Crafty food complements
The U.S. craft beer market has continued its upward trajectory trends. According to the Brewers Association (BA), American craft beer dollar sales rose 15 percent and volume grew 13 percent during the first six months of 2013. In comparison, dollar sales increased 14 percent, and volume grew 12 percent during that same time period last year, the Boulder, Colo.-based association reports.
As the craft beer segment is burgeoning, opportunities also are popping up for brand owners to highlight their brews’ characteristics. In June, the BA hosted Savor: An American Craft Beer & Food Experience, a craft beer and food pairing event that featured 76 small, independent craft brewers and 39 different beer styles.
“When it comes to pairings, one of the key aspects that sets craft beer apart is the fact that there are multiple beer styles to complement and contrast nearly any food or flavor profile,” said Julia Herz, craft beer program director for BA, in a statement. “This is evident both in the broad variety of styles that craft brewers served at Savor 2013 and in the palate-expanding experience from the pairing menu.”
In addition to events like Savor, brand owners are finding their own unique ways to showcase their beers in pairings:
Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
Unveiling a line of foods inspired by its brews, Dogfish Head Craft Brewery partnered with like-minded food companies to produce several beer-infused products. With Hans All-Natural, the company developed a line of brats cooked in its beers. The lineup features Spicy Espresso Brats with Chicory Stout; the Greek Feta Brat with Midas Touch; the Heirloom Italian Brat with Midas Touch; and Bratwurst with Raison D’Etre. Partnering with Sea Watch International, Dogfish Head released Hard-Tack Chowder. “The chowder, infused with 60 Minute IPA, is brought to life with 8 ounces of half-and-half and 3 ounces of Palo Santo Marron and pairs best with a dark, roasty ale,” the company says. Packaged by Brooklyn Brine, Hop-Pickles are all-natural, medium-spicy pickles made with 60 Minute IPA, caramelized onions and Cascade hops. The beer-centric brats and chowder are available at select retailers between New York City and northern Virginia, and the Hop-Pickles are available nationwide, the company says. In late May, the company also announced that it would offer prepared items of the food products at its Bunyan’s Lunchbox food truck and as to-go items at both the brewery and Dogfish Head Brewings & Eats brewpub.
Deschutes Brewery Corporate Executive Chef Jeff Usinowicz created Chainbreaker White IPA Scallop Ceviche, which pairs well with the beer’s citrus and coriander notes, he says. “The Chainbreaker White IPA not only adds an awesome flavor profile to the ceviche, but its citrus and coriander notes make it the perfect beer for pairing with the dish. I rarely pair an ingredient beer with the same drinking beer, but in this case, it adds a level of complexity to the pairing that is satisfying and successful.” Below is Usinowicz’s recipe, which serves 10: Ingredients:
4 large sea scallops
6 heirloom tomatoes
1 seedless (English) cucumber
½ cup fresh parsley, chopped fine
½ cup fresh cilantro, chopped fine
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
4 cups Chainbreaker White IPA
4 cups lime juice
2 jalapeños, sliced paper thin
½ cup salt
1. Mix 4 cups of juice, 4 cups of Chainbreaker White IPA, and ½ cup of salt to make a brine. Set aside.
2. Cut scallops into a medium dice and add into brine.
3. Cut 3 tomatoes into a medium dice and add into mixture.
4. Blend the remaining tomatoes and cucumber and run through a strainer. Add to mixture.
5. Add remaining ingredients to mixture.
6. Chill and serve.
The Boston Beer Co.
Last fall, Boston-based The Boston Beer Co. announced a partnership with San Francisco based craft chocolate maker Tcho to introduce the Samuel Adams Beer Lover’s Chocolate Box. Brewers at Samuel Adams worked with Tcho Chief Chocolate Maker Brad Kintzer to design the gift box that paired each premium chocolate with a Samuel Adams brew from the Samuel Adams Winter Classics Variety Pack. “The idea of pairing beer and food has been around for centuries, but many people are just starting to explore the idea and have fun with it while learning what works,” said Jennifer Glanville, brewery manager at Samuel Adams’ Boston Brewery, in a statement last fall. “From a juicy burger to a rich cheese or dessert, there’s a beer to create that perfect pairing — it’s all about letting the flavor of one enhance the other. We’re looking forward to hearing drinkers’ responses to the Samuel Adams Beer Lover’s Chocolate Box. So many people think of wine as the quintessential chocolate pairing, but we think this pairing will certainly change some minds.” Pairing suggestions include Samuel Adams Boston Lager with PureNotes 70 percent Dark Chocolatey. “The malt character and subtle Noble Hop bitterness of Boston Lager bring out the rich, fudgy flavor and malty sweetness of Tcho’s ‘Chocolatey,’” the company says.