Thursday, August 20, 2009

Victory + Fish = Nectar

The food "pairing" I always have the hardest time with is fish and seafood. Some of it's easy: stout or porter and oysters is a slam-dunk, a nice whitefish and saison is great, and I like witbier and lobster. Steamed crabs and Genny Cream have always worked for me. No, really: I need something light and cold.

But I like "fishy" fish: salmon, shad, and I love bluefish. Strong flavored fish can be harder to pair, and always give me a tough time. Smoked fish is no sweat, but a simple grilled bluefish?

So I was interested to see Victory doing an all-seafood dinner with Nectar in Berwyn. The dinner's on September 9th, and kicks off an entire month of seafood-beer pairings. This first dinner includes a smoked king salmon and cheddar 'grilled cheese' sandwich (Braumeister Pils); a sea salt crusted lobster sushi roll (Festbier) sea urchin with toasted nori risotto and bonito (Prima Pils); grilled smoked white shrimp sausage (likely Victory Lager); and roasted skate with sea salt baked fingerling potatoes (Moonglow, an interesting choice). Hell, I've got ideas just looking at it, and there's much more to come. Something to think about when you start to get bored of the round of Fall beer festivals!

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hate to be a contrarian but...

That's two pilsners, a festbier (which I assume means the golden helles-like substitute for Marzen that is standard at most Oktoberfest things) and a Victory Lager.

I'm not impressed that pilsners and golden lager type beers go well with fish. Those beers go well with everything. These would be good pairings for a Wednesday evening in, but they are hardly anything to get excited about at a beer pairing dinner.

Don't get me wrong those beers are delicious I just would have liked to see some more original and thought provoking pairings.

(I'll save my judgment on the Moonglow as I have not tasted it)

Lew Bryson said...

Should have been more detail-oriented. First, none of those pairings are set in stone yet, but your comments are still somewhat valid. Second, the Festbier is more on the amber old school lines. And the Lager's going to be keller-style, poured from a wooden cask.
I'm not sure what you'd like to see, though. Pilsners are versatile, but certaily don't "go well with everything." I think pilsner and shrimp makes for a pretty metallic pairing, for instance, and do not reach for pils when I do fish. I'm interested to see if Victory's pils are better. I'd like to see their new Helios saison on the menu, but...I wouldn't be surprised by saison and fish. What I'd really like is a good seafood menu with beers that work, not awesome knock-me-on-my-ass WOW! beers and some fish dishes. Which I think is what they were aiming for.

wahoo said...

Bluefish is a tough one. I think snapper blues (at least that is what we call those 4-8" young-of-the-year bluefish in New England) would also do fine with a pilsener. I like my blues blackened, so I would go with an APA or IPA to stand up to the spice. But a regular grilled blue? I am imagining a tripel like Captain Lawrence Xtra Gold would do well. Maybe something sour?

JP said...

Yes Lew you have yet again failed to provide us with interesting AND original pairings! What on earth where you thinking suggesting a pedestrian pils?. Bluefish? usually a pretty oily fish try some corn whiskey.

Anonymous said...

I love fish and I love beer. home run.

Lew Bryson said...

Well, jeez, JP: it ain't my pairings! But whattayamean, "yet again failed"?! When did I drop that ball?

jp said...

I would also humbly suggest in the future you pair any coldwater fish with Flensburger Pils steinies and all crustaceans/mollusks with Narragansett 16oz cans Hi Neighbor!

jp said...

I read it here Lew I hold you responsible. (please note hint sarcasm here) Actually I would be very to grateful to drink and or eat any of those combinations whoever came up with them

Anonymous said...

BTW is it true that oyster stout actually was brewed with oysters? And for the record you have never let steered me wrong in terms of pairings

Lew Bryson said...

Some oyster stouts were/are brewed with oysters: more for the calcium in the shells when brewing with soft water. But some oyster stouts are brewed to go particularly well with oysters.

Anonymous said...

I cook quite a bit of fish at home, and while I'll typically reach for wine with fish, there are a few beers that I enjoy. I like to cook salmon with a spicy glaze, two that I use are a jalapeno jam and a garlicy/peppery thai "sauce" that I think is actually a dipping sauce of some sort I piced up and that I cut with some citrus. I really enjoy a nice maltier style of IPA with those. Not a west-coast grapefruity hop-bomb (though there is a place for those in my kitchen too). I usually go for a Yards IPA, or Hop Devil, and I rather like Wagner IPA with it, from the winery in NY, though I can only get that at the winery.

Lew Bryson said...

Someone mentioned that to me -- might have been Lucy Saunders -- that if you can't pair the fish, pair the sauce. Good idea.

maibock said...

How coincidental! Just this very last Wednesday, my wife had grilled some fresh salmon fillets. And being new to beer pairings(I used to drink whatever I had with whatever I was eating), I opted for the Prima Pils. Nice to know I wasn't that far off the mark.

Steven said...

Lew, you need to get to Wisconsin for some (lightly) pan-fried blue gill. Oh - my.

Goes very nicely with a Pale Ale or Pils, even an Amber Lager -- but I'd bet it probably goes well with Point or Leinie's original too!

BTW -- Anonymous, not all Festbier is a parallel of Helles, I always put the good ones somewhere between Helles and Maibock.

S.

Bill Covaleski said...

Lew, thanks for stirring this kettle of fish (pun intended). Pairings can seek to complement or contrast. Yes, there are some mild lagers in these initial pairings. But as many of us know, mild can also mean nuanced. I am looking forward to nuanced dishes and nuanced beers at Nectar in September. Hope that you and others might join us. Keep up the great work!