So, let’s be honest, SAVOR is really about the beer, marketing aside. With that said, there have been some truly transcendent pairings in the past. We assembled a crack team (Jacob Berg, John Fleury, Greg Parnas, Mike Stein, and Bruce Webster) and came up with ten pairings from eight breweries that should absolutely be on your radar. These are arranged in alphabetical order by brewery. Bon appetit!
The Brewer’s Table, TX: Ver Ort (Lager / 4.5% / Table 31) with Falafel | Chive Yogurt | Harissa
Made in the Nightshade (Experimental beer / 5.5% / Table 31) with Redfish | Creole Fried Green Tomato | Rouille
Notes: The Brewer’s Table has been lauded by Food & Wine and Imbibe, so they know what they’re doing when it comes to pairings. One of the better lagers at the event with earthy, spicy hops gets complementary flavors from earthy chickpeas and spicy harrisa. The yogurt and carbonation should also play nicely. Made in the Nightshade is a savory beer, with hints of basil, which will go well with a mild white fish.
Brewery Ommegang, NY: Pale Sour (Sour ale / 6.3% / Table 12) with Marinated Mussels | Saffron Escabeche
Notes: Ommegang’s Pale Sour should be a kick in the teeth, but it’s tempered by blending younger, sweeter, beer with sharper, aged beer. A sour beer cuts the would-be-too-heavy mussels with additional levity provided by a saffron escabeche. Just don’t call it seviche! – Mike Stein
Fremont, WA: Virtue (Sour ale / 6.6% / Table 83) with Blue Cheese Cake | Crispy Shallot | Rye
Notes: A foeder-aged golden sour goes funk on funk when it meets blue cheese.
New Holland Brewing, MI: Dragon’s Milk White (Barrel-aged white Stout / 6% / Table 37) with Coffee Crème Brûlée
Notes: Your dessert pairing of the night features the cognitively dissonant “white stout,” and a barrel-aged one at that. At only 6% alcohol by volume it shouldn’t overwhelm the dessert with heat or malt.
Odell Brewing Co, CO: Mountain Standard (IPA / 6.5% / Table 48) with Deviled Egg | Arugula | Potato Chip
Notes: Odell is trying, bless their hearts, to make “Mountain IPA” happen. Sure, Jan. Anyway, we’re counting on the arugula to add a bit of herbal bitterness to cut through the richness of the egg, while the beer comes at you with tropical juice and more carbonation and dryness than you’d expect from a hazy IPA. – Jake Berg
Port City Brewing Co, VA: Franconian Kellerbier (Lager / 5.2% / Table 18) with Corn Hushpuppy | Pink Peppercorn Aioli
Notes: It’s lager, with 35 IBU of herbal, earthy Noble hops, paired with fried cornflour and a bit of spice. We’ll be here all night. – Jake Berg
Spencer Brewery, MA: Monk’s Reserve Ale (Quad / 10.2% / Table 26) with Country Style Terrine | Plum Mustard
Notes: With the departure of noted quad hater Bill DeBaun, we’re finally free to feature one. If anyone is going to try their hardest to get this beer right in the US, it’s Spencer. An actual Trappist monk may be handing you this beer. Quads are rich, and so is terrine. The beer’s dry finish–we hope–and the plum mustard should cut into all the malt and fat. – Jake Berg
Switchback Brewing Co, VT: Bisou (smoked Saison / 5.9% / Table 10) with Deviled Egg | Arugula | Potato Chip
Smoke 40 (smoked IPA / 7.8% / Table 10) with Dry-Aged Rib Eye | Mushroom Crust | Shallot
Notes: Smoked beers are divisive, but we’re a sucker for them, especially in pairings. Look for a bit of pork on the nose in these beers (really, many smoked beers give off a bacon or ham aroma), followed by delicate carbonation. The saison is brewed with peppercorn and oranges, which should complement the fattiness of the egg, while the smoke and Mosiac hops from the IPA might remind one of grilled pineapple. – Jake Berg