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Six-pack Workout: Pistonhead Kustom Lager

My father recently took a trip over to Sweden to pick up the newest addition to their herd of sheep dogs, (my parents are breeders and showers of said herd). Knowing that I have a fondness for beer of all kinds and delight in out-of-the-ordinary and hard to find brews he kept his eyes peeled for anything I might not be able to get Stateside. He came back with 2 cans. One was a light bodied, high octane brew that wasn't all that distinguishable from Mickey's or Steel Reserve. The other, however, was kind of an oddity and I highly enjoyed it. So, I bring to you...

No relation to the Detroit Pistons of any variety, I assure you...

Six-pack Workout: Pistonhead Kustom Lager Brewery: Brutal Brewing, Sweden Style: Lager ABV: 4.9% IBU: 100 (guessing, found no actual calculation) Price point: around $10 a six pack (Dad only bought one can so that price is based on that + exchange rate). Color: Pale blonde. Head retention: Poor Aroma: Citrus, floral, citrus peel Mouthfeel: Very light. Tasting notes: This is a very easy drinking beer. Not much body to speak of, goes down smooth and fast. Despite the fact that it's a lager, they dry hop this brew like an IPA so it's pretty hoppy, but the lack of body and malt profile that typify an IPA don't get in the way here so all you get is a glass of liquid hops. Not in a bad way though. It doesn't make you swallow your own face from puckering. It does, however, deliver a pure, unobstructed flavor profile of the Cascade and Amarillo hops used in the kettle and the fermenter. Pairings: Summer cookout foods. Brats, dogs, burgers, potato salad, etc. Cheddar, aged gouda, mustards of all types, pork in general, BBQ. Comments: Wish I could say I'll buy this again, but the chances are pretty slim. If the opportunity presents itself I won't hesitate. For the sake of humor I'll share with you what's written on the back of the can:

"CRAFTED IN OUR BRUTAL BREWING WORKSHOP.

THE KUSTOM LAGER IS A SMOOTH, NO-NONSENSE BREW.

IT'S DRY HOPPED WITH CASCADE AND AMARILLO HOPS TO OFFER

A SPICY CITRUS EDGE, PLUS IT'S ORGANIC. AND IT

GLOWS IN THE DARK. NEED WE SAY MORE?"

I didn't notice any luminescence, but the name of the brewery alone is enough to give me a chuckle.

-Jack

Six-pack Workout: Victoria

Taking a cue from Ian, with his fast growing back catalog of wine posts, and realizing that I'm not doing a good job countering that with scribblings on barley derived beverages (as is one of my duties) I've decided to start a short and sweet review series of my own. Having recently moved to the Chicagoland area, I thought it would be appropriate to start with a beer that is pretty popular out here, and that isn't available in Michigan, Victoria. Brewery: Grupo Modelo Country: Mexico Style: Vienna Lager ABV: 4.04% IBU: 20 Price point: $7.99/6 pack Color: Amber Head retention: Fair Aroma: Caramel and roasted malt. Very mild citrus notes of orange and lemon peel. Slight Hazelnut around the edges. Mouthfeel: Light body and medium-high carbonation. Tasting notes: The effervescence hits you right up front along side a mild sweetness. Blooming into a mild roasted malt bitterness as the fizz continues it's journey across the mid-palate. Hoppy finish that lasts just as long as you want it to, lingering sweetness. Pairings: BBQ, grilled meat, picnic and cookout food (brats, burgers, dogs, etc.) Comments: Made by the oldest and largest brewery in Mexico, Victoria is only available in limited markets here in the States. Should you get the chance to try it, I recommend you to take that opportunity. Very easy to drink and a great summer beer. This doesn't really say much, but all other Mexican beers I've tried do not compare. The intended Vienna style comes through, but with the little twist of being lighter, bubblier, and having it's own personality while still staying true to the expectations of the style. So next time you're out in Chi-town (especially if it's summertime and there are cookouts to attend), look for a 6 or a 12 of Victoria. Corona, Pacifico, and even Negro Modelo can all take a hike, this is a Mexican beer that won't make beer snobs roll their eyes. All Mexican beer really isn't crap after all! -Jack

Haute Beer?

