One of the best things about drinking craft beer is the fun you can have pairing it with food. Just like wine, certain beers fit amazingly with certain foods bringing out their full flavor, each complementing the other. One of the easiest ways to find your favorite pairings is to do it yourself. While I may love to cook, I’m certainly no chef, so I like to leave it to the experts and stick with what I know – the pairing part. Many local restaurants are BYOB allowing you to bring along your own pairing ideas.
Here are a few quick suggestions on restaurants that allow BYOB and what to bring.
I have quite an obsession with sushi, and I know I’m not alone in this affair. When it comes to sushi, you want to pick a beer that’s going to be a bit lighter to perfectly complement not contrast the flavors. Ever since my girlfriends and I started our girl’s night out sushi dates years ago I seem to always bring Victory Helios to pair. Helios, a Farmhouse Saison, is a light and crisp beer with hints of citrus and herbal flavors. It isn’t overwhelming and goes quite well with any roll you choose.
While we all may enjoy a hearty glass of red wine with our lasagna, a beer can pair equally as well. If going with red/meat sauce at your favorite Italian establishment, think about a lager on a the side. With the weight of the meal already being on the heavier side, typically you’d want to find a beer that isn’t going to further give you what weighed down feeling. Lagers provide the perfect balance of weight and flavor. Yuengling may be flowing through our veins in Pennsylvania, don’t be scared to try other lagers as well. Brooklyn makes a great stylistic example and is easy to find for your mixed six as well as Flying Dog’s Old Scratch Amber Lager.
Over the past few years I have grown to crave Indian food. The complexity of the flavors and spices can really entice you. For this wuss, a lot of Indian cuisine is a bit spicy to me, but rest assured this is no complaint. If you’re with me it is important to pick a beer that’s not only going to complement the taste but also cool the heat a bit. Anyone will tell you an IPA is perfect for Indian food, I mean an IPA is an India Pale Ale so it really was meant to be (though that’s not why). Particular IPAs are going to better suit you when it comes to Indian food. Don’t be alarmed, but we’re going in for something a little more bitter. Hop in to a Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA. If it’s been awhile since you’ve had one, it’s definitely time to get reacquainted with the classic. It’s not too bitter of course, but just enough to let you know what’s up.
Latin Cuisine – Pale Ale – Arepa City
Arepa City gets their own category because seriously there’s nothing else like it. Expect everything from plantains and yucca to pincho skewers and corn bun sliders. We all know the late night smells of the skewers cooking on Second Street, but eating there beyond late night snack mode is even more delicious. In your mixed six, take a variety of pale ales that you can use to complement and experiment with as you please. Think Oskar Blues Dale’s Pale Ale, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, Deschutes Red Chair Pale Ale, and Great Lakes Burning River Pale Ale. While each is in the same category, you’ll find the flavors to be just as unique as the food you’re eating at Arepa.
What are you favorite Harrisburg-area BYOB spots?