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Category Archives: Beer Food Pairing

What beer should you serve with your ‘que?

bbqIt’s grilling season. There are only a few phrases that get me more excited than these three words. Sure, “Free beer” and “Do you want to balance the checkbook?” (a phrase my wife and I used when, well, you know…) get my blood going too, but “Its grilling season is right up there with those phrases. Let’s say it’s in third place. Now that we have established the phrases that rev my engine, let’s get down to a discussion of how beer and barbeque belong together like lovers in a Cialis commercial.

First things first; barbeque means different things to different people. For some, the simple act of throwing meat on a grill – gas, charcoal or electric – epitomizes the cooking technique. Others will disagree and say that is grilling; barbeque requires low, indirect heat and excruciatingly slow cooking. For our purposes, we will use the first definition. Meat (or veggies if that’s your thing) cooked on a grill, over a heat source is ‘que to us! And, nothing goes better with smoky, delicious grilled foods than cold beer. But, which beer goes best with each different type of food? I’m glad you asked, I have a few suggestions.

Burgers

Perhaps the most common food found on grills in backyards across the country is the humble hamburger. I get weak in the knees at the thought of a medium-rare burger dripping with cheese on a potato roll with lettuce, tomato, pickles and home-made barbeque sauce (I grew up in St. Louis, so my sauce choice is sweet, brown sugar or molasses-based). Finding a beer to match this culinary equivalent of Nirvana may seem simple. Many might say just grab an IPA and go. I disagree. Sure the hoppy bitterness will provide a wonderful foil for the flavors of the burger, but a beer with a bit of smokiness will really make it sing. Try a black IPA, smoked porter or regular porter. You’ll thank me.

Steaks

Beef is the king of all meats. Throw a superbly-marbled ribeye on the grill and nothing short of magic is in the offing. A rich cut of beef like this deserves a rich beer to go along with it. In this case, a stout black as midnight and thick as motor oil is just the thing. The dark, roasty flavors that develop in the kilning of malts for stouts provide a perfect contrast to the char crust that steak develops when cooked on the grill. Leaner cuts of beef like New York Strip or hanger steak require a slightly less aggressive approach. These cuts tend to be milder in flavor and thus would benefit from milder beers like brown ales.

Chicken (and anything that tastes like it)

There are several different ways you can go here. A straight-forward, throw-it-on-the-grill a slap some BBQ sauce on it preparation is most common. The crispy, umami flavor of the skin, slathered with sweet, tangy sauce just begs for a rich lager like dunkel or even a crisp, refreshing Vienna lager. For those who get a bit fancier and use citrus juices and herbs on their chicken, I recommend grassy, herbal saison. And, if you go the jerk route, you will probably want something to put out the fire in your mouth. Look for a helles lager to soothe the burn.

Pork

As I said earlier, I grew up in St. Louis. To us barbeque meant just one thing grilled pork steaks – Boston butt cut in to steaks – cooked until crispy on the edges and then glazed with sweet sauce. My father taught me to baste the steaks with beer as they cook to add yet another amazing layer of flavor. But, to others, pulled pork or ribs are the order of the day when it comes to putting the pig on the fire. No matter how you like it cooked, pair your pork with wee heavy. This Scottish style is made with smoked peat malt and is reminiscent of single-malt Scotch with its sweet, dark fruit and earthy flavors.

No matter how you define barbeque, I think we are all in agreement that any time meat meets fire good things are bound to happen. Once the cooking is done, all you need to do is arm yourself with an appropriate brew and settle in to a tasty meal.

A few brews you can find locally to pair with your charred meat include:

Orkney Skull Splitter Wee Heavy

Creamy and smooth, yet full of fruity goodness, this heavy-weight (8.5% ABV) will elevate your pork dishes in to barbeque Valhalla.

Leinenkugel’s Helles Yeah

Bright and citrusy, this Wisconsin version of the classic German style makes a great companion to spicy chicken dishes.