Beer makers have long brewed merely for dudes that just drink beer, and not with food pairing in mind. While in some cases this still makes for a great beverage to pair with food, a good portion of the time this is not the case. Especially here in the U.S. where brewers tend to take traditional styles and amp them up in some way. A good example of this the classic British style the Pale Ale. Medium bodied with a subtle but pronounced maltiness balanced by a mild hop bite, the benchmark of this style is undisputedly Bass. Enter the American Pale Ale... typically lighter in color, equal in body and malt, but way more hops than their counterparts across the pond, Seirra Nevada is probably the ambassador of this offshoot. Other specimens of this phenomenon abound, from Russian Imperial Stouts that drink like motor oil (Old Rasputin) to IPA's that are little more than alcoholic hop flavored beverages (Two Heart). Don't get me wrong, this is not always a bad thing. I'm quite fond of a lot of these over-the-top American interpretations of classic European styles, and in fact Sierra Nevada's Pale Ale is one of my favorite domestic beers. The fact remains, however, these steroid-jacked iterations are often too much beer to successfully pair with any food outside of the realm of pizza. Fear not, though, foodies of the world, as there seems to be a growing number of breweries that are taking food and beverage pairing into account when formulating recipes. Realizing finally what the French have known for centuries, that a beverage can enhance the food it's paired with, and vice versa, a few breweries across the globe have started to embrace this concept. Chefs as well are starting to notice the potential beer holds as an alternative to wine as a beverage to pair with their creations, adding a new spin, more variety,and deeper complexity to the traditional pairing options. In fact there are a couple world renown Chefs that are joining forces with breweries with this goal in mind. To help the breweries understand what the Chef wants to see, what their food needs as far as pairing is concerned, and to help the Chefs understand how the breweries accomplish this. Ferran Adria, known the world over for his ground breaking mad scientist approach to food with his impossible to get into restaurant in Spain, El Bulli, is one such Chef and probably lead the charge. He brought his sommelier team to Estrella Damm brewery and met with their brewmasters. The result of this alliance was "Inedit". A medium bodied, golden-amber colored beer flavored with orange peel, liquorice, and coriander, it goes well with a vast array of foods. From shellfish to light game to salads and charcuterie, the pairing choices are myriad. The breweries website, and accompanying YouTube videos describe the flavors and proper serving methods better than I could, so I've included a link at the end. The only foods I'd avoid serving with this are those with big flavors, such as red meats, grilled or brasied meats, stronger game like venison and bear, ect. For those items, there is another... The brewers at Rogue combined forces with another titan in the food world, Masaharu Morimoto, to come up with their Morimoto Black Obi Soba Ale. We've enjoyed this at more than one meeting of the Estate and I've touted it's excellence more than once here, so to avoid sounding like a broken record (or obsessed fan-boy) I'll simply include links to those write ups at the end. There are many other chefs that are getting as involved as Ferran Adria and Morimoto. Does the name Thomas Keller ring a bell? Yes, he's been serving beers as the beverage pairing for certain courses at the French Laundry and Per Se for quite some time now, and in fact his chef at Per Se got together with the local team at the Brooklyn Brewery to craft a brown ale to go in a holiday gift basket for their investors and they had plenty left over to go on the menus at Per Se, the French Laundry and other Keller restaurants. It was so successful their will be more to come from that collaboration. It seems my favorite beverage is finally getting the recognition and status it deserves, putting it firmly in the "luxury" category of beverages due to the myriad of craft breweries springing up that take their beer every bit as serious as the vineyards of Bordeaux. As a chef, beer nut, and home-brewer I've been touting the merits of beer as a potential equal to wine as a food pairing beverage for nearly a decade. In my early tenure writing for this site I dedicated a post to it (link below). This follow up was inspired by a meal we had last month featuring several beer and wine pairings. A meal that also inspired my last two posts... yeah... it was pretty epic... It is one of my fondest hopes that more brewhouses hear this call and join the charge, and more chefs see this potential and encourage it. The result will further the development of both disciplines and produce a more open dialog between brewers and chefs. More fine beers listed on menus under "recommended beverages" for each dish, the exploration of new culinary territory, and a greater sense of pride for all involved. Who won't benefit from that? Jack http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/05/16/WI5010J81V.DTL http://www.estrelladamminedit.com/en/ferran-adria-beer.html http://rogueestate.com/2010/05/24/beer-review-moromoto-and-bourbon-county/#comments http://rogueestate.com/2010/02/15/beer-the-culinary-underdog/#comments

