I was asked to write an article for Jacksonville Magazine a few weeks ago, and I figured – since my postings here have been kind-of “slack” of late – I would share it with my wonderful readers. The beers – in case you don’t recognize them – are all local Jacksonville breweries.
Since many chefs view chicken as a “blank canvas” on which to exercise their culinary creativity, the type of BBQ sauce chosen to coat this delicate meat will be your main reason for success; at least, if you are looking to achieve a “perfect pairing.”
When matching with spicier foods, try to remember that a little residual sugar goes a long way! Gewurztraminer is a great example of a wine with a hint of sweetness, a restrained level of alcohol and will help to temper any amount of “heat.”
Wine Recommendation: Gewurz by Alexander Valley Vineyards Gewurztraminer, Mendocino, California $12
Beer has long been the traditional drink of choice when pairing with barbecue and a Hefeweizen will provide a slightly bitter component to contrast the smokiness of the meat.
Beer Recommendation: Weissguy by Engine 15
Pork – whether it’s pulled or shredded – is great at any time of the year; but the casual presentation of a pulled pork sandwich, as well as the ease of its preparation, makes it especially perfect during the summer months.
When pairing with pork in any form, it would be hard to go wrong with Pinot Noir. Pinot (for short) is an incredibly versatile food-pairing wine; from the more rustic examples coming out of the Burgundy region of France, all the way through to the “red-fruit bombs” in California.
Wine Recommendation: A-Z Pinot Noir, Oregon $20
Cream/blond ales tend to show a little-more sweetness than traditional ale, with less bitterness than pale ale or IPAs. The added bonus here is that they would also pair perfectly with thick and creamy coleslaw.
Beer Recommendation: Killer Whale by Bold City
With Thanksgiving long behind us, BBQ turkey offers a moist and savory alternative to the usually dry and flavorless meat served during the holidays!
Sparkling wines can be a match made in heaven with difficult to pair foods. A sparkling “brut” rose would provide a delicate hint of sweetness, whilst being able to cut through the fat of the turkey and to balance the bold flavors of a BBQ sauce.
Wine Recommendation: J Brut Sparkling Brut Rose, Russian River Valley, California $30
Turkey calls for a light and crisp summer-style “session beer,” so as not to over-power the meat. The hint of sweetness in beers of this style will also match the caramelization in the turkey skin.
Beer Recommendation: Jon Boat by Intuition
Ribs – often referred to as baby back ribs – are taken from the lower back rib-section loin of the pig. The perfect rack of ribs should be tender, juicy and melt in your mouth…but be prepared to cling to your napkin!
If any wine was ever considered to be a bully, Zinfandel would be it! A hearty Zin will stand-up to anything! A huge mouthful of blackberries and big tannins will find a welcome home with ribs slathered in a slightly sweet and not-too-spicy BBQ sauce.
Wine Recommendation: Haraszthy Zinfandel, Amador County, California. $16
Craft brews and BBQ go hand-in-hand, offering a complementary and contrasting flavor-experience. A hoppy beer will make a seemingly easy task of cutting through the grease and will pair nicely with rich and full-flavored ribs, as well as smoked meats of any variety.
Beer Recommendation: Rye of the Tiger, Engine 15
Brisket comes from the chest area of the cow between the forelegs; and when cooked right, offers a juicy and tender cut of meat that will feed your whole family, with plenty for leftovers!
Argentina has a long tradition of raising some of the highest quality cattle in the world. It therefore makes sense that most of their red wines come ready-prepared to handle anything of the bovine variety.
Wine Recommendation: Zolo Malbec, Mendoza, Argentina $12
When looking to provide a complementary beer pairing with brisket, it would be hard to go wrong with a stout. The chocolate, coffee and smoky-flavors inherent in most stouts will enhance this already intense, rich and roasted meat.
Beer Recommendation: King Street Stout by Intuition
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