Intuition Ale Works King Street Stout

Locally-brewed and full on delicious, this stout will holds up nicely to a rich, thick steak.

 
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Posted by on June 13, 2017 in Beer, Beer Food Pairing

 

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Jacksonville bubbling over with great places to eat while enjoying craft beer

A burger paired with craft beer at Kickbacks Gastropub. Photo courtesy of jaxbrewbitch.com

A burger paired with craft beer at Kickbacks Gastropub. Photo courtesy of jaxbrewbitch.com

When you are looking for the best place to grab a bite along with a pint of freshly-made craft beer you do not need to look much further than the hundreds of brew and gastro pubs that have popped up around the country. Matching great beer to food is quickly becoming as popular as matching food with fine wines. So much so that there are several programs that seek to certify beer servers in much the same way wine servers can be certified as a sommelier.

Here in Jacksonville, Fla. weary travelers staying downtown can catch a quick cab ride to the King Street Beer District to dine at Kickbacks Gastropub and its soon-to-open companion establishment Goozlepipes & Guttyworks where they will find over 200 draft beer choices. Also in the area are restaurants with estensive beer offerings like The Blind Fig, European Street Café, Lola’s Burrito Joint, Carmine’s Pie House or Pele’s Wood Fire. For those with a smaller appetite but a thirst for craft beer, there is the soon to be open Silver Cow that will feature an ever-changing menu of small bites made fresh from locally sourced ingredients.

Further away from downtown are brew pub restaurants like Seven Bridges and World of Beer at Tinseltown on Southside Boulevard. Seven Bridges, part of the Gordon Biersch restaurant chain, brews its own beers on site and serves them paired with a full menu of steaks, seafood, and poultry. At World of Beer find 50 taps of craft beer and over 500 bottled beers along with a menu of flat breads pizzas, sandwiches and other pub fare. At the beaches one of the areas oldest brew pubs, Ragtime – now part of the Gordon Biersch company – serves freshly brewed beers along with Irish-inspired dishes. A block or so down the street from Ragtime is Poe’s a restaurant themed after Edgar Allan Poe that serves an array of unique burgers along with a large selection of quality craft beers.

Another idea for craft beer and food might be to swing by one of the several local brewery tap rooms that wither offer food or host food trucks for hungry patrons. Aardwolf Brewing Company in the San Marco area near downtown often has a food truck outside providing tasty dishes that beer-lovers can carry inside to enjoy with a cold pint. And Bold City Brewing Company has an in-house caterer called Jolly Mon that provides burgers, wings and other tasty foods fresh from its grill in the brewery. In Orange Park, Pinglehead Brewing Company exists inside the same storefront as Brewer’s Pizza and therefore benefits from its ability to provide hot, fresh pizza as well as cold beer. At the beaches Engine 15 Brewing Company serves up pub grub along with freshly-brewed beers to throngs of thirsty beach-goers and local alike.

But, even if a brewery does not offer on-premises food, all allow food to be brought in. At the Intuition Ales Works tap room in the Beer District, guests are encouraged to bring their own food or to order from the list of restaurants that deliver. The tap room staff maintains several menus behind the counter for perusal or can certainly make a suggestion. Similarly, the staff of Mile Marker Brewing Company in St. Augustine is pleased to allow outside food into the tap room.

Given the wide range of establishments available for the beer-lover to both dine and enjoy craft beer, there is no reason not to indulge. And, as craft beer expands in popularity, more and more venues will be added to the fray. For hungry craft beer-lovers, the times are indeed tasty.

 
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Posted by on January 14, 2014 in Beer Food Pairing

 

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Salty Pelican to host Lefthand and Engine 15 beer dinner

saltyPelicanThe Salty Pelican is one of Fernandina Beaches newest and hottest restaurants. So, it is only fitting that they will be hosting a beer dinner with two of the hottest breweries around – Engine 15 and Lefthand. The dinner will include five beers from each brewery and delicious dishes paired with them. According to the restaurant’s posting on Facebook, there are only 44 seats for the event, so be sure to reserve your seats early. Tickets are $60 each and are all-inclusive.

