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Surprising Beer Pairings

Josh Aug 7, 2013 05:06 PM

Just tried a fresh nectarine with Pliny the Elder. Worked surprisingly well.

Any other unusual pairings y'all have run into?

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  1. Chinon00 RE: Josh Aug 7, 2013 06:11 PM

    You can try that in a beer infuser too.

    1. Silverjay RE: Josh Aug 8, 2013 07:03 PM

      Last Sunday I "paired" a Capt. Lawrence Smoked Porter with negi toro-don (minced raw tuna and onion) on rice and a grilled tuna cheek bone and it was.....well it was interesting. I'm not sure what I was thinking when I grabbed that beer. But "unusual" is a definitely a good descriptor for it all.

      1. j
        jpc8015 RE: Josh Aug 9, 2013 04:15 AM

        The best beer pairings I have had are cheeses. It still amazes me how many people scoff at the idea of pairing beer with cheese.

        11 Replies
        1. re: jpc8015
          Tripeler RE: jpc8015 Aug 9, 2013 06:00 PM

          I have never heard anyone scoff at the idea of pairing beer with cheese. Beer is the ideal accompaniment to cheese.

          1. re: Tripeler
            jpc8015 RE: Tripeler Aug 9, 2013 08:16 PM

            It is usually the wine people scoffing at beer and cheese pairings. Some of them have a hard time understanding that beer goes beyond Bud Light.

            1. re: jpc8015
              Jim Dorsch RE: jpc8015 Aug 9, 2013 08:22 PM

              I think it goes beyond that. A wine drinker might not have thought about a beer's ability to scrub fat off the tongue due to its carbonation, for instance.

              1. re: Jim Dorsch
                jpc8015 RE: Jim Dorsch Aug 9, 2013 08:37 PM

                I think that a lot of people just have a superiority complex when it comes to wine.

                1. re: jpc8015
                  Jim Dorsch RE: jpc8015 Aug 9, 2013 09:25 PM


                  1. re: jpc8015
                    Josh RE: jpc8015 Aug 10, 2013 12:42 PM

                    That they do.

                    1. re: Josh
                      Tripeler RE: Josh Aug 10, 2013 06:46 PM

                      Interesting to me that more beer fans are somewhat knowledgeable about wine than wine fans are about beer. Champagne and Cava are great matches for beer, though.

                      1. re: Tripeler
                        jpc8015 RE: Tripeler Aug 10, 2013 08:25 PM

                        Great points. I used to be a wine buyer for a Marriott property so I like to think that I know a thing or two about wine. I certainly knew about the wines that were on my list and knew how to pair them with our menu. But by no means am I an expert on the stuff.

                        Sometimes I like to pair my beer with a shot of Crown Royal.

                        1. re: jpc8015
                          Tripeler RE: jpc8015 Aug 10, 2013 09:09 PM

                          Beer with a Crown Royal shot sounds like winter to me.

                          1. re: Tripeler
                            jpc8015 RE: Tripeler Aug 10, 2013 11:25 PM

                            I know the Christmas season is upon us once I have had a shot of Rumpluminze chased by a Pyramid Snowcap.

                            1. re: Tripeler
                              JAB RE: Tripeler Aug 11, 2013 06:27 AM

                              It sounds like a party to me.

            2. n
              niquejim RE: Josh Aug 9, 2013 03:24 PM

              That sound far too much like Magic Hat #9 on P.E.D.'s for me to ever want to even try it.
              Now that beer with a baked avocado with an egg placed in the seed hole , topped with cheddar would be great

              1 Reply
              1. re: niquejim
                Josh RE: niquejim Aug 9, 2013 04:31 PM

                Don't knock it 'til you've tried it.


              2. Chinon00 RE: Josh Aug 9, 2013 04:08 PM

                Hop Stoopid and chocolate

                1. l
                  LStaff RE: Josh Aug 12, 2013 07:21 AM

                  At the risk of pushback from beer pairing afficianados and their need to apply "rules" without trying it for themselves, I think IPA's and sushi go very well together.

