The Chefs’ Pairings: Sebago Bonfire Rye and Ska Modus Mandarina IPA
We asked Colby Garrelts—the 2013 James Beard Foundation Best Chef and owner of Bluestem Restaurant in Kansas City, Missouri, and Rye KC in Leawood, Kansas—and Robert McCarthy, executive chef at San Francisco’s Thirsty Bear Brewing Co., to dig into two interesting beers and offer pairing advice. Read more pairing suggestions at allaboutbeer.com/food.
Sebago Bonfire Rye
Sebago Brewing Co.
5.7% | Rye Beer
Chef Garrelts: Nice nutty, hoppy rye beer. This is something I would definitely throw in my cooler when cooking at a campsite, like pulled pork and ribs. The hoppy flavor is great for cutting through the sharp tang of bbq sauce and smoke. Its low carbonation and medium body are a plus with food. Speaking of smoke, it would pair nicely with s’mores on the campfire. The caramel notes and toasty profile make it a perfect fit.
Chef McCarthy: Into the glass the beer displays a slightly cloudy dark amber color and rich off-white head. The aroma is dominated by Citra and Simcoe hops and a slight hint of smoke. This beer definitely has enough flavors to stand up to some strong food flavors. My first thought when tasting it was barbecued brisket, heavy smoke with lots of dry spice. For cheese, L’Amuse Signature Gouda. This is a deeply complex cheese with flavors of salted hazelnuts and caramel that will stand up to the hops and play off the flavors of the different grains. Or lamb belly pastrami with gribiche.
Ska Modus Mandarina India Pale Ale
Ska Brewing Co.
6.8% | IPA
Chef McCarthy: Copper in color with a dense white head, this beer immediately shows off its huge aroma of candied orange peel into the glass. The presence of more traditional citrusy hops and strong caramel-flavored malt makes sure the beer is much more than one-dimensional. This beer would really pair well with most salt-cured meats, like duck prosciutto. Fresh caught Dungeness crab mixed with shaved red onion, jalapeño, watermelon radish and arugula, tossed in a bit of grapefruit juice and extra virgin olive oil. The sweet briny flavor of the crab and heat of the jalapeño can actually brighten the orange and caramel of the beer.
Chef Garrelts: Citrus is the name of the game with this beer. It’s far from overwhelming, thanks to the hops. It’s really nice and floral. I think about roast chicken or game birds. Good fall and winter vegetables. Hell, drink it with Thanksgiving dinner. Be careful with fish. Salmon would fit nicely with this, but anything lighter-flavored might be overwhelmed by the hops. This is a fun beer that has a lot of food potential.