Special Guests:
Chris Lennert, VP Operations, Left Hand
Luch Scremin, Owner/Head Brewmaster, Engine 15

Beer Dinner Menu

1st Course
Oysters “3 Ways” – Raw (Tomato Gelee), Broiled (Garlic Parmesan), Fried (Mustard Aioli)

Paired with:
Lefthand – Sawtooth
Engine 15- Doolittle Saison

2nd Course
Jumbo Lump Crab Salad with Summer Melon,Citrus Vinaigrette, Ginger Crisp (Crab, Lemon, Lime, Melon)

Paired with:
Lefthand – Good JuJu or Ambidexturous Imperial Good Juju
Engine 15 – Watermelon Blonde

3rd Course
Pan Seared Grouper with Spicy Shrimp Broth (Grouper, Shrimp, Clams, Tomatoes)

Paired with:
Lefthand – 400 Lb Monkey IPA
Engine 15 – Battle Axe IPA

4th Course
Braised Short Rib, Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Onion Jam (Beef Short Rib, Potatoes, Red Wine, Onions, Garlic)

Paired with:
Lefthand – Stranger Pale Ale
Engine 15 – Rye of the Tiger

5th Course
Georgia Peach Crumble, Vanilla Ice Cream (Peaches, Cinnamon, Brown Sugar, Vanilla)

Paired with:
Lefthand – Nitro Milk Stout
Engine 15 – Weissguy 904

Salty Pelican is located at 12 N. Front St. in Fernandina Beach, Fla. Make reservations by calling the restaurant at: (904) 277-3811.

 
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Posted by on June 25, 2013 in Beer, Beer Food Pairing

 

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European Street Beer & Baseball returns this weekend

beer-and-baseballFewer things are more all-American than that ritual of summer that takes place in towns and cities all over the nation. In parks both grand and make-shift, players face off and swing for the fences. Fans pack bleachers, line up along fences and cheer on their teams with a hot dog in one hand and a cold brew in the other. I am referring to baseball of course; the big leagues started play earlier this week and the Jacksonville Suns – minor league representatives of the Florida Marlins – begin play tonight.

Another tradition that is returning this week in conjunction with baseball is European Street’s Beer and Baseball nights in the left field Beer Garden. This year the first of five Beer and Baseball nights is this Saturday, April 6, just in time to end Jax Beer Week. Beer and Baseball nights include a ticket to the game, all-you-can-eat European Street Monster German Wieners and sandwiches and, of course, all the beer you can drink.

The event this Saturday costs $30, with proceeds going to a long-time E-Street bartender that is battling breast cancer and includes a Monster German Weiner t-shirt. The cost of the remaining Beer and Baseball nights will be $20, but will not include the t-shirt. The way the event works is that the food and beer are put out approximately 30 minutes prior to the first pitch. There are generally two kegs of beer available and they flow until both kegs are dry.

Andrew Zarka, of European Street, says that the featured beers this Saturday night will be Blue Moon and Third Shift. He also says that both Highland and Lazy Magnolia have expressed interest in sponsoring future games.

The remaining Beer and Baseball nights will take place:

  • May 25
  • June 22
  • July 13
  • August 31

Tickets are available at all four European Street locations.

 
 

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Jax Beer Week — Day One

jaxBeerWeek2013Pele’s Wood Fire: Bell’s Brewing Co. Beer Dinner

In little over a year, Pele’s Wood Fire has established itself as a true destination restaurant. With over 50 craft beers on tap and many more in bottles, it has also proven itself as a gourmet eatery that is truly plugged in to what its guests are seek. So, it is not a surprise that they are opening this year’s Jax beer Week with an extravagant dinner paired with beers from Bell’s Brewing Co.

The menu, prepared by Chef Micah Windham, features his trademark flair for using organic ingredients with an artisan’s flair.