                  Was never really a fan of pairing cigars and craft beer unless its just something lightly flavored with low hopping rates to just scrub the palate, but my recent attemps have shown that a baltic porter and robust, darker wrapped cigars go pretty well together. Also discovered that Widmer Alchemy Ale's berry flavors and light crystal maltiness pairs well with milder cigars.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: LStaff
                    Chinon00 RE: LStaff Aug 12, 2013 12:24 PM

                    "I think IPA's and sushi go very well together."

                    Sushi is pretty diverse. Any pair better than others?

                    1. re: LStaff
                      Silverjay RE: LStaff Aug 12, 2013 12:34 PM

                      I thought this sounded familiar and dug this up from couple years ago- http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/770915 .

                      1. re: LStaff
                        deet13 RE: LStaff Aug 15, 2013 08:20 PM

                        Yeah that was a pretty interesting exchange, Silverjay.

                        While I typically prefer a lager, I do enjoy an IPA with some of the stronger flavored sashimi (pickled mackerel and what-not) and omakase plates the chef from my local sushi joint whips up.

                      2. c
                        cwdonald RE: Josh Aug 15, 2013 03:46 PM

                        Speaking of beer with cheese.. I am a huge fan of pairing a good saison with goat cheese. especially Truffle Tremor. The earthyness of the truffle, the tang of the goat cheese and the spice of the saison really all meld wonderfully.

                        13 Replies
                        1. re: cwdonald
                          Tripeler RE: cwdonald Aug 15, 2013 06:54 PM

                          Very good advice. Pairing Saison beers is sometimes tricky.

                          1. re: Tripeler
                            Chinon00 RE: Tripeler Aug 15, 2013 07:07 PM

                            Huh? Most beer and food lovers find Saison to be the most versatile.

                            1. re: Chinon00
                              Josh RE: Chinon00 Aug 15, 2013 09:43 PM

                              Probably depends on the saison. That style seems especially hard for people to do well.

                              1. re: Josh
                                Tripeler RE: Josh Aug 16, 2013 01:39 AM

                                Yeah, with Saison I experience such a wide variety of approaches, so matching in advance is hard. I usually only try those made in Belgium.

                                1. re: Tripeler
                                  Josh RE: Tripeler Aug 16, 2013 07:17 AM

                                  That's a good policy, though there are a couple of good domestics I've had recently. Almanac's Honey Saison is pretty tasty, and Logsdon's Seizoen (both the Bretta and standard) are incredible, especially given their absurdly low price point ($10-12/750ml).

                                2. re: Josh
                                  Chinon00 RE: Josh Aug 16, 2013 07:55 AM

                                  My go-to saisons are:
                                  Pretty Things Jack D'Or (recently no longer distributed in Philly)
                                  Victory Helios
                                  Saison DuPont

                                  They each are dry and highly carbonated which makes them food friendly but they also allow enough space on the palate for lighter foods to shine but at the same time have enough impact to stand up to fried livers, bold Asian foods..

                                  1. re: Chinon00
                                    RB Hound RE: Chinon00 Aug 16, 2013 08:16 AM

                                    We had joy, we had fun.
                                    We had saisons in the sun.

                                    1. re: Chinon00
                                      cwdonald RE: Chinon00 Aug 16, 2013 08:17 AM

                                      Chinon your list is great... i would add in

                                      Solaire from Forest and Main
                                      McKenzie's Brew House Saison Vauteur (has won gold awards)
                                      Ommegang Hennepin

                                      BTW what happened with Pretty Things? Did they lose a distributor?

                                      1. re: cwdonald
                                        Chinon00 RE: cwdonald Aug 16, 2013 08:45 AM

                                        They were having trouble serving New England their home market.

                                        1. re: Chinon00
                                          cwdonald RE: Chinon00 Aug 16, 2013 09:57 AM

                                          So they have pulled out of the PA Market?

