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Suggestions on pairings for my beer dinner?

I'm planning a beer dinner for sometime in August. I've already decided on the 4 courses that I'm doing, but I only have beers paired for 2 of those courses so far. The food is all Italian themed, but the beers can be anything. Any suggestions?

1st Course: Shrimp and Ricotta Ravioli with roasted garlic pesto cream / No beer decided on yet
2nd Course: Classic Antipasto / Bell's Two Hearted Ale (IPA)
3rd Course: Stracotto di Manzo (Italian Pot Roast) with Polenta / No beer decided on yet
4th Course: White Chocolate Tiramisu / Chocolate Stout (nothing specific yet)

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  1. 3rd course I'd suggest either Rodenbach or an English brown ale.

    1st course I'd suggest a witbier like Avery White Rascal or Unibroue Blanche De Chambly.

    1. 3rd course- well...if you really don't want to go with a Brunello di Montalcino ;) (rich earthiness, hints of cherries and a good touch of acidity), which would kick all sorts of butt, then the next best thing the beer world has to offer would probably either be that Rodenbach or maybe even a Three Philosophers (a quad blended with cherry lambic), which is the first thing that came to my mind.

      It sounds really interesting- I hope you have a great time.

      8 Replies
      1. re: TongoRad

        I'd do the Three Philosophers with a dessert, but not the tiramisou.

        Here are my suggestions:

        1st course: I would go for a Belgian style to complement the herbacious elements. Duvel would work or for a domestic, Allagash Summer.

        3rd course: I like roasted malt flavors to go with the roasted meat. And a bit of hops to go with the Italian. How about a Dogfish Head Indian Brown.

        I think you are going to have trouble pairing the White Chocolate Tiramisou with a stout, unless you use a milk stout. Even then, I have my doubts. I hesitate to recommend a weizenbock but the Aventinus Eisbock might work.

        1. re: brentk

          I guess it comes down to how the pot roast is cooked. I usually do my braises like that with a bunch of carrots, onions and tomatoes in the pot, which contribute a certain sweetness, especially once it is all run through the food mill to make the sauce. Residual sugars usually go quite well in those circumstances.

          1. re: brentk

            The thing about tiramisu is it has espresso in it. Initially I was going to suggest he consider Lindemans Framboise for the white chocolate, but espresso is such a strong flavor that I think a stout could work OK, provided it's got enough sweetness to it. A milk stout would actually be an awesome match. Left Hand makes a good one.

            1. re: Josh

              The Duck-Rabbit Milk Stout might be nice, as well.

              1. re: brentk

                I have some other suggestions for the final pairing. If you are in Michigan (with Bells, I was unsure), I would suggest Atwater Block Vanilla Java Porter. also, i think a doppelbock is a great choice for that kind of dessert. a lot of chocolate malt. if i were you, I would head in a porter direction. With that, there is the chocolate, caramel, and coffee malts without the heaviness of a stout.

                1. re: daves_32

                  For the pot roast I think an Ayinger Celebrator Dopplebock would go very well. The body is relatively light which would cut through meat, but the rich caramel and earthy flavours would really compliment roasted meat.

                  As to the First course, you can also do a nice snappy Pilsener. Not only would the dryness bring out the sweetness in the shrimp, but this makes a great start to a beer evening as you increase the complexity as you go on.

              2. re: Josh

                Find a coffee porter for the tiramisu.
                Or, (as I just said in the beer and cheese thread. if you can afford it, Utopias

              3. re: brentk

                Great choices on the food / beer pairings! Love them all. If you can find some Cave-Aged Hennepin, it might be better than the Duvel.

            2. I'd go with a nice sour lambic for the first course, to offset the cream sauce, keep your palate refreshed. Maybe a nice malty altbier for the third, but as Tongorad says it depends on how the roast is cooked.

              1. for the Roast you might consider Stones smoked Porter. A hearty beer foe a hardy meal.

                1. 1 i'd go with something with a decent amount of carbonation to help cut the sauce. don't want anything too hoppy, which could throw off your palate for the rest of the meal. instinctively, i'd lean towards a good german pils.
                  2 if your antipasto includes cured meats, i'd be inclined to go with something fairly acidic, like a flemish sour brown/red. if you can get it, i think panil bariquee would be perfect. or rodenbach grand cru. the acidity helps balance the salty nature of cured meats.
                  3. toughest match of the bunch. but depending upon what you braise it in, you could go belgian (say a chimay bleu or a unibroue trois pistoles), although those are both a little sweet and might not go with italian herbs. a schwartzbier (kostritzer's the easiest to find, and is pretty good) might be OK too.
                  4. brooklyn black chocolate stout (which doesn't actually have any chocolate) could be good, in small glasses. to be cheeky, you could even serve it in espresso cups. but one thing -- a chocolate stout might tend to overwhelm the white chocolate, which can be a delicate kind of flavour.