By Matt Vega, Bar Verde at The Grove
Sitting in the dimly lit lounge at Warren’s Blackboard in Studio City, my eyes are immediately drawn to a Sticky Toffee Pudding on the dessert menu. When executed correctly, there aren’t many desserts that make me a happier person. While waiting for the dessert to arrive, I glance over their beverage selection to find something that might just make the experience I’m about to have even better. I decide on one of my favorites, North Coast Brewing’s “Old Rasputin”.
Words cannot describe when both a beer and a culinary creation come together in just perfect harmony. The sweet moist caramel and spice flavors of that Sticky Toffee Pudding and the slightly bitter coffee and nutty notes in the Old Rasputin created the Holy Grail of beer pairing.
There are an infinite amount of these life changing experiences that can be had if you are up for the adventure. Here are three tips to get you on the right track.
With the number of quality craft beers on the market right now, this should be an enjoyable process. What you are looking for is to expand and increase the sensitivity of your palate. There is a world of subtle nuances in craft beer that you will only begin to appreciate once you have tasted enough beers to recognize them
2. To Compliment or Contrast?
There are two basic ways I like to go about pairing beer. If you have a dish that has some notes in it that are subtle, you can look to enhance these notes by choosing a beer that has similar or complimentary flavors. On the other hand, much like in the case of the Sticky Toffee Pudding, if you have a dish that is dominantly a particular flavor palate, you should go with something that will add contrast and balance. Think preparing a dish. If you accidentally made something to acidic, you can add sugar to balance it out and create an amazing final product.
3. Slow Your Roll
With the way our society influences us, we are so accustomed to constantly being on the go. Rushing from one task to the next has become second nature and an almost unavoidable practice. When you sit down to enjoy a meal, take your time. Chances are the chef and the brewer poured their heart and soul into what you are planning to devour in 35 seconds. Give it the time and respect to really savor and appreciate what is going on. You might just fall in love with every bite and sip.
This Thursday, join Bar Verde for Craft Beer Tasting. Enjoy California craft beers paired with a special menu created by Chefs Travis Chase and Rhian Peterman. Four courses, small plates and 4 oz craft beer paired with each course. For more information and to view the menu online, click here.