Chicago Beer Travelers

Pairing Beer with Food Archives

Stone Brewing Menu at C-House

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Matt Tunnell

Frisbee player, beer lover

      Rohit and I recently had the good fortune to meet Executive Chef Nicole Pederson of C-house and to taste her June beer menu, which featured pairings from Stone brewing.  By talking to her during the meal I was impressed by both her knowledge of beer and her efforts to incorporate it into the C-House menu.  These beer menus have gone up every month since November, featuring a different brewery each month including, in the past, Three Floyds and Founders which is impressive given the lack of an available draft system for the pairing beers (everything has to be available in bottles).  The move to a brewery farther afield for June was prompted by the restaurants new wine manager who used to work for Stone.  As for the future, she teased us with the possibility of a Michigan beer menu showcasing three different Michigan breweries, which would allow her to feature one of her (and our!) favorite breweries, Jolly Pumpkin.

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Pairing Beer with Food: Basics

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Matt Tunnell

Frisbee player, beer lover

We've talked a lot about pairing beer and food without really getting into the how's or why's of it. Namely, why even bother pairing beer with food and how can you choose good pairings? To address the first question, a good pairing will enhance both beer and food while a transcendent one will cause to see the elements in a whole new light. The more interesting question is how one would settle on a beer pairing. I'll offer some general guidelines, but it often comes down to luck and experience since there are so many beers and so many dishes. I am hardly an expert on beer pairings but this post describes the thought process I go through. In future posts, I'll try to approach the pairings more "scientifically," by comparing the interactions of several different beers with the same dish, but for now here are three things you might want a beer pairing to accomplish.
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Pairing Beer With Food: Pizza

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Matt Tunnell

Frisbee player, beer lover

Beer and pizza is probably the first beer pairing that most people think of. I'd like to look beyond the standard of American adjunct lagers like Bud/Miller/Coors and delivery pizza, satisfying though it might be. Pizza can be a difficult pairing because of tomato sauce, especially in the case of that divine casserole otherwise known as deep dish pizza. Tomato sauce manages to be sweet, fruity, acidic, and savory all at once which makes it exceedingly difficult to make a good match. The original Beer Traveler, Michael Jackson, swore by Vienna Lager as a great pizza pairing, especially for deep dish which is a veritable sauce bomb. I can;t vouch for this pairing myself but I'm excited to try it next time I get deep dish. If you care to try it I'd recommend Metropolitan Brewing's Dynamo as a tasty, easy to find Vienna Lager. Great Lakes' Elliot Ness would be another good choice. However, this pairing is beyond the scope of this post, which will deal with thin crust pizza. Two of the pizzas I made stray from the beaten path but the other two are my best approximation of delivery classics.  The pizzas were tasted twice, once in Chicago and once in Milwaukee.  The pizza photos are from Milwaukee. Read on for the details... 

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Pairing Beer with Food: Three Classic Pairings

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Matt Tunnell

Frisbee player, beer lover

This is a new series for us Beer Travelers in which we'll explore the wonderful possibilities of pairing beer with food.  In this post, I'll take a look at some tried and true pairings and try to get into what makes them tick.  In the future, I'd like to take a deeper look into developing specific pairings while examining everything that goes into such a process.

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