Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Beer and food, who'd of thunk it!

So, I recently read the book "He said beer, she said wine" by Sam Calagione and Marnie Old. Those of you who don't know Sam, he is the owner and founder of Dogfish Head craft beers. He has long been a proponent of beer and food pairing (fyi Marnie is a wine sommelier and wine/food pairing expert). I think he, along with Garrett Oliver of Brooklyn, have done wonders for beer and food pairing.

Having said that, I had never really done too much thinking about what food paired up well with beers. I just drank what I liked regardless of what I was eating. In general, I still think that this is NOT a bad policy.

However, the other night really changed things for me. I was having some leftovers for dinner. In this case I was having dirty rice, spicy and flavorful. At the time I was drinking a Magic Hat HI.P.A. from their fall mix back. Basically I was just drinking it to get it finished as I am not a fan of west-coast styled IPA's. I don't generally like high hops and especially don't care for piney hops. So, without trying, I paired this IPA with a nice spicy dish.

Well, I'll be damned! That worked out really well. The hops did a great job of melding the flavors together and cleansing the pallet. The spices did a great job in toning down the hops. I was really digging this beer at the time. So, the next night, I again was having spicier fare (this time a southwest corn chowder my wife made... oh so good!). I went with the HI.P.A. again and was again rewarded. It matched so well.

So, now I have decided that it is time to really work to find out what I can do with pairing my beer and food. It is a journey I am really excited to try and look forward to documenting some of the things I find as I go right here.

PS - The Magic Hat HI.P.A. is a decent, not great west coast style IPA. I think it is pretty good for the style, but the style isn't my favorite. However, Magic Hat, never really the strongest craft brewery out there, does have a decent drinking beer for those that like nice hops. I recommend at least trying it.