Pairing Guide & Opinion: WA: 9/26 Craft Beer + Food. Thoughts to snack on before dinner.

While many of you might familiar with the participating restaurant or the participating brewery, you might not be familiar with the practice of pairing a meal with beer. In fact the common consensus, by those who drink alcohol at the table, has been that wine pairs best with any meal.

The fact of the matter is, beer is far more diverse than wine. And the reason for that is pretty simple: Brewing is much more like cooking than winemaking. Garrett Oliver, author Brewmaster’s Table & brewmaster for Brooklyn Brewing Co.

To put it more profoundly, have you ever had a Dessert Wine poured over a scoop of ice cream? The answer of course is no. But there are several breweries which promote the advantage a Elysian Dark O’ The Moon Pumpkin Stout, Georgetown Bob’s Brown Ale, or Schooner Exact King Street Brown Ale – versus a glass of red or white wine. But don’t presume that this writer is promoting beer over wine. In fact there are many dishes that cannot be harmoniously paired like a glass of Syrah or Merlot.

As a way to offer aid as you consume from the menu listed below I thought I would share my anticipated thoughts based on each restaurant and their chosen brewery’s beer.

  • Italianissimo + Triplehorn = Homemade roasted garlic roll meatloaf slider, Triplehorn Red melted onions, Chipotle Mayo, and Gruyere. Paired with Triplehorn Brewing’s Folksvang Red. Known in Woodinville for their attention towards Italian recipes,  Italianissimo translates an American (bite-sized) sandwich into something Italian. Much like the fortune cookie this writer thinks you will be asking for seconds. 

    Additional Thoughts. Pay careful attention to flavors like caramel that should be in both the Triplehorn Red and the Italian slider. Afterwards see if the hop bitterness negotiates well against the subtle salt in mayo & gruyere.

  • Ballard Annex + Reuben’s Brews = Shigoku oyster. Paired with Reuben’s American Rye. Barely six months old, the Ballard Annex is the latest from Seattle restaurateurs Nathan Opper and Zak Melang. Those of you who only consume oysters in shot glasses might be put off with this pairing.

    Additional Thoughts. Pay careful attention to flavors like cucumber, salt, water chestnut, and Jerusalem artichoke – while pairing this half-shell appetizer with brewer Adam Robbing’s American Rye.

  • The Sixgill + Black Raven Brewing = Shrimp Cocktail (poached shrimp, spicy tomato broth, red onion, cilantro, lemon and fried chili). Paired with Sunthief Kristalweizen. The latest opening from the same male / female duo that opened Ballard’s The Noble Fir, The Sixgill re-emphasizes owners Rick Weersing and Ellen Kelly’s love of beer with food.

    Pay careful attention to flavors like citrus, bread, and spice as they should be found throughout the Shrimp Cocktail and the Sunthief  Kristalweizen.

  • Trellis Restaurant + Airways Brewing = Pilsner-poached curry prawn. Paired with Pre-Flight Pilsner. Located in Kirkland, the Trellis Restaurant is nestled inside the Heathman Hotel. What sets this place apart from other restaurants, bordering I-405, are the regularly scheduled brewery dinners. Depending on ingredients used from Trellis’ cupboard I think that the flavors to watch for are salty & sweet. More importantly I think that the pairing of this dish should remove some  anticipated, lingering, bitterness – found in Airways’ German-style Pilsner.

  • Brave Horse Tavern + Schooner Exact Brewing = Pretzel Gougere with Smoked Ham, Beecher’s Cheddar, Apple Sauce. Paired with Fall Session IPA. Admittedly I can’t help but insist any burger loving fool, willing to forgo the side dish, visit this Tom Douglas bar. As someone that has enjoyed both their food and beer selection, you can’t go wrong. I think the combination of sharp cheddar, fatty ham, bread & applesauce will work well with brewer Matt McClung’s take on the India Pale Ale.

    Additional Thoughts. Pay careful attention to flavors like caramel, citrus, tropical, and bread. I think that the subtle saltiness from the cheddar and ham should play nicely with the tropical / citrus bitterness from Schooner Exact’s India Pale Ale.

  • Luc + Two Beers Brewing = Beer Braised Carlton farms Pork shoulder, Chanterelle Mushroom, Seared White Polenta, Crispy Guanciale, I.P.A. Gastrique. Paired with Heart of Darkness CDA.   Look for some caramel sweetness as they can be found throughout the pork shoulder, crispy Guanciale (italian unsmoked bacon from the pig’s jowl’s) and pair nicely with Joel’s Cascadian Dark Ale.

  • Luc + Seattle Cider Company = Hazelnut encrusted squash, sage crème Paired with Seattle Cider Co cider (tbd). Located on the backside of Capitol Hill, Luc focuses of the marriage of American and French recipes. Given the unknown style (of cider) chosen to pair with this gluten-free / vegetarian-friendly dish we think that this will be the dark horse to watch out for.

    Additional Thoughts. Special thanks to Chef Rautureau for coming up with a recipe friendly friendly towards vegetarians and gluten-intolerant.

  • Ravish + Georgetown Brewing = Braised Beef Shortrib [sic] with a Porter-Mole sauce. Paired with Georgetown Porter.  If you driven along Eastlake then you have seen Ravish. Part bar and part restaurant Ravish promotes locally-sourced ingredients which are found throughout their recipes. Pay careful attention to flavors like chocolate and coffee, given the use of Mole. I have a suspicion Ravish’s approach will be inspired from South of the border.

    Additional Thoughts. As someone who enjoys short ribs I will be paying attention to how well the ribs and sauce work with Georgetown’s Porter.

  • Seastar Raw Bar + Pike Brewing = Rich and creamy cauliflower and cheddar soup with tarragon, carrot, frizzled onion strings, and Naughty Nellie Reduction. Paired with Naughty Nellie Golden Ale. With two locations (in Bellevue and Seattle) the Seastar Restaurant and Raw Bar provides it’s guests a unique seafood experience. Pay attention to flavors like toasted bread and caramel.

    Additional Thoughts. Another vegetarian-friendly recipe that I am sure will be enjoyed by those who eschew meat.

  • TanakaSan + Fremont Brewing = Pastrami Kalbi Short Ribs. Paired with Cowiche Canyon Organic Fresh Hop Ale. Located off 6th Avenue in Downtown, TanakaSan shares Tom Douglas & Eric Tanaka’s vision of an American-Japanese dining experience. Look for flavors like cooking spice and citrus, which might be found in both the Short Ribs and Fremont’s Citra & Simcoe hopped beer.

    Additional Thoughts. Admittedly I have never been to  TanakaSan - so this is a treat to see if their recently reviewed Short Ribs do in fact taste like Pastrami.

  • Triple Door + Elysian Brewing = Spicy, thai beef jerky. Paired with Immortal IPA. If you’ve heard of the phrase “dinner and a show” then you haven’t been to the Triple Door. Located off Union Street near the Pike Place Market, Triple Door provides a little bit of Asia and a little bit of Europe one bite at a time.

    Additional Thoughts. Another dark horse pairing. So I will refrain from commenting and instead invite you to let me know what you thought.

So for those that purchased a ticket because the restaurant is on your top 10 list or the brewery is one that you seek out in pubs and grocers, I have a few thoughts – enjoy the experience. For the rest of you who have appreciated the versatility of cooking with and pairing with beer, I say cheers.

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