Oktoberfest 2010

Autumn is my favorite season, especially here in Michigan. The humidity starts to give us a much needed reprieve, the weather cools down a little, and the trees in this State start to show off their beautiful autumnal palette of woody browns, flashing yellows and vibrant reds. The cider mills start churning out their outstanding apple libations and otherworldly doughnuts. And let's not forget the beer! No other season makes me crave beer like the fall. The fact that the typical flavors of this brewing season are the kinds that made me fall in love with beer probably helps. Medium bodied, robust roasted malts, amber hues, and higher than normal ABV to fend off the chill of the evening. Marzen/Oktoberfest style is the undisputed king of autumn concoctions. Which will be the topic I cover this time out. I've made it my mission to explore this years batch from as many breweries as possible, and share with you the best (and worst) this year has to offer. I'll be delving into some classics (Paulaner, Hacker-Pshorr) and some lesser known micros in search of the best of the crop of 2010. I'm not going to cover food pairings in this post, since it would likely start sounding like a broken record given the fact that I'm focusing on a single style. Suffice it to say, pork (sausage form or otherwise), roasted or caramelized cabbage, nuts, fennel bulb and seed, berries, and cheeses like Butter-Kasse, Gelmini Gorgonzola DOP (specifically) and Havarti would pair well. I also don't feel it very necessary to include ABV (Alcohol By Volume), since they will invariably fall in the upper 5% to lower 7% range. So here are my tasting notes on the 2010 Oktoberfest offerings. Leinenkugel's: Generally not my favorite brewery, ranking somewhere in the area of Killians. Not horrible, but mediocre at best. Their Oktoberfest is par for that course. Smooth, and easy to drink, as it should be, it still fails to impress all that much. The sweet malty aroma and flavor right up front gives way to a mild hoppiness on the finish. The medium body and carbonation are what one would expect from the style. The price point makes it a justifiable buy, but if your looking for an exemplary incarnation of the style, look elsewhere. 4 "chugs" out of 10 http://leinie.com/ Sam Adams: This brewery is very hit or miss with me, usually. While if I'm cooking with beer I will reach for the Boston Lager about 75% of the time, some of their other brews are just kind of "eh". I've never had a beer from them that made me wanna spit it out, though, and in fact their hard to impossible to find Scotch Ale is probably one of the best American beers I've had (it's been years, however, I may re-evaluate that stance if I ever get my hands on it again) but a lot of their beers just don't strike home with me, and they all have a signature taste. You know when your drinking something from that brewery, which isn't always a bad thing. With a nice head and the typical reddish amber color, the Sam Adams Octoberfest is a decent example of the style. Mild aroma and medium-high carbonation with an almost creamy smooth mouth-feel right up front tapering quickly into the sweetness of caramel malts and almost imperceptible hop finish. A very drinkable beer, but the sweetness is a bit much for my taste, didn't stop me from killing the 6 pack, though... 5 chugs out of 10 http://www.samueladams.com/ Magic Hat Hex Ourtoberfest: Magic Hat is quickly becoming one of my favorite breweries. Their quirky approach and tendency to color outside the lines (and actually do it well) have endeared them to me. Their new Hex Ourtoberfest is more of the same from an innovative brew-house. Slightly darker in color than the standard Oktoberfest, with a deeper red hue, I was not disappointed. Great malt profile that's pretty typical of the style, where they detour from the norm is the cherry wood notes on the finish and the slight berry notes in the mildly hoppy nose. The slight hint of smoke on the palate are also a diversion from tradition, though not very far from. It all works well enough that I don't think even the most hardcore Oktoberfest purist wouldn't find a reason to bitch about this offering (as I am such). This brewery is well known for canning fan favorites to do something new. Last years fall seasonal was Roxy Rolles, replaced this year by Hex. I did like Roxy Rolles, but I can't complain about their decision to move forward and explore new territory. Keep at it, guys. Doin' well so far! 7 out of 10 http://www.magichat.net/ Sierra Nevada Tumbler: While they aren't calling this an Oktoberfest, it is their Autumn seasonal, and follows the Oktoberfest blueprint for the most part. Color is a dark brown in the glass, a couple shades darker than a typical Oktoberfest, but the flavors are on par with the style. Roasted malt, caramel and a faint hop finish on the nose. Slightly viscous mouth feel with medium carbonation. The flavor is pretty much typical Oktoberfest, but a little higher on the caramel and brown sugar flavors, and (as typifies Sierra Nevada) a decent hop finish. 