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Far beyond burgers and pizza, craft beer pairs beautifully with elegant food—and with chocolate and other sweets, too. Photo by James Camp | IST.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

RYAN SMITH, Beer Editor of THE NIBBLE, brews, drinks and writes about craft beer in New York City.

 

 

July 2008

Product Reviews / Main Nibbles / Beer

Beer & Food Pairing

Part II: Favorite Food & Beer Parings From The Savor Experience

 

This is Part II of a two-part article. To read Part I, click on the black links below.

 

With dozens of tables to visit at Savor, each pairing a craft beer with a savory or sweet dish, there was much to take in. These were some of my favorite food pairings, most of which are relatively easy to create at home for your own tasting event:

Boscos Hefeweizen
Boscos Brewing Company
Memphis, Tennessee
Paired With Chicken Breast À La Blanche De Chambly

This was my favorite pairing of the entire afternoon, not only because it tasted delicious, but also because it showed beer’s versatility as a cooking ingredient. Blanche de Chambly, a wheat beer brewed by Unibroue, made a deliciously spicy, buttery and slightly citrusy beurre blanc-like sauce that proved to be a natural match for the chicken. The equally citrusy and slightly sweet flavors of the hefeweizen complemented the flavors of the dish like a culinary soulmate. I spent an inordinate amount of time at the Bosco table. See Part I for my notes on Boscos Hefeweizen. (BoscosBeer.com)

Dragon’s Milk Oak Aged Ale
Maytag Blue CheeseNew Holland Brewing Company
Holland, Michigan
Paired With Maytag Blue Cheese

The slightly smoky flavors of the oak-aged ale matched the strong and rich flavors of the Maytag Blue. This was a fitting union, bringing together an innovative craft beer with a cheese made by the Maytag family—Fritz Maytag is the owner of Anchor Brewing and one of the pioneers of the craft brew movement.  (NewHollandBrew.com)
Maytag Blue Cheese is available from iGourmet.com.

World Wide Stout
Dogfish Head
Rehoboth Beach, Delaware
Paired With
Christopher Elbow Chocolates Raspberry Bonbon

At 18% alcohol by volume, World Wide Stout is hardly your Grandpa’s Guinness. And Christopher Elbow Artisan Chocolates, with their exquisite designs and complex flavor Christopher Elbow Chocolatecombinations, are about as far from a plain old box of bonbons as one can get. (Read THE NIBBLE’s review of Christopher Elbow Chocolates, a Top Pick Of The Week.) It seemed natural, then, to serve what is perhaps the country’s finest dessert beer with some of the country’s best chocolates. World Wide Stout is rich, but not overly so, with slight fruit flavors that paired well with the raspberry flavors in the chocolate. The chocolate itself was a study in complexity, with rich cocoa flavor contrasted with a delicate raspberry filling—a layer of fresh raspberry pâte de fruit topped with a dark chocolate-raspberry infused ganache. The dark chocolate flavors of the beer were a perfect match. (Dogfish.com)

Creme BruleeThunderfoot Oak Aged Cherry Imperial Stout
New Albanian Brewing Company
New Albany, Indiana
Paired With
Crème Brûlée

The subtle sweetness of the cherries and the slightly chocolaty flavors of the stout paired beautifully with the vanilla and caramel flavors of the crème brûlée. The beer’s sturdy malt backbone matched well with the burnt sugar in the dish, and the lightly spicy hop flavors cut through the creamy, rich texture and helped to cleanse the palate for the next bite. (NewAlbanian.com)

More To Enjoy

Savor also featured a number of smaller group panel discussions aimed at educating beer drinkers on the pleasures of pairing beer with fine food. I attended a discussion led by Hugh Sisson, head brewer and founder of Baltimore’s Clipper City Brewing, which focused on pairing beer with foods from the Chesapeake Bay region. 

For the first course, Sisson paired his organic Oxford Raspberry Wheat Beer with a Clipper City Peg Leg Stouttimbale of blue crab and avocado. The subtly sweet flavors of the beer did not overwhelm the delicate flavors of the crab, and they matched well with the slightly sweet richness of the avocado. The second pairing celebrated the Chesapeake’s stellar waterfowl, with a chocolate and coffee-dusted duck breast paired with Clipper City’s Peg Leg Stout, a bold, chocolatey imperial stout. The duck was served with an apricot, mango and poblano pepper chutney, and the beer’s sturdy richness complemented the chutney’s balanced sweet and spicy flavors. (www.CCBeer.com)

And as we were happily eating and drinking away, Sisson spoke about his own favorite beer and food pairings, and he echoed what could have served as the mantra of the entire event:

“Experiment,” he said. “It’s your money, honey. Go with it. You are your own best judge.” 

Find your own path to craft beer and food happiness. Have your own epiphanies. I had several as I wandered from table to table at Savor—and, somewhere between my fourth and fifteenth beer sample, I realized that if this wasn’t the happiest place on earth, it was damn sure the hoppiest. Here’s to hoping they do it again next year. 

Visit Beertown.org to read about upcoming events from the Brewers Association.

Return To Part I: Overview & Favorite Beers

Return To Article Index Above

WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN STOUT & IMPERIAL STOUT?
CHECK OUT OUR GLOSSARY OF BEER TERMS.



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