All About Beer Magazine - Volume 36, Issue 4
September 1, 2015 By

Finding the right food pairing for the beer in your glass can be difficult—especially when it comes to releases with special ingredients and diverse flavor profiles. We asked Jay Spickelmier, chef d’ cuisine at the Vail Cascade Resort and Spa in Colorado, and Joshua Lehman, chef at the Holy Grale in Louisville, Kentucky, to dig into two fresh, curious beers that celebrate the bounty of the summer season and come up with their own pairing ideas.

New Belgium Pear Ginger BeerNew Belgium Pear Ginger Beer

New Belgium Brewing Co.
Fort Collins, Colorado
7% | Fruit Beer

Part of the brewery’s Lips of Faith series, this ale contains ginger, lemon peel and pear. While it’s drinkable on its own,  the brewery has suggested using this in cocktails, like a gimlet, for additional flavor.

Chef Lehman: The crisp, clear golden hue and spicy nose is something I want during a spring or summer brunch. The ginger is up front and becomes more intense with each sip. The pear comes in on the back end. I’d pair this with a spicy curry, pork steamed buns, bouillabaisse and oysters.

Chef Spickelmier: The natural ginger flavor comes through as though it was cold-pressed with just the right amount and balances out nicely with the pear. So refreshing.  My mind wanders to Asia. Wok-tossed noodles with bok choy, ginger, garlic, scallion, lotus root, snap peas, cabbage and a coconut chili glaze with a hint of sweetness and a lot of love. If you go the beer cocktail route, I could see a skewer with crispy rendered pork belly in it. 

Dogfish Head Festina PecheDogfish Head Festina Peche

Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
Milton, Delaware
4.5% | Fruit Beer

Dogfish calls this a “neo-Berliner Weisse,” and with a generous amount of peaches, a lactic bite and lip-smacking quality, some might have a hard time disagreeing.

Chef Spickelmier: This beer makes me want braised pork. At our restaurant it is pulled and pressed into bricks, covered with the braising liquid and set into place. Then a layer of crispy cured pork belly is placed on top with a dash of salsa verde (agave nectar, fresh lime chard poblano, onion and tomatillos blended together), pickled red onion, a mini corn sopes and coriander parsnip puree.  

Chef Lehman: The epitome of a summer beer. Pours a cloudy golden color and has a good amount of funk on the nose. There’s a good amount of peach flavor in the body and salt on the back end. Food pairings would consist of Thai green papaya salad, roasted chicken, cheese, caramel and a poached egg salad.