7 of 10 http://www.sierranevada.com/ Abita Fall Fest: I hear a lot of people tout this brewery, but I don't really get it... While everything I've had from them is very drinkable, they have yet to impress me. This offering is no different. Pale amber color in the glass, and bread with a hint of caramel on the nose. Smooth and light mouth feel with light carbonation. The flavor is heavy on the crystal malt, with rock candy notes and a faint hop finish. Not a bad beer, but maybe I'm trying to classify it wrong. They aren't trying to put it in the Oktoberfest category outwardly, but it seems that was vaguely what they were going for. 6 of 10 http://www.abita.com/ Flying Dog DOGtoberfest: First let it be said that I generally like this brewery, but I tend to like breweries that are heavy handed (but not overly so) with the hops. That said, this might be my most disappointing experience with their products. Rich red color in the glass, with a very mild aroma of faint malt and hops. Medium bodied, very smooth with medium-high carbonation. The flavor is slightly alkaline, crystal malt and brown sugar in the middle and a mild hop finish. Name aside, it's a very likable beer, but since they put an Oktoberfest insinuation on the name, I was expecting more. 6 of 10 http://www.flyingdogales.com/ Shmaltz Brewing Company Coney Island Freaktoberfest: I was not familiar with this brew-house when I picked this one up, and I doubt I will become any more so... I did an online search, but was unable to come to a satisfactory result as to why this beer has a cherry Kool-Aid red color and head... Artificial color? Strike one! Malty nose with hints of red berries, strike two! Medium body and carbonation with malt flavors right up front and raspberry/strawberry in the middle. Strike three. No real finish to speak of. While I give them credit for trying to think outside the box, they missed the mark. I'm still bothered by the unnaturally red hue, and more so by the fact that they don't divulge why. 1 of 10 http://www.shmaltz.com/ Stoudts Oktoberfest: I hate to keep panning these beers, but the best is yet to come, I promise you. That said, Stoudts Oktoberfest is yet another that I was unhappy with. Golden amber color. Malt and sugar on the nose with hints of yeast and malt extract (wtf?!). Light and smooth mouth feel with mild carbonation. The flavor is unremarkable, at best. There's a faint hint of what it's supposed to be, and under another name I might find it to be a drinkable beer, but not a good representation of the style at all. 4 of 10 http://www.stoudtsbeer.com/ Shiner Marzen-Style Oktoberfest: As German styles go, Shiner is one of the better breweries in the States. Mild nose of roasted malts and light carbonation. Amber color in the glass and very smooth mouth feel, medium bodied. In short, everything I'd expect from an Oktoberfest. While not exemplary, it's probably the best you'll find this side of the Atlantic. Add to that the fact there is much less travel and storage time involved as with imports, and this is my recommended Oktoberfest! 8 of 10 http://www.shiner.com/ Erdinger Oktoberfest Weizen (?) Generally a good German brewery, this one intrigued me. In my search for as many Oktoberfest beers as I could find I stumbled upon this brew from a producer I'm familiar with, but had never seen this one before. It managed to slip under my radar. A Weizen Oktoberfest? Had I noticed this oddity before I surely would have tried it! Wheat is generally not used in this style of beer, but being a reputable German brewery, and the Germans being pretty damn good at wheat beers, I simply could not pass this one up. After I got it home I noticed that the bottle I picked up was last years batch, but be that as it may. Reddish amber color, and cloudy (as expected of German wheat beer) with an almost, but not quite, fruity nose. With this beer you get the best of both worlds. The typical Oktoberfest flavors blend well with the light wheat beer flavors and slight yeasty character. Leave it to the Germans to make the best deviation from the traditional style! As I said, the one I had was a year old, but if you're a fan of Oktoberfest and a fan of Weizen or Heffe-Weizen, seek this one out! 8 of 10 I'll give you the link to the website, but be warned, it's all in German... So to those of you that speak the language, enjoy! This might be the norm from here on in, as I've saved the Germans for last. http://www.erdinger.de/ Kostritzer Oktoberfest: Not one I was very familiar with, though I know of the brewery. But as I said, I was on a mission. Pale golden amber hue in the glass, with light carbonation. Smooth and light mouth feel, with pretty typical nose for the style. Yet another bottle that was a year old and I didn't notice until I got it home, so this might not be the best representation. Malty and caramelly, as one would expect, no noticeable hop finish, but I could tell it was aged. A solid beer, to be sure, but one better enjoyed fresh, I'm also sure. All in all, it stands up pretty well to a year of aging, so don't let the date scare you off. Still a formidable beer, and very drinkable! 