First Course

Prosciutto basil and tomato sandwich, beer cheese dip paired with Bell’s Amber ale.

Second Course

Arugula shaved fennel salad, spiced candy pecans, grapefruit segments, Oarsman vinaigrette served with Bell’s Oarsman a tart German style beer.

Third Course

Banana leaf wrap trout stuffed, beer bacon risotto, butter sauce paired with Bell’s Two Hearted Ale.

Fourth Course

Brown butter seared gnocchi duck confit, beer duck demi, shaved parmesan reggiano served with Bell’s Best Brown Ale.

Fifth Course

Ravioli with buffalo ragu, fresh tomato, garlic oil, basil, hand-pulled mozzarella paired with Expedition Stout.

Sixth Course

Hanger steak with Tuscan fries and a third coast malt shake, “Steak & Shake.” Paired with Third Coast Old Ale.

Seventh Course

Double Cream Stout infused vanilla pot de crem, beer candied nuts, baked cocoa nib meringue served with Bell’s Double Crème Stout.

The cost for the dinner – if tickets are still available — $75 per person including tax and gratuity.
Reservations must be made by calling 904/232-8545. Only 40 seats available.

Brewer’s Pizza: 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Brewer’s will host a night with Grassroots Natural Market. The guys from Grassroots of Riverside will come out and drink some brews, rub elbows and pour some beers for sampling.

M Shack

All week the burger wizards at the Beach’s M Shack will be featuring beer and burger parings. You could eat there every day, all week and still not have them all! But, from the looks of the menu, you sure will wnat them all.

M Shack daily specials include both beer and food combined:
  • Shipyard Monkey Fist IPA paired with Asian Burger, Sirracha Cole Slaw and Hoisin BBQ sauce & pepper jack cheese $9.95
  • Cigar City Maduro paired with Truffle Portobello Burger with Bacon Smoked Gouda and Sherry Glaze $12.45
  • Sea Dog Blueberry paired with super kale salad, apples, avocados,pecans, raisins, ginger garlic dressing $12.45
  • Narragansett Lager paired with classic combo with all beef Hebrew national hotdog $9
  • Left Hand Nitro Milk Stout paired with The Medurable: cheeseburger topped with foi gras and caramelized onions $24.95
  • Julian Cider paired with the Rooster and the Pig sandwich: marinated chicken breast, smoked ham and an over easy egg. $18.50
 

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Jax Beer Week is almost upon us

jaxBeerWeek2013Last year the inaugural Jax Beer Week proved that Jacksonville is a town ready for a premier beer event. This year marks the event’s second year and finds a line-up of Tap takeovers, dinners, tastings and beer specials that is sure to please even the pickiest of beer aficionados.

While the list presented below is by no means comprehensive, you can get an idea for what is going on. Friend the Springfield Brew Crew or Jax Beer Guy on Facebook for details on new events as they become available. You can also follow Sprbrewcrew or JaxBeerGuy on Twitter.

Monday, April 1

Pele’s Wood Fire

The ever creative Chef Micah at Pele’s Wood Fire is throwing down a with a sumptuous meal paired with Bell’s Brewery beers. The Dinner features seven courses paired with seven delicious Bell’s beers.

Cost for this spectacular meal is $75 per person including tax and gratuity. Non-refundable deposit of $25 per person is required. For reservations call (904)232-8545. Only 40 seats are available, so reserve early.

Brewer’s Pizza 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Brewer’s will host a night with Grassroots Natural Market. The guys from Grassroots of Riverside will come out and drink some brews, rub elbows and pour some beers for sampling.

Tuesday, April 2

Brewer’s Pizza 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Florida Beer night with special guest Carolyn Graham from Brown Distribution. Brewer’s will be featuring taps from all of their favorite local breweries and others from all over Florida.

