16 July 2010

Beer and Sausages

I am interested in beer pairings, and beer and sausages go together like white and rice. Here's a story about beer and sausage pairings, from which I have excepted the following:

Sausages with mild flavor and intensity: Some traditional European-style sausages like the white- to light cream-colored, veal-based weisswurst and bockwurst fit into this category, as does porky bratwurst if it contains some veal.
Bernard Steinert, a native Bavarian and longtime sausage maker for the Bay Area's Saag's Specialty Meats, says hefeweizen accompanies a traditional German breakfast of weisswurst and pretzels. Hefeweizen is typically a light, smooth, unfiltered wheat beer with citrus, spice and a barely noticeable hoppy note, though you can find some richer, hoppier versions.
Mild chicken and turkey sausage also pair nicely with lighter beers, including pale ales that aren't too hoppy. Also try classic pilsner (a light lager), which has slight hoppy bitterness that contrasts with the sausage's sweetness.
Suggestions: Gordon Biersch Hefeweizen; Sierra Nevada Kellerweis Hefeweizen; Schneider Weisse Hopfen Weisse; Radeberger Pilsner.

Frankfurters and hot dogs: These ballpark mainstays come in turkey and chicken as well as pork and beef versions. Condiments such as mustard, relish, onion, sauerkraut and sometimes the kitchen sink can garnish a dog, so a refreshing mug of light-bodied suds - Budweiser, anyone? - doesn't try to compete. But if you go with just bun and dog, be sure to add a squiggle of mustard, which Steinert says provides some acidity and tang to cut through the fat, as will a well-timed gulp of a light- to medium-bodied seasonal summer brew.
Suggestions: Lagunitas Pils Czech Style Pilsner; Hoegaarden Witbier; Pacifico Clara.

Sausages with medium intensity: Made with pork, or a pork and beef blend, kielbasa, bratwurst, knackwurst and sweet Italian sausage fall into this category. The meaty texture and moderate spice allows these versatile sausages to pair with a wide range of beers, including lagers and ales.
Suggestions: Sierra Nevada Summerfest Lager; Kingfisher Premium Lager; Stone Ruination IPA.

Smoked sausage: Smoke adds another dimension of aroma and flavor to kielbasa, smoked bratwurst and other smoke-influenced styles. The beer in beer-containing sausages like Saag's Maerzenbier brats (made with Gordon Biersch Marzen) also adds complexity. Just as using wine in a dish helps the dish pair with wine, Marzen beer is a no-brainer match with these brats.
Weightier ale is a good choice, too. Paxton prefers a classic stout for its darker roasted malt, which he says complements the smoke.
Suggestions: Gordon Biersch Marzen Auburn Lager; Anderson Valley Brewing Co. Boont ESB; organic Eel River Brewing Porter; Samuel Smith's Oatmeal Stout.

Full-flavored sausage: Hearty, full-flavored duck, lamb and boar sausages call for an equally intense beer, such as a dark or double ale. The beer's greater hoppy bite cuts through the richness of the sausage, while the more darkly roasted malt provides caramel notes that play to the deeply flavored meat.
You can also try classic lambic like that from Cantillon- a dry, Belgian beer brewed with wild yeast. Its typical sourness is often offset with a sweet fruitiness from added fruit or fruit syrup. Straight lambic is a better accompaniment, but I wouldn't turn down an offer of spicy wild boar-apple sausage and apple lambic.
Suggestions: Firestone DBA Double Barrel Ale; Sierra Nevada Torpedo Extra IPA; Negra Modelo.
Sausages with chile heat: Chorizo, linguisa, North African lamb merguez and hot Italian sausage all have varying amounts of heat. Louisiana/Cajun andouille is smoked, but its assertive spiciness is the main factor.
Contrast these sausages with a crisp, light brew to cool your palate. Citrusy Belgian witbier, Belgian-style saison or an IPA (India Pale Ale) with lively floral hops and a malt backbone will help balance the spiciness, although Josh Margolis, a partner at Rosamunde Sausage Grill in San Francisco, says some of his customers enjoy a heavier sipper. Beer contains less alcohol than wine, so spiciness won't be as accentuated; some, however, will find that extremely bitter beer clashes with the chile.
Suggestions: Lagunitas Censored Rich Copper Ale; Speakeasy Big Daddy India Pale Ale; Saison Dupont Vieille Provision ale.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 09:29

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