7 of 10 Didn't find an official website. Spaten Oktoberfest: Now we're gettin' into the big dogs. Reddish amber color, and light carbonation that typify the style. All the hallmarks of a great Oktoberfest are here... malty caramel nose, smooth mouth feel, nutty flavor from the crystal malts, and an ever so slight hop note on the finish. Despite the green bottle, if you get it fresh enough you can't go wrong. Look for it around the beginning of September and only at reputable beer stores simply because of the green bottle. (The photo I included is an old stock photo, it's packed in green bottles now.) Didn't see a "best by" date on the bottle, but I'm positive the one I got was a year old. That aside, a classic of the style. While not the best, nothing to turn your nose up at. If you do, you need to drink more beer, or give up on it all together... 9 of 10 http://www.spatenusa.com/ Hofbrau Oktoberfest: For the style, and being from Germany, this one was surprising, but not in a good way. Golden color in the glass, so much so that it's almost a Pilsner color. It pretty much follows all the hallmarks of a Pilsner, as well. Light nose of hops, smooth mouth feel, mild maltiness and carbonation. Yet another bottle that didn't have the "best by" date on the label, and I'm sure the bottle I got was last years batch. The green bottle didn't help matters at all... As harsh as this may sound, the "Bud" of German beers... If only they would go with a brown bottle and not call it an Oktoberfest, I may have liked it more.... I would expect more from the Germans, so my rating may be harsh... 3 of 10 http://www.hofbraeuhaus.de/en/index_en.html Hacker-Pschorr Original Oktoberfest: As soon as I raised the glass to my nose, I knew that this was the real deal! Brown bottle with an expiration date of 6/11, this is the good stuff, here. Amber color in the glass with a hint of red. Smooth mouth feel, medium carbonation. The flavor up front is pure German malt, and the carbonation enhances the mild hoppy finish. Undertones of hazelnut, brown sugar, and citrus peel. I pretty much knew which ones were gonna be my favorites from the onset, though Hofbrau shocked me a little. Hacker-Pshorr and Paulaner were saved for last for a reason. That, and I didn't want to sit down to them first and spoil the rest of the flight. 9 of 10 Again, the site is in German, so have fun! http://www.hacker-pschorr.de/ Paulaner Oktoberfest Marzen: I haven't had a Paulaner in a few years, but I remember holding it as the benchmark of what an Oktoberfest should be. Like Bass with Pale Ale, Newcastle Brown, or Samuel Smith Taddy Porter, it is exactly what this beer should taste like. Amber-red in the glass, nice white fluffy head. Malt, hazelnut, mild caramel, and very faint hops on the nose. Caramel, malt, and nuts right up front, smooth going down with an almost dusty quality in the middle, and a silky hop finish all make this beer King of the Hill for it's style. And yes, they print the "best by" date on the label. This one also said 6/11. 10 of 10 http://www.paulaner.com/ You simply can't tell sometimes what year the beer was made with imports. Some print a "best by" date on the label, but not all, so with beer it's usually best to go with domestic brews in a brown bottle unless you're vigilant enough to actually look for the printed date. Beer in clear or green bottles, especially imports that are subjected to more storage and transportation, tends to spoil much faster than in brown bottles. This is due to light contamination. Light is a bottled beers worst enemy. To much exposure to light will cause "off" flavors in a beer, when this happens the odor will be off as well, having an almost sulfur/metallic tinge to the nose. A brewer or beer aficionado would call this beer "skunked" because the scent is faintly reminiscent of skunk spray. If you've ever noticed this yourself it didn't come that way from the brewery, light did it. One last tasting note, if you're a fan of Guinness, don't drink it after an Oktoberfest. The flavors in Oktoberfest are pretty much the same as the middle flavors in Guinness, so if you drink the Oktoberfest first the flavor left on your tongue cancels out those middle ground flavors in Guinness. Leaving you with nothing but the sweetness and the bitterness. I found this out the hard way. I thought I got a bad batch of the Irish Titan of beers, but when I went back to it the next day it tasted perfectly fine. Somewhat counter-intuitive to the "lighter beverages always first" guideline, I know, but I just thought I'd pass that on. If you live in South Eastern Michigan, or better yet, the Western suburbs of Detroit, you can find all of these beers and more at the Wine Barrel Plus in Livonia. They also carry (as the name implies) an astounding array of wine, liquor, several large cigar humidors, and an on-site temperature and humidity controlled wine cellar for the higher end bottles. If they don't have what you're looking for just ask Mark, he'll get it in for you if it's available in Michigan. http://www.winebarrel.com/ So to recap quickly: Best American Oktoberfest I found - Shiner Worst - Shmaltz Freaktoberfest Best German - Paulaner (with honorable mention to Hacker-Pshorr) Worst - Hofbrau These reviews are, of course, subjective. So feel free to tell me I wouldn't know a good Oktoberfest if it hit me in the face. I hope this little list helps you all out though, at the very least in what to avoid like the plague. If I missed something or you actually WANT my opinion on a beer not included, let me know in the comments. Life's too short to drink shit beer! Jack

