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May 30, 2008 08:03 AM

pairing question: salmon?

I'm going to a friend's for dinner, she's serving fish. I'm 99 percent sure it's going to be salmon. Any beer pairing suggestions?

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  1. My go-to food beer is either Belgian witbier or French biere-de-garde. Examples of the former: Unibroue Blanche de Chambly, Blanche De Bruxelles, Avery White Rascal, Allagash White, Ommegang Witte. Examples of the latter: Castelain Blonde, Lost Abbey Avant Garde (this is a harder style to find).

    Witbier is a light wheat beer spiced with orange peel and coriander. It's refreshing and palate-cleansing, and low in hops.

    Another possible match could be a traditional Belgian gueuze, like Lindeman's Cuvee Rene, Cantillon Classic Gueuze, or Oud Beersel Oud Gueuze Vielle. Gueze is tart and lemony, and highly effervescent.

    5 Replies
    1. re: Josh

      What would you think about something like Schneider's Edel-Weisse?

      1. re: bennyt

        It'd probably be fine. Generally though, I prefer witbiers to hefeweizens. I'm not into the banana-clove thing so much, and I like the citrusy spicing of witbier.

        1. re: bennyt

          I like Hefeweizens a lot but I don't think they go that well with fatty fish. Josh's list is pretty comprehensive and could go with any of those.

          I also like Saisons with fatty fish as I think it pairs nicely and cuts through the oilyness in the same way as the wit. Classics are the Saison Dupont, and the Fantome but you could also do some Americans versions as well. Saisons are a bit stronger in flavour and alcohol than Wits. I suppose it boils down to what you like.

          If you cant find or dont like either of those styles , a not too hoppy pale ale like Brooklyns pennant would work well too.

          also it might help to know how she is preparing the fish. Depending on the prep there might be a match that knocks it out of the park

          1. re: MVNYC

            I think this is a great suggestion and, for a local beer to you, I would recommend the Southampton Saison Deluxe, which should be available at the better beer stores in your area.

            1. re: brentk

              right up my alley -Great minds drink alike

      2. dogfish head, red & white, if you can find it. it's brewed with pinot noir(which is the best pairing for salmon possible, imo.).

        1. Do you know how the salmon is going to be prepared? If smoked, I would go with a porter or scotch ale. If grilled: blonde or brown ale. Otherwise: Witbier, Wheat Ale, or Hefeweizen. Salmon's pretty versatile and should pair pretty easily with a lot of beers.

          1. If it is grilled or hot-smoked, I highly recommend Black Butte Porter. It is my go-to for salmon pairing.

            5 Replies
            1. re: The Dive

              Or even a smoked porter, like Stone!

              The most memorable salmon/porter pairing I ever did was a long time ago- we were camping in the Newport area and went salmon fishing on one of the days. We took our catch, along with a really fresh growler of Rogue's porter, and just ate it raw around the campfire that night. Aah, memories...

              1. re: TongoRad

                Hi, it's the OP. I ended up trying the Castelain Blonde (biere de garde) and Dogfish Head's Red and White. The pairing question aside, I must say that I was not overly impressed with either of these beers. The biere de garde, was just not interesting to me - I don't deny that it went well with the salmon on a hot June evening, but I found it a bit unexciting. Slight spiciness, fruitiness, but nothing distinctively great. As for the Red and White, I found the grape-iness of the pinot noir to be overbearing. I'm a huge fan of Dogfish Head, but this one wasn't for me.

                1. re: bennyt

                  thanks for reporting back, so few do. :-)

                  given that pinot and salmon are the PERFECT pairing, i don't understand why it didn't work for you. but that's individual taste for ya!

                  again, thanks for reporting back.

                  1. re: bennyt

                    I didn't like the Red & White when I tried it. I thought they got all the wrong notes from the Pinot, and it was not harmonious. Dogfish Head is relentlessly experimental, and sometimes their efforts don't work. But I'm glad they keep trying new things, because sometimes it pays off.

                    I'm a little surprised you didn't like the Castelain, though. As biere de garde goes, that's one of the best examples out there. What kind of beer do you normally enjoy?

                    1. re: Josh

                      I would agree with you about the DFH Red & White....try laying it done for a year or two.

              2. I would probably choose a saison, something dry and light with subtle fruit elements from the yeast. I like New Hollands Golden Cap but there are plenty of good ones like Victory Helios or maybe Brooklyn's Local 1 for a stronger version