Bites and Brews


By Rachel Allan – September/October 2014

hofbrauoriginal.jpgWine-pairings are a traditional favorite, but lately it’s been beer-pairings that have captured the hearts of foodies everywhere. With the multitude of tones and complex flavors present in different brews, there’s a beer suitable for every meal you can imagine whether casual or chic. When pairing beer with food, the most essential thing is to find balance. The flavors should complement, not overshadow each other. Whether you want to emphasize a similar flavor in both the beer and the food or highlight their unique differences is up to you. At the end of the day, we follow the advice of Mike Kelsen, Owner of Colony Wine Merchant, “I take the words from master wine vintner Robert Mondavi, There are no rules.’ You like what you liktonee, so try as many different combinations as possible.” So, in honor of Oktoberfest, the world’s largest funfair held in Germany, we are joining in the festivities and sharing with you some top-notch beer-pairings!

Rich and Classic

“A traditional Marzen (like that of the world-famous Hofbrau) pairs so well with a classic Bratwurst. The richness of that sausage needs an easy-drinking style of beer to cut through it. Try pairing crisp and light beers with rich and greasy sausages.” (James Wood, Owner of Outlaw Bar Consulting)

Sweet and Subtle

“If you’re looking for a more subtle sausage, such as Weisswurst, then try serving a wheat beer such as Erdinger’s Oktoberfest Weissbier. The citrusy, almost cloud-like texture of this beer adds a great dimension to sweet and mild sausages.” (James Wood, Owner of Outlaw Bar Consulting)

Spicy and Sweet

“For the adventurous and non-traditional among you who like a spicier sausage such as Chorizo, Andouille, or Linguica, a rich and somewhat sweet Marzen-inspired domestic beer such as Vicotory’s “Festbier” and Flying Dog’s “Dogtoberfest” are perfect for taming the spice. (James Wood, Owner of Outlaw Bar Consulting)

Light and Elegant

“One of my most consistently and readily available favorites would be the Palomino Pale Ale from Bootlegger’s in Fullerton and our Salame Picante Pizza with mushroom. The beer is refreshingly straight-forward and very well made. It provides a perfect unison of light, crisp hop to malt balance. With the way our Calabriansalame heats up your mouth, it’s the perfect way to reset your palate after each bite. The complexity of the beers light malt profile lends itself well to the mushroom while the beer’s elegant hop profile helps cut through the mozzarella.” (Joel Anthony Caruso C.S., Wine Director at Pizzeria Ortica)

Tart and Indulgent

“Another favorite of mine is the Breakfast Waffle Sandwich at the Iron Press in Costa Mesa or Anaheim and the Flemish Red from Cismontane in Rancho Santa Margarita. This rich, indulgent sandwich screams for something crisp and tart, which the Flemish Red delivers in spades. The tart acid cuts right through the egg yolk and cheese while the fruit in the beer plays right into the peppery arugula and succulent ham.” (Joel Anthony Caruso C.S., Wine Director at Pizzeria Ortica)

Earthy and Effervescent

“Chimay red label with honey glazed ham. Chimay is a Belgian-style Abbey Ale. The residual sugar in the beer and the honey glaze on the ham cancel each other out, allowing the unctuous and earthy tones of both the beer and the ham to shine through.” (Aaron Anderson, Executive Chef at Harlow’s Fine Cuisine & Crafted Cocktails)

Delicious and Flavorful

“I love a well-made IPA and a great cheeseburger. The IPA is a Stone Ruination; it is a monstrous delight! You can find [it] at Colony Wine Merchant in Anaheim opening in November. The burger is my own creation from a cook-off we had. It is a combination of lamb, angus beef, Maytag blue cheeses, and smoked beacon on a brioche bun. There’s nothing better than the texture of a perfectly prepared, high-quality burger to complement the big mouth feel of that IPA. It’s a match made in heaven.” (Mike Kelsen, Owner of Colony Wine Merchant)

Simple and Citrusy

“Currently, I like to drink Saison Style beers. They can be a bit sweet like champagne, loaded with citrus notes, but they can also be spicy and rustic. When it comes to pairing, I like to take a fundamental and basic approach. Bottle Logic Brewing’s Tattered Prince is a wonderfully floral and citrus-flavored Saison that pairs beautifully with goat cheeses, a good Serrano ham, or some salty prosciutto. Tattered Prince with a nice goat cheese has complementary flavors. Goat cheese tends to take on citrus notes and in this case, those flavors are embellished by the flavors and finish of the Tattered Prince.”(Frankie Stefano, Owner and Executive Chef at Stefano’s)

Clean and Consistent

“My most recent favorite beer and food pairing would be a big selection of Yakitori [chicken skewers] and a nice glass of Hanamachi. The skewers are prepared so delicately and lightly seasoned with sea salt or house-made yakitori sauce. Two types of chili flakes, sea salt, and lemon wedges are all you need to finish up each morsel. Having a cold gulp of Hanamachi perfectly cuts through the saltiness of the dishes and leaves your mouth with a very clean finish. Hanamachi is flavorful, but plenty light enough to enjoy more than just one glass throughout the meal.” (Leonard Chan, Co-Founder of The Iron Press)

Crisp and Zesty

“I can’t get enough of our Buttermilk Fried Chicken Waffle Sandwich topped with a Pan-fried sunny side egg and drizzled with our Jalapeno Maple Syrup. To pair, I have to go back to one of my favorite Double IPA’s Double Actuator. The sandwich is meant to be an assault on your senses. You are getting a slight sweetness with the crispy waffle, soft and gooey from the runny egg, crunchy batter, tender juicy chicken breast, and a nice kick from the jalapeno maple syrup. Because of this, a cold, refreshing beer with some bitter citrus is a crazy-good pairing. The Double Actuator ups the ante by cleaning your palate after each sip, allowing you to partake in all the heat with every bite.” (Leonard Chan, Co-Founder of The Iron Press)

Hot and Balanced

“Fresh tossed arugula salad with house-made buttermilk dressing, a pan fried sunny side egg and thick diced charbroiled hot polish sausage on top of a crispy tater tot waffle bed paired with Big Whig India Pale Ale by Noble Aleworks in Anaheim, California. What better way to combat the spiciness of the hot polish and the tastiness of a runny egg than with one of the best balanced and hoppy IPA’s around?” (Leonard Chan, Co-Founder of The Iron Press)