Beer: The Culinary Underdog

beer-vs-wine When it comes to cooking or food/beverage pairing, wine is most often the elixir of choice. Be it in sauces, braisings, or imbibed with the meal, this is nearly universal. There is even an entire profession dedicated to it, most likely due to the huge impact French technique has had on cooking as a whole. As a chef and home-brewer I believe that beer is every bit as qualified for the task. Granted, it's more difficult get the dark berry notes out of beer that you can out of wine without additives, but it is possible, just add it! The myriad of hop choices can give you an astonishing array of floral notes. The even greater choices in roasted barley will get you whatever earthy, dusty, or even tobacco hints you might be looking for. Even the choice of what yeast strain to use can influence the citrus, sweetness, dryness, or fruity characteristics you desire. Even still, the monopoly remains. When sitting down to a fine meal in a fancy restaurant it's usually expected to see a good wine list. As well it should be. I'm not trying to marginalize or denigrate the merrits of a good wine list. Not nearly. I'm trying to promote beer to be seen on level ground with wine in respect to pairing with food and in the cooking process. They both have their place, but sometimes (in my eyes at least) wine just doesn't cut it... Case in point, oysters. One of my absolute favorite foods period! Kumamoto and/or Malpeque oysters WILL be served to me on my death bed, and if not, I'll be sure to mercilessly torment from the grave whoever it is that fucks up that request! Just as importantly, they better be served with Guinness!!!! I can't think of a single wine that that pairs with oysters, or most shellfish for that matter, as well as beer does. Maybe that's just a personal preference. I'm willing to concede to that, but I think there are more than a few oyster fans out there that would agree with me. On the same note, I can't imagine short ribs braised in anything other than copious amounts of red wine and veal stock. But you can still pair the finished dish with a good stout, porter, or barley wine. As I said, they both have their place. I mentioned earlier the probable cause of this imbalance, the French influence on cooking technique as a whole. If you are a serious beer nut you know the reason why the French opt for wine over beer..... French beer sucks! The French don't even drink French beer, they drink mostly German beer! Masters of cooking and wine making, they should leave the beer brewing to the Germans, English, Irish, Scottish, and Belgians. The true masters of that particular art, though some of the American micro-breweries are on their heels. Another possible root to this is the cost. Beer is cheaper than wine, at least any wine I'd wanna drink, and how good can it be if it's $5 a glass at most restaurants that are charging $10 and up for a glass of good wine? There is something to be said for the snootiness of people with money to burn, trust me.... I've been feeding them for over 15 years... But to this I say, "Pull your heads out of your collective asses and open your damn mind!" Give me just about any dish and I can tell you a good beer to use in it's preparation or to pair with the final dish. If I can't think of a specific beer, I should be able to come up with a style choice to explore to find the best match. I already mentioned short ribs and shellfish, here is a short list of other meat preparations and their respective beer pairings to the best of my abilities: Sushi - a dry, hoppy Pilsner such as Sam Adams Noble Pils Chicken: Grilled - Pale Ale such as Bass Roasted - Nut Brown Ale such as Sam Smith or Pete's Beef: Grilled - IPA or ESB such as Fullers Stewed - Brown Ale such as Newcastle or Stout such as Guinness or Murphy's Duck - Belgian Lambic or other fruit beer such as Pete's Wicked Strawberry Blonde Pork: Grilled - Helles or Grolsh style Roasted - Porter such as Sam Smiths Taddy Porter or see Duck Red Game (venison, elk, bear ect.) - Barley Wine such as Shipyard or see Beef Pale Game (boar, quail, pheasant ect.) - Heffe-Weizen such as Paulaner or Bock such as Spaten These are, of course, gloriously oversimplified. To get a true "match" all the elements of the dish need to be considered when weighing your beverage choices. I hope this has opened your eyes a little to the possibilities (assuming I'm not preaching to the chior) that beer present as a viable alternative to wine for the next time you sit down to great meal. This post is meant to be the lead off to the much neglected "Beer Snob" category of this site. I/we will endeavor to keep the beer section alive, especially now that we have a dedicated wine writer. I could go on for pages! I will, however, end it here to leave room for future reviews, discussions, tips, and rantings. So until then, eat, drink, live! Jack periodic table of beers