                                          1. re: cwdonald
                                            Chinon00 RE: cwdonald Aug 16, 2013 10:17 AM

                                            That's what I hear.
                                            Also, Stillwater Stateside Saison is another excellent one.

                                            1. re: Chinon00
                                              Josh RE: Chinon00 Aug 17, 2013 10:05 AM

                                              Forgot about Stillwater. Stateside and Cellar Door are both quite nice.

                                        2. re: cwdonald
                                          Chinon00 RE: cwdonald Aug 16, 2013 08:50 AM

                                          How could I forget McKenzies Saison Vatour or Sly Fox Saison Vos

                              2. j
                                julesrules RE: Josh Aug 15, 2013 07:33 PM

                                Gingersnaps - although I can't now remember if the beer in question was malty or hoppy. Maybe a brown ale?

                                1. j
                                  JonDough RE: Josh Aug 21, 2013 04:01 PM

                                  Guinness & oysters

                                  1. s
                                    Señor Andy RE: Josh Aug 26, 2013 08:24 AM

                                    Alpine Exponential Hoppiness and an espresso dark chocolate truffle from The Elegant Truffle in San Diego.

                                    I think the source of the affinity must be some overlap in aromatic compounds shared between coffee and hops. More than once I've been driving with a fresh bag of coffee in my car and caught the momentary phantom whiff of hops.

                                    1. Silverjay RE: Josh Aug 30, 2013 08:20 AM

                                      Last night I made a Thai fish laab salad. Actually, it's a bit more in Lao style. Anyway, I was curious about Thai food and IPAs so I paired it with a Dogfish Head 60 minute. It was a terrible pairing. It wasn't the fish that made it bad but it was all the herbs and aromatics. Just too much of an overload for IPA and the hops just didn't fit. It was actually kind of nasty.

                                      There's a lot of dishes that are like this in Thai cuisine. I don't think IPAs are right for it.

                                      5 Replies
                                      1. re: Silverjay
                                        Josh RE: Silverjay Aug 30, 2013 08:49 AM

                                        I agree. I've never understood the IPA/Thai pairing conventional wisdom. For me that type of dish screams for a crisp lager.

                                        1. re: Josh
                                          Silverjay RE: Josh Aug 30, 2013 08:57 AM

                                          Something creamy might be good too. Guinness maybe....The issue with IPAs is the nose clashing with the aromatics like lemongrass, kaffir lime, holy basil, etc. in Thai cuisine. Hops just get in the way and they do not complement at all. The flavor too was nasty, though it might hold up better with meat. I make a lot Thai food these days so I'll keep experimenting.

                                          1. re: Silverjay
                                            Tripeler RE: Silverjay Aug 30, 2013 07:14 PM

                                            For the food you were having, I would have chosen a malt-driven beer such as a doppelbock, though a sweet Belgian ale like a Westmalle Dubble would have been good. There was a Burmese restaurant in Tokyo that would recommend Hoegaarden Forbidden Fruit (Adam & Eve) with their food. But sweetness, creaminess and an absence of hop bitterness would be called for.

                                            1. re: Tripeler
                                              Silverjay RE: Tripeler Sep 2, 2013 09:18 AM

                                              Ok, I made a spicy chicken laab this time, with bits of pork belly, tossed with fresh Thai basil we grow ourselves, mint, cilantro, lemongrass, etc. Paired this time with a beer from Stillwater, an artisanal brewer out of Baltimore. The beer was As Follows, a Belgian strong ale- http://beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/.... It's hoppier than a usual Belgian style beer, but really just a bit of a citrus on the nose. For the most part tasted like a cross between a saison and a double. It was complex and wet and perfect. And man, it hid that 9+ abv well, which was nice as this was the spiciest rendition I've made yet of the laab dish.

                                              1. re: Silverjay
                                                Tripeler RE: Silverjay Sep 2, 2013 04:13 PM

                                                The high alcohol really unlocks the flavor of the spices since the oils are quickly released. Sounds fantastic.

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