinegar

Best Beer Pairing: Cream Ale

Chip Flavour: Crispy Bacon

Best Beer Pairing: Amber

Chip Flavour: Tangy Tomato

Best Beer Pairing: Kolsch

Chip Flavour: Mature Cheddar and Onion

Best Beer Pairing: Amber

Chip Flavour: Honey Mustard

Best Beer Pairing: IPA

Chip Flavour: Aberdeen Angus Beef

Best Beer Pairing: Kolsch

Chip Flavour: Haggis and Black Pepper

Best Beer Pairing: Kolsch

Chip Flavour: Scotch Bonnet Chili Pepper

Best Beer Pairing: IPA

Keep in mind these decisions were based on our taste buds and may not work for everyone else. It was certainly a fun experiment.  Want to try some pairings yourself?  Lucky for us Mackie’s is available in Canada at these fine retailers: Farmland, select Foodlands, Bruno’s, Bloor Street Market, McEwan, Farm Boy, Nature’s Emporium, Denningers, and Organic Garage.

Find out more information on their Facebook page

*this post was sponsored by Mackie’s Chips.  All opinions, however are my own.


Tropical Trail Mix

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I’ll admit that I have jumped on board with the latest craze that has you wandering around town catching “things” and “hatching” other things. Since the app encourages people to get moving (in fact it only really works when you are on the “go”) it’s been a great surprise on how much time DH and I have spent wandering around this fine city of ours. The biggest downfall seems to be it always has us ending for ice cream.

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When the people over at asked if I wanted to participate in a contest from Eating Bird Food that revolves around National Trail Mix Day on August 31st and requires me to create my own custom mix I thought “wow this is so much better for me than ice cream.” Trail mix is perfect for hobbies like this.  It’s a healthy, nutritious and delicious snack that is easily portable and 100 percent  up to you with ingredients. Want more fruit than nuts? Go ahead. Some chocolate or candy? Throw it in! No recipe is needed. Just a glorious mixture of what you enjoy the most.

What does The Tasty Gardener’s mix look like?

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Even though my wonderful Canadian city is seeing a heat wave like never before and is posting temperatures higher than cities in India and Egypt I still enjoy the tropical flavours dried papaya and pineapple bring to my taste buds. Sharp and sweet it’s amazing how there is no added sugar.

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I’m really new to goji berries despite the influx of positive media surrounding them. High in antioxidants, they have a mild, sweet flavour and a chewy texture. And their colour is just gorgeous isn’t it?

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You can never go wrong with roasted almonds.  A favorite on their own they add a wonderful crunch alongside these hardier and deeper flavoured pepitas which give my mix a boost of protein.

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And can we get more tropical than Macadamia nuts? You can chop these up if you want however I like them whole. Isn’t it the best feeling when you get a whole bite of your number one ingredient in a recipe? Like a piece of garlic in a caesar salad or a whole chocolate chip in a cookie? That’s how I feel about these nuts.

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So this is what my trail mix looks like? Look at those vibrant colours, it’s just bursting with taste. And packaged individually for days out exploring I know that sweet, nutty and salty blend will be just what I need.

What does your Trail Mix look like?

Spiced Nuts

Serves 1/4 cup

Spiced Nuts

Here's a great snack that I bet you can't just stop at one handful.

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  • 4 cups of mixed nuts
  • 1 x egg white
  • 1 heaping tbsp of grainy mustard
  • 2 tbsp of sugar
  • 1/2 tsp of cayenne
  • Salt


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Lightly whisk egg white and add mustard, sugar, cayenne and salt to taste.
  3. Add nuts and toss well to cover.
  4. Spread out onto a baking sheet.
  5. Bake for 15 minutes, or until nuts are lightly browned.
Recipe Type: Appetizer


I like to use a mixture of cashews, almonds, pecan, filberts and brazil nuts but you can use any nuts you prefer.

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In a bowl lightly whisk one egg yolk.

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Take a heaping tablespoonful of mustard

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And mix it with the egg.

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Add the sugar, salt and cayenne.  Mix together well.

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Add the nuts and toss well to thoroughly coat them.

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Spread nuts on a foil lined baking sheet.

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Toast in preheated 350 degree F oven for 15-20 minutes until the nuts start to brown. Let cool and enjoy.

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