Meet Your Match

Spice up your next dinner party with bold, new pairings.

 

Most of us are familiar with the traditional guidelines of proper food and drink pairings—white wine goes with fish, beer couples well with burgers and dark spirits pair best with red meat. But there are many more unique combinations to tantalize your taste buds. In an attempt to break out of the usual pairings rut, we asked Phil Wymore, brewmaster/co-founder of Perennial Artisan Ales; Angela Ortmann, owner of STLwinegirl; and Matt Obermark, head barman at Salt, to share their expertise in suggesting some more adventurous combinations to bring your next dinner party from standard to standout.

OUDE GEUZE

The Drink
A Belgian brew style made by blending an aged lambic with a younger one.
The Pairing
Salads, like lyonnaise, and other appetizers, like escargot, served at the beginning of the meal.
The Outcome
The inherent tartness creates a nice combination with vinaigrettes; the earthiness of the Oude Geuze also makes it a great companion for escargot because the bubbles and the acidity in the brew are a good counterpoint to the usual butter and lemon used to prepare the dish.

BELGIAN DUBBEL

The Drink
A malty, slightly sweet, dark brew with raisin, rum and toffee notes, and a higher carbonation than most traditional American styles.
The Pairing
Heavier, rustic dishes like cassoulet.
The Outcome
The richness of the beer matches well with the decadence of the white beans, pork sausage and duck confi t in this traditional French dish. The carbonation is key—it cuts through fat and clears the palate between bites.

CRU BEAUJOLAIS

The Drink
A red wine produced in the Burgundy region of France from the Gamay grape. Similar to a pinot noir, it tends toward the tart side. It’s also one of the few reds that can be served chilled.
The Pairing
A nice, juicy burger, cheese and charcuterie plates, brats and other styles of sausage are ideal matches for this wine’s flavors of cranberries, sour cherries, currants, dried berries and occasional hints of pepper.
The Outcome
The lighter tannins and overall lighter body of this wine make it a nice choice for everyday fare, and its versatility with a variety of foods makes it the perfect complement for big holiday spreads.

BRACHETTO D’ACQUI

The Drink
A sparkling dessert wine made from the Brachetto grape from the Piedmont region of Italy.
The Pairing
Berry and custard desserts, especially chocolate and chocolate-covered strawberries.
The Outcome
The wine brings an added layer of sweet fruit flavor, and the bubbles lighten the creamy texture of custards and chocolates. It’s also low in alcohol, unlike many dessert wines like ports and fortified wines, so it’s easier to enjoy more of it.

AMARO MONTENEGRO

The Drink
An Italian amaro dating back to the 19th century, made with more than 40 herbs.
The Pairing
Sweets, like dark chocolate, or seasonal fruits, like blackberries and peaches, as well as rich cheeses, like Brie.
The Outcome
The bitter orange flavor of the liqueur balances the sweetness of these dessert ingredients, and cuts through the richness inherent in the cheese. Since it’s a digestif, it can certainly round out a meal on its own, but can also be enjoyed as a pre-meal libation.

RANSOM OLD TOM GIN

The Drink
A Pacific Northwest “bathtub” gin based on a 19th-century style that’s miles away from the juniper punch of London Dry gins, which are more prevalent in the US.
The Pairing
Spicy foods and all varieties of pork, as well as savory fowl dishes like duck.
The Outcome
Because it’s not overly herbaceous like other gins, Ransom accentuates spices like anisette and coriander in a dish. As a result of its maltiness and slightly oaky character, it pairs with food much like a bourbon would.

 

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Oude Geuze

Oude Geuze

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Brachetto D’Acqui

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Amaro Montenegro

Amaro Montenegro

 

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