Magazine article Sunset

Beer or Wine? What to Pour to Match Summer's Big-Flavor Foods

Magazine article Sunset

Beer or Wine? What to Pour to Match Summer's Big-Flavor Foods

Article excerpt

Chipotle aioli on fish tacos, searing spices on ribs ... It's easy enough to reach for a cold one, but which beer works best with these foods? And what's the wine lover to do? We chose five favorite Sunset recipes and asked a beer and a wine expert to pick the ideal drink for each. Self-described "publican" Sarah Pederson--who says a great beer and cheese pairing has been known to make her "feel like turning on the Clash and setting off some fireworks"--owns Portland's Saraveza craft beer shop and tavern. And Brandon Tebbe, a Master Sommelier, still craves thought-provoking reds (and a flavor challenge like this one) even after a long day guiding wine fans to exciting bottles for Synergy Fine Wines in Denver. Use their spot-on pairings to drink outside your beverage box this summer.

Pick your match

Baja Fried-Fish Tacos

BEST BEER Nectar Ales "Nectar IPA." "The citrusy hops make the tartar sauce pop," Pederson says. 'And the light malt flavor gives the fish a hug, instead of overpowering it."

BEST WINE Pacific Rim 2011 Wallula Vineyard Biodynamic Riesling (Horse Heaven Hills; $24). Tebbe's take: "It refreshes your palate after every bite with notes of lemon-lime."

Applywood-Smoked Spareribs

BEER Uinta "Anniversary" Barley Wine. "At 10.4 percent, the alcohol cuts through the rub, then the malt bellies up to the meat inside, balancing the spice with some sweetness."

WINE Nickel & Nickel 2008 Ponzo Vineyard Zinfandel (Russian River Valley; $53). "The lush blackberries, smoke, and pepper of the Zin are like liquid barbecue sauce."

Fried-Chicken Sandwiches with Spicy Slaw

BEER Lagunitas "Little Sumpin' Sumpin'" Ale. "With mint, cilantro, and lime in the slaw, and citrus from hops in the beer, this tastes like summer! Pale malt melds it all."

WINE The Infinite Monkey Theorem 2012 Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon (Grand Valley, Colorado; $20). "It's about acidity to counter the fried-fat factor and herbs in the slaw."

The Cowboy Hot Dog

BEER Fort George "1811" Lager. "Even though this dog is decked out in new big-bite flavors (bacon, barbecue sauce ...), I'm nostalgic for lager in a can to wash it all down."

WINE Arizona Stronghold 2010 "Nachise" Red Rhone Blend (Cochise County, Arizona; $22). "It takes a little alcohol to handle bison, plus smokiness to hook up with the fixings. …

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