Beer and Food, Food and Beer

Would you like bread with your bread? Why, yes, I would...

The photo above was taken at a local pizza joint nearly five years ago, and I remember it like it was yesterday. I'm not sure what's on the pie—looks like sausage, and knowing me there's probably at least two of pepperoni, mushroom, olive, and onion—but the beer is Karl Strauss Amber Lager. News flash: it goes great with pizza.

Last weekend a friend took me to a hole-in-the-wall called Garlic Shack for dinner. I had a Korean barbecue sandwich type thing that was quite delicious. I'm not normally a fan of "Asian fusion" because it's often a euphemism for not knowing how to fix proper Asian food, but this worked.

There were a few local brews on tap, so I chose one I'd never had but been wanting to try, a juicy IPA from Novo Brazil Brewing. Otay IPA checks in at 6.0% ABV and 65 IBU, and according to the brewery's web site is "a bitter, moderately strong American pale ale that uses its clean, supporting malt to showcase its hop character."

That's a fairly generic description, but one that also happens to be accurate. Although it isn't the total hop bomb that many San Diegans crave, its bitterness accentuates the spice of the sandwich, while the malt helps soften the landing after each bite. In other words, it's pretty much the perfect beer for this dish, something the restaurant proprietors doubtlessly knew long before I did.

And that's the beauty of beer. It goes so well with so many different kinds of food. I'm just starting to learn the possibilities and looking forward to the journey ahead, which promises to satisfy on multiple levels. Cheers!

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