Beer and Jerky
Settle down for an evening of beer and jerky. Photo courtesy of Gary West Jerky, a NIBBLE Top Pick Of The Week.


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JAMES ARMSTRONG is a freelance writer in New York City.



May 2009

Product Reviews / Main Nibbles / Meat & Poultry

Jerky & Beer Pairings

An Evening Of Brews & Chews



CAPSULE REPORT: Here’s a fun event for any season: a jerky and beer tasting. The Nibble gathered a group of coffee baristas to test their palates on beer and jerky. The baristas brought a few of their favorite microbrews, THE NIBBLE brought the jerky. If you like jerky and beer, you’ll want to repeat this tasting for an evening of entertainment or a special occasion, like Father’s Day. You can make your own jerky and beer selections from what is available locally, do online research, select the ones below, or consider our Top Pick Of The Week jerky from Gary West or other favorite jerky brands.


It didn't take much to bribe our crowd to taste a fine selection of cured meats, especially when they learned that the only cost of admission to the event was a craft beer that they felt would enhance the group’s jerky-tasting experience.

At any given point in the evening we would have four different glasses of beer sitting at our side to find the perfect match for the strips of smoked, dried, and aged cuts that awaited us. While chewing the fat strips (some of which took longer than others), we took care to try as many different pairings as possible to find the best brew partner for the beef, or in some cases, buffalo, venison or ostrich.

With two moving-size boxes filled with different jerky varieties at our disposal, the task at hand seemed that it could take hours. But once we started sampling, we proceeded to taste our way through the provisions with alacrity. It didn’t take long for us to narrow down our favorite high-protein snacks or favorite unions between jerky and beer.

The surprise came later when we decided to pull out a Japanese coffee siphon to handle a different type of brew, a batch of Stumptown coffee from Portland, Oregon, which paired surprisingly well with the hot and spicy jerkys we had scheduled for the end of the tasting.

This strong tripel-style Belgian ale has the body to be cellared for up to three years; it becomes sweeter with honeyed notes and a denser mouthfeel. In Belgium, it is used in fine cooking.

As a group of carnivorous males, we didn’t mind that a certain jerky might take a bit of effort to chew through, as long as flavor prevailed and we didn’t run out of beer. After working our jawbones to the limit, a more tender morsel now and then did heighten our pleasure. While waiting in line for beer, a curious woman in front of us tried to get us to sample a meatless jerky, which we did—a vegan product made from soy flour, intended to provide the “hearty chewing pleasure of conventional jerky without being tough.” But it didn’t make the cut, with all of the tasty meats we had at our disposal.

Plan A Party

This is a fine way to spend an evening with friends. Task each one with bringing a good microbrew, as we did. It’s an opportunity to explore and discover new brews, as well as new jerkys. Perhaps you’d like to create a cattle-drive film festival to round out the evening. Some ideas:

Continue To Page 2: The Jerkys & Beers, Part 1



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