Craft Beer Pairing Series with Boulevard Brewing Co. – Seafood
Food pairing experts, Neil Witte, field quality manager at Boulevard Brewing Co., and Josh Eans, sous chef at The American, a highly acclaimed restaurant in Kansas City, write a weekly blog providing insight into pairing different beer styles with different proteins. Below they focus on beers that compliment salmon and shrimp.
Often times the first pairings that come to mind when considering seafood are lighter flavored beers. Any delicate fish will require something that won’t overwhelm it. However, some types of fish and their preparation require a bit more thought about intensity, flavor match and balance.
Wild Salmon Paired with Reverb Imperial Pilsner
The first fish our tasters, Josh and Neil, prepared was wild salmon. Fillets were pan roasted and served over wild rice with pecans and cranberries. The beer they paired it with was Reverb Imperial Pilsner from Boulevard Brewing Co. A stronger version of a Pilsner-style beer at 7.7% ABV, Reverb has the crisp, refreshing characteristics of a Pilsner beer with an added malt intensity, hop bitterness and carbonation to match. Josh and Neil both felt the increased intensity of the beer was needed for this particular fish. “Salmon is richer and has a higher content of Omega oils. That, with the extra sear from the pan, would require any beer pairing to have some extra cutting power,” Josh said. Neil added, “Reverb has just the carbonation and bitterness to do just that as well as the right intensity for the pairing. The wild rice is also great with the slight graininess in the malt flavor.”
Coconut-Breaded Shrimp Paired with 80-Acre Hoppy Wheat Beer
Next up were coconut-breaded shrimp. Coconut aroma filled the kitchen as the shrimp roasted in the oven. Neil commented, “That tropical aroma needs a partner!” It found a mate in 80-Acre Hoppy Wheat Beer from Boulevard Brewing Co. This ale is a light-flavored wheat beer dry-hopped with Cascade and Nelson-Sauvin hops. Dry hopping is a procedure where hops are added to the fermenter, giving the beer added hop aroma and flavor without any additional bitterness. Josh and Neil both felt the tropical fruit notes of the beer paired well. “The coconut fits right into these great hop flavors,” Josh said. Neil agreed, “and the sweetness of the malt pulls the shrimp flavors right in as well. With just a little balance from the carbonation, this pairing is working very well.”
Lighter beers were a great starting point for the different these two seafood items, but finding ones with the right balancing flavors turned out to be what made these pairings find a permanent place on the dinner table.