Beer Specials

Solids & Stripes, Mellow Mushroom – Fleming Island, and Taps – Fleming Island

Wednesday, April 3

Beer Specials

Aardwolf Brewing Co., Grape & Grain Exchange, The Grotto, Hurricanes, European Street – San Marco, Northstar Substation, Underbelly, Burro Bar, 1904, Burrito Gallery, Fionn MacCools – Landing, Olio

Thursday, April 4

Dahlia’s Pour House

The gang at Dahlia’s will be offering thirsty Jax Beer Week revelers $4 IPAs.

Bold City Brewing Co. 7:00 p.m to 11:00 p.m.

The crew at Bold City are treating their guests to a Florida Tap Takeover featuring spectacular brews from across the great state of Florida. The tap list includes:

Cask & Larder                         Black Ale (Winter Park, FL)

Big Storm Brewery                  Wavemaker Amber Ale (Odessa, FL)

Due South Brewing                  Roasted Cocoa Stout (Boynton Beach, FL)

7venth Sun Brewing                Graffiti Orange (Dunedin, FL)

Tequesta Brewing Company    Terminally Ale and Irish Red Ale (Tequesta, FL)

Cigar City Brewing                  Humidor Series IPA (Tampa, FL)

Pensacola Bay Brewing           Lil’ Napoleon IPA (Pensacola, FL)

Florida Beer Company             Gaspar’s Porter (Melbourne, FL)

Grassroots Natural Market 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Grassroots will host a Jacksonville Beer Tasting featuring Ben Davis owner and brewer at Intuition Ale Works who will bring a special cask brew. Also at the tasting will be a cask brew from Green Room Brewing in Jacksonville Beach.

Beer Specials

Intuition Ale Works, Kickbacks Gastropub, Pele’s Wood Fire, Broudy’s, Beer:30, European Street Riverside, Black Sheep Restaurant, O’Brother’s

Friday, April 5

Green Room Brewing Co. 4:00 p.m. to 12:00 midnight

Florida Mega Tap Takeover with over 50 Florida beers. Breweries that will be represented at the event include:

Cigar City Brewing 7venth Sun Due South Brewing Swamp Head Brewing Saint Somewhere Pensacola Bay Brewery Tequesta Brewing Intuition Ale Works Pinglehead Brewing Co. Mile Marker Brewing Engine 15 Brewing Co. Cocoa Beach Brewing Three Palms Brewing Florida Beer Company And more…..

Also 17 Green Room Brewing beers on tap including:

Quetzalcoatl Many versions of the Count And much more

Engine 15 Brewing Co. 12:00 noon to 12:00 midnight

The Engine 15, Engine 15 Tap Takeover. The guys at the Engine have been working hard to make this year’s Jax Beer Week event special. What better way to do that than to take over all their taps with all their own beers – 51 of them to be precise, plus one in a firkin.

Beer Specials

Mellow Mushroom – Southside, Seven Bridges, Total Wine + More, Broudy’s – Ponte Vedra, Monkey’s Uncle, European Street – Jax Beach, Mellow Mushroom – Jax Beach, Lynch’ Irish Pub, The Brick, Royal Palm Village, Island Girl, ABC Liquor, Wine Warehouse, Poe’s

Saturday, April 6

Grand Tasting 12:00 noon to 5:00 p.m.

The culmination of Jax Beer Week is the Grand Tasting that will take place downtown in conjunction with Community First Saturday in front of the Times-Union Center on the Northbank Riverwalk. The tasting will feature over 30 beers including many from Florida. Also enjoy the Food Truck Skyway Crawl and live music.

Bands and performance times are:

12:30 p.m.       Canary in the Coalmine

1:30 p.m.         RickoLus

2:45 p.m.         Four Families

DJ E. Lee 11:15 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., between sets, and 3:30 p.m to 4:30 p.m.

 

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Thasnksgiving beer pairings just in time for your feast

Not long ago I was asked what beers would be on my Thanksgiving table this year. While I had a quick answer at the time, I started thinking about what would really be good with the different foods that are part of a traditional Thanksgiving meal. I started thinking about the flavors and what would truly work best with them. Below are my recommendations of beers to try with the various courses of your Thanksgiving meal.

