Magazine article Sunset

Beer's Got Flavor: Portland's Beervana Blogger Jeff Alworth on a New Brewing Trend That Challenges Wine's Dominance at the Dinner Table

Magazine article Sunset

Beer's Got Flavor: Portland's Beervana Blogger Jeff Alworth on a New Brewing Trend That Challenges Wine's Dominance at the Dinner Table

Article excerpt

SOMETHING IS HAPPENING at high-end brewpubs and gastropubs. Herbs, spices, exotic fruit, even vegetables like beets and mushrooms are making their way into sophisticated beers. Before you roll your eyes at another artisanal food trend gone too far, consider this: Using actual food ingredients in brews is part of a larger play to put beer on the dinner table, in a way that may even--apostasy!--rival wine.

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When you add food and spices into the brewing mix, the flavor possibilities become almost limitless (it has to do with beer's recipe of malts, hops, and yeast, but let's skip the science). Why does this matter? Well, aside from giving wine a run for its money on casserole night, this current crop of beers uses special ingredients that enhance beer's natural flavors. They aren't just novelty beers; many are better beers.

The West Coast leads the way, with folks like Rich Higgins of San Francisco's Social Kitchen & Brewery. …

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