It’s a bit harsh that Thanksgiving gets one day, while Christmas seems to get the whole month! While we celebrate the birth of baby Jesus with a new iPod, sweater, or television it's important to remember the food. In our ongoing series of craft beer and food, we step away from the tree and focus on another source of light, the menorah.
Hanukkah starts at sundown tonight. For those of you without a history book or rabbi, that means 8 days of celebrating when the lights almost went out. During this time fellow Jews (and a few gentiles) get together partaking of latkas or livot (potato pancakes), gefilte fish, beef brisket, soofganiot (doughnuts), and various fried foods. However, it's not all about the oil, as some people have also taken to salads with oil and vinegar or dairy. In our first installment, we focus in traditional order, starting with starch and beef.
Latkas or Livot (more commonly known as potato pancakes) consist of potatoes, onions, egg, salt, pepper, white, flour, and baking powder. After one fries these little potato beer coasters up, you had better garnish them with sour cream or apple sauce. The beer that works best would be an India Pale Ale or Stout, as these balance out the meal. Some local examples are Pike IPA or XXXXX Stout, Two Beers Jive Espresso Stout, Hale's Mongoose IPA, Big Time Bhagwan's IPA, Elysian Prometheus, Schooner Exact Regrade Pale Ale, or a Ram Mocha Stout.
Beef Brisket. Anyone that’s gone to the grocery counter or the deli would recognize this meat. This one comes in all different types, but if you have some kosher salt handy and some pale ale or brown, you can take a stab at a marinade. Suggested marinades are Pike Pale Ale, Maritime Pale Ale, Fremont Pale Ale, Big Time Prime Time Pale Ale, Big Al Charlie's Pale Ale, Hale's 25th Anniversary Dubbel or Pike Tandem Dubbel. Once it’s been cooked, wash it down with some of the India Pale Ales or Stouts.
As daytime slowly edges towards its temporary demise let's not forget its fast approaching day one of Chanukah. Already the thoughts beef brisket and latkes are in your mental gut and you’re ready for more. However, it's equally important to recognize what made eight days of light possible, oil. Tradition dictates that at some point during this celebration (after you put the latke down) you should head to the deep fryer. For now let's keep it simple with some gefilte fish and donuts, and maybe throw in a substitution here and there.
Donuts (soofganiot to the more familiar). Who wouldn't want a donut early morning, drizzled in glaze, sprinkles or nuts? Comprised of pretty much the same stuff in beer these little starch grenades would wash down well with some tripel or if you prefer a morning classic, 'coffee' beer. Maybe a Pike Monk's Uncle, Pike XXXXX Stout, Naked City Big LeBrewski 'White' Russian Stout, The Ram Bighorn Mocha Stout, Elysian Dragonstooth, Two Beer Jive Espresso Stout, or try a Three Skulls Black Bonney Porter. For those of you that are feeling a bit lazy, swing into the nearly kosher (meaning, blessed by a rabbi) but very vegan Mighty-O donuts in Tangletown.
Gefilte Fish (seek a non almost-extinct alternative in halibut or salmon). From the seas and oceans comes this rite of passage food (as a gentile I know it well). Too popular for its own good, eco friendly substitutions for this slimy delicacy are salmon, halibut or another finned edible. Beer battered or breaded, you should definitely consider either a scotch or pale ale. Local favorites to this greasy dish include Pike Kilt Lifter, Fremont Universal Pale, Elysian Fields Pale, or a Big Al Papa Charlie's Pale Ale.