Thanksgiving feasting in my family begins the moment you walk through the front door. Generally there are platters of cheese, crackers, and other salty, savory snacks. These types of snacks are perfect for a well-hopped Pale Ale. Locally, here in Jacksonville, a perfect choice for this is Intuition Ale Works’ People’s Pale Ale. For those out of the area looking for a good Pale Ale try Dales Pale Ale or the granddaddy of all Pale Ales: Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. These beers will also pair well with appetizers like shrimp cocktail or bruschetta with tomatoes and basil.

Thanksgiving dinner proper begins with a salad in my family. My mother has a favorite oriental style salad she makes with a sesame seed oil and vinegar dressing and dry Ramen Noodles crumbled into it that is a hit with our gang. The sweet salad dressing deserves a beer that will not over-power it so I like pair it with a Belgian White Ale like Blanche de Bruxelles. The wonderful balance of coriander and citrus in this brew enhances the sweet and tangy dressing marvelously without overpowering it with hops or malty sweetness. Try this beer with other similar, sweet salad dressings since the spices can hold up to the flavors of sweet lettuce, tomato, carrot, and cucumber.

For the main course of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, yams, cranberry sauce, and so on you have to decide a direction to go. I have always aimed for a beer that would take a middle road through all of these flavors, enhancing them without distracting from them. Many beer connoisseurs will point you towards a toasty, malty beer like a Brown Ale. I don’t disagree with that in theory, but for my taste – and I think a lot of other folk’s if they have the where-with-all to save it – Oktoberfest Marzen works wonderfully. Oktoberfest-style beers have many of the characteristics of Brown Ales, but tend to have a cleaner finish. To me that is important. I want a beer that is going to refresh and cleanse my palate between bites, not leave a lingering malty flavor. One of my favorite Oktoberfest beers is Ayinger Oktoberfest. You may still be able to find some at your local beer store, so hurry on out for it. If Ayinger is not available try others like Hacker-Pschorr Oktoberfest of Flying Fish Oktoberfish.

At the end of the turkey gorging, there are always all those wonderful desserts. In our family that means pumpkin pie, apple pie, and rich chocolate cake. But, I have also seen families who serve mouth-watering desserts such as trifles and carrot cake. What you want here is a beer that can add its own spiced, sweet flavors while still allowing the delicious desserts to shine. In my recommendation recently, I suggested Southern Tier Pumking to pair with pumpkin, sweet potato, or pecan pie. The pumpkin spices in this brew are marvelous and will enhance your enjoyment of the pies. For chocolate desserts I have a bit of a wild idea: chocolate chili beers. You may have to look a bit for one of these but if you can find them try, Samuel Adams The Vixen a Bock beer brewed with dark cocoa nibs, cinnamon, and chilies; or try Cigar City Hunahpu an Imperial Brown Ale brewed with Peruvian cacao nibs, ancho and pasilla chilies, Madagasgar vanilla beans, and cinnamon.

At the end of the meal, while you are lying on the sofa in all your stuffed majesty, watching the football games a good easy-drinker would probably hit the spot. What you probably want after all that food is a lighter, lower-alcohol brew to relax with. Again, for those who think ahead, grab your growler and head to one of the many great breweries in Jacksonville. You can even pick up a six-pack of Intuition Ale Works’ Jon Boat Coastal Ale at most local grocery stores.

But, no matter what beers you decide to serve with your Thanksgiving meal, it is my sincere wish that you have a safe and happy day with your family and friends. I also hope that you will take a moment to think about all that we have to be thankful for, in particular, please take a moment to think about the many United States Service Members who are away from their families – whether over-seas or domestically – that proudly protect our rights and freedoms.

Keep up to date on all the beer happenings and news going on in town at the ALL NEW www.JaxBeerGuy.com.

 
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Posted by on November 21, 2012 in Beer, Beer Food Pairing

 

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