For Missoula’s Craft Beer Week this year, we set out to find pairings of sweet / sour food paired with sweet / sour beers. The sours were brewed and presented in person by one of the masters of American sours, David Brendgard, the new lead brewer for Flathead Lake Brewing Company (who spearheaded the sour beer and cellaring program for Deschutes Brewery in Oregon).
Pairing Beer with FoodBeer provides incredible pairing possibilities. Where subtleties are often central to wine pairing, the extreme flavors and profiles in the beer world can create dramatic, and potentially very satisfying combinations. Misses can be equally uninspiring, which makes the pursuit of pairing quite fun.
So- here’s the fascinating thing we’ve found in pairing: we set out with our presumptions of what should work– based on pairing generalizations that we’ve come to terms with. Often we’re right. However, some of the most satisfying pairings are the result of unexpected surprises– that come from trying different combinations (when the ones we tried didn’t hit the money..).
There were some great surprises last night. The most interesting for me, and many at the tasting, was the salad course of all things. Andrew amp-ed up the sour profile of the salad– arugula, rhubarb shavings, preserved lemon, lime, and lime zest! Delicious, but extremely challenging to pair. After many trials, Gulden Draak fit like a glove and blew us away! Having house aged a keg for 4 years, we’d expected intuitively to pair the Draak with an entree course, but in the quest to find a great pairings, the salad was the match!
Another pairing that stood out was the Black Diamond XV Porter as the dessert beer. While we tried to avoid the expected – chocolate porter as dessert.. when this beer was matched with the sweet and sour of the passionfruit tartlet, with crazy wild flavors of fried kaffir lime leaves, which are incredible by the way, pairing magic occurred. That is when the food makes the beverage better, and visa versa.
The sours by David from Flathead Brewing were all spot on. Memorable was the Montucky Sour Brown– a sour, smooth and rounded from aged secondary fermentation, made for an incredible food beer. Keep your eye on this brewery with their ace brew-master!
Following was our menu in full:
Lobster and mascarpone crepe with caramelized onions and smoked sea salt
Beer Pairing: Flathead Brewing Centennial Sour
Shaved rhubarb and arugula salad with lime juice, preserved lemon, and Tucson olive oil
Beer Pairing: House Aged Gulden Draak
Squid ink spaghetti with sorrel pesto, Alaskan shrimp, and chilies
Beer Pairing: Sierra Nevada Ovila Abbey Quad
Grilled beef fillet with crispy sweetbreads, roasted pear, and honey vinegar
Beer Pairing: Flathead Brewing Montucky Sour Brown
Passionfruit and white chocolate mousse tartlet with fried kaffir leaves and lime zest
Beer pairing: Black Diamond XV Porter