Craft ~ brews and reviews
By Greg Richardson
enjoy a good craft brewed beer, or even a few from the same brewery.
I appreciate the taste and how it feels on my tongue. You can tell
quite a bit about a beer even before you taste it by the color and
The beer itself is a complex, fascinating
combination of sensory stimulation. There is more.
For many people, the beer is just the
Some people are drawn in by the people they
meet as they explore craft breweries. They get to know the brewers
as well as the other people who frequent tasting rooms. Other people
approach beer and brewing as more of an intellectual pursuit. They
study beers and how they are brewed, learning from the nuances and
Another aspect of beer which really attracts
me is pairing beer with food. While I can sit and drink beer for
quite a while, creating tasty beer and food meals adds another level
of interest for me.
Apparently I am not alone. It is almost as
if “the food question” were another aspect of the brewing process.
Each brewery considers how to pair their beers with food for the
greatest advantage. They come up with their own uniquely creative
Food can be a challenge for a brewery with a
tasting room. Tasting rooms are licensed to allow customers to taste
a brewery’s beer, and not licensed to serve food. There is also a
significant financial jump between having a tasting room and serving
The first option of many tasting rooms is to
see prepackaged food or to give away free snacks. This food tends to
fall into the category of potato chips and pretzels. This food’s
primary benefit in terms of pairing their taste with beer is they
are often quite salty and encourage patrons to drink more beer.
Some tasting rooms encourage people to
bring their own food along, or to have it delivered. When I visited Hangar
24 in Redlands several people
had pizzas delivered and the patrons of Stone
Store in Pasadena often have
meals delivered from nearby restaurants. Bootleggers
Brewery in Fullerton is just
across the alley from Two Saucy Broads Pizza.
The next step for many tasting rooms is
inviting food trucks to spend a day in the parking lot. I have asked
for food and beer pairing recommendations and been well rewarded at
trucks parked at Angel
City Brewery in the Arts
District in Los Angeles and Claremont
Craft Ales in Claremont.
Another step toward restaurant status is
developing a working relationship with a chef or an existing
restaurant. Two excellent examples of this approach are Maximiliano in
Highland Park, which features beers from Craftsman
Brewing on draught and food
prepared by chef Andre Guerrero, and the Eagle
Rock Brewery Public House.
There are also a number of restaurants
which feature a variety of craft beers and menus designed to
complement them. Examples include Lucky Baldwin’s locations,Congregation
Ale House’s locations, the Greyhound
Pub in Highland Park, and the Back
Abbey in Claremont.
These are a few options to get you started.
There are many more choices, and decisions about which food to pair
with what beers are up to you.
You might also want to pick up a growler at
at brewery or tasting room and bring it home to pair it with food
you prepare yourself. People like to explore and try new
combinations. In general, without going into too much detail, there
are a couple of ideas you might want to keep in mind.
Some people prefer to pair beer with food
which has flavors which fit well together. This is the idea behind
drinking a particular IPA with beer battered fish in which the same
IPA is used in preparing the fish, for example. This might lead you
to pair lighter beers and food which have lighter flavors, or
heavier beers and foods which may be more robust.
People also work to pair their beer with
food which has complementary flavors. This might prompt you to pair
food which tastes more spicy with beer which has more of a bitter
flavor. You might want to try an IPA with pasta and arrabiata sauce
or something with plenty of jalapeńo, for example.
Ultimately, the best pairing of beer with
food is what you enjoy the most. Try something new, put something on
the grill and pair it with a beer you think would taste good with
If you decide you do not like it, you can
always call me and I will help you finish it.
Greg Richardson is a leadership and
organizational coach, and a spiritual life mentor, in Pasadena,
California. He is passionate about craft brewing, listening, and
monks and monastic life. Greg is a recovering attorney, executive,
and university professor. Greg’s website is StrategicMonk.com and
he is on Twitter @StrategicMonk.
You can email Greg at StrategicMonk@gmail.com.