Beer & Food Pairings: “We want a lively dance”

EVEN WINE LOVERS HAVE learned that craft beer has an amazing ability to pair with food. Beer-and-food tasting events have multiplied, and more restaurants are offering “beermaker” dinners, pairing beer with menu items.

Some people say lager is like white wine, and ale is like red. “When matching beer and food, the most important thing to look for is balance,” says Garrett Oliver, author of The Brewmaster’s Table. “We want the beer and food to engage in a lively dance, not a football tackle.”

More foothills and Truckee- Tahoe restaurants and breweries are promoting craft brews with their food. Some are offering beermaker dinners, just like winemaker dinners.

Matteo’s Public, Lefty’s Grill and The Old 5 Mile House in Nevada City; Kane’s, Tofanelli’s, 151 Union Square and Gold Rush Burgers & BBQ in Grass Valley; Auburn Alehouse in Auburn; Fifty Fifty Brewing Co. and JAX at the Tracks in Truckee; and Café Zorro in Loomis are all good choices for pairing craft brews with food.

Matteo’s Public in Nevada City offers innovative beer dinners, featuring Auburn Alehouse, ‘ol Republic Brewery and others. Some Auburn Alehouse pairings created by Matteo’s chef:
• A Creamy Cheddar Soup sim- mered with pureed cauliflower and Auburn Export Lager.
•An “intermezzo” of Grapefruit Sorbet topped with a Gold Country Pilsner reduction (sure to cleanse your palate).
• And a main course of White Mar- ble Farms Pork Loin Chop, stuffed with peppered bacon, organic spinach, roasted red peppers and smoked gouda cheese, topped with a sauce made from Auburn Alehouse barrel-aged beer.

Matteo’s plans a Valentine’s week dinner on February 11, pairing food with ‘ol Republic Brewery’s beers.

Craft beer and top-notch BBQ pairs well. One example: pairing one of 18 craft brews at Smiley Guys SmokeHouse in Grass Valley with their barbequed pork, Tri-Tip or chicken.

Beer tends to pair best with tradi- tional fare. One wintertime choice: pairing a stout beer with Tofanelli’s beef stroganoff (made with prime rib). For a beer-and-food pairing chart, go here.

Wine & Beer Comparisons

Wines Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, Barbera
Beers Lager, Pilsner, Wheat

Wines Merlot, Zinfandel, Syrah
Beers Ale, IPA, Bock

Wines Malbec, CabernetSauvignon,
Beers Stout, Porter

(credit: Brewers Association)

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