It used to be wine that was thought of as a match made in heaven with food, but now, more than ever, it’s beer. With craft breweries popping up faster than you can finish a sixteen oz. can, there are seemingly infinite possibilities in terms of pairings. With brewers constantly pushing the limit on different flavors and ingredients, beer has quickly become the definitive pairing for food.
Beers’ versatility makes it the perfect complement to any dish. The right choice can help balance a meal and do wonders for your palate. And just as the right choice can make a meal, the wrong one can overpower or underwhelm—getting the flavor profile of the dish to match the beer is key. And while there’s not a set rule list—a general rule of the thumb is to match the strength of the beer with the food. Experimentation is encouraged, and there’s plenty to choose from. According to BrewersAssociation.org, in 2017, there were 6,372 breweries in the U.S. That’s a lot of beer.
Right now, we’re going to talk about one of our favorite breweries. Allagash Brewing Company—subjects of our most recent beer dinner at The Fix.
And if you haven’t been to one of our beer dinners yet, first of all, what is wrong with you? If you’re reading this, you probably like beer and food. So, do yourself a favor and buy a ticket to our next one. Second of all, here is how our beer dinners work: we serve a four-course dinner, each dish complemented with a different beer. We select special high-quality breweries we feature on tap and work with our talented team of chefs to come up with an irresistible dinner menu created specially to pair with each of the four beers. We set up a nice communal sitting arrangement, you invite your friends, or maybe an enemy, and you can work things out over dinner, and voila, you have yourself a grand old time.
Allagash Brewing Company is a brewery that makes their beer with food in mind. A beer dinner with them was a no brainer.
Here’s what chef Mike Muscarella cooked up:
Roasted Salmon Salad
dill, fennel, frisée, torched crouton, crème fraîche, mint, everything spice, lemon vinagairrette
Beer: Sun Drift (6.7%)
From Allagash: Sun Drift is brewed with lemon zest for a slightly tart profile. It’s fermented with Brettanomyces yeast and blended with hot-steeped black tea from Little Red Cup. The result evokes the refreshing combination of lemonade and tea, all cruising on a layer of fruit-filled aromatics.
Notes from the chef: We wanted to match the citrus forward Sun Drift with an intense lemon vinaigrette—counterbalancing the clean flavors with the fatty Salmon, we added creme fraîche, and kept the crispy skin on for fat and texture.
Sustainably Raised Striped Bass
Allagash white miso broth, cabbage, mirepoix, black garlic, red chile, micro basil
Beer: White (5.2%)
From Allagash: Our interpretation of a Belgian-style wheat beer is brewed with oats, malted wheat, and unmalted raw wheat for a hazy, “white” appearance. Spiced with our own special blend of coriander and Curaçao orange peel, Allagash White upholds the Belgian tradition of beers that are both complex and refreshing.
Notes from the chef: For this dish we actually incorporated the beer, Allagash White, into the broth, and focused on a few strong fermented ingredients – miso and black garlic. We added some spice to go with this easy drinking beer.
Sun Drift & Cider Brined Duroc Pork Loin
Carlson Orchards chutney, white asparagus, sweet potato, carrot, toasted hazelnut, garam marsala
Beer: Pilsner with Brettanomyc (5.6%)
From Allagash: Pilsner with Brettanomyces adds Belgian flair to a classic German style. After brewing and hopping with Strisselspalt and Czech Saaz, we dual ferment it with a lager yeast and Brettanomyces—a type of wild yeast. The two yeast strains work together to create a flavorful and balanced profile that blends tropical funk and light tartness with a pilsner’s signature lagered flavor.
Notes from the chef: Brined in Allagash’s Sun Drift and a local cider, we used Duroc pork here, which is known for superior marbling and flavor. Our spice blend was a mix of North African and Indian flavors that traditionally pair well with citrus.
Fig & Date Bread Pudding
maple, grilled pineapple, honey ricotta, juniper
Beer: Saison Gratis (7.2%)
From Allagash: This saison-style ale is set apart by the fact that we added hops—Calista, Grundgeist, and Strisselspalt—while it rested in our coolship and then open fermented it with saison yeast. Esters hinting at everything from orange, to pineapple, to clove spring from this beer’s nose. Its flavor spreads across the palate with the slightest hint of citrus and finishes with a balance of fruit, hops, and a dry mouthfeel.
Notes from the chef: Here we focused on sweetness level, and flavors that accent the citrus notes and tropical flavors present in the beer. Figs and dates play well together providing sweetness, ricotta adds a great creamy element and the grilled pineapple brings it all together.
Well, that does it, folks. Go crack open an Allagash beer and we’ll see you at the next beer dinner.
Next Fix Beer Dinner:
Zero Gravity Craft Brewery
Tuesday, April 9th 2019
$65 per person
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