Friday, February 19, 2010

Pairing Beer With Food- A post from our brewmaster

Our one and only brewmaster, Daniel Kahn, is not only a terrific brewer, but a pretty decent writer.
Here is a little tidbit of Dan's on pairing beer with food. As an experienced brewer AND chef, Dan knows that food and beer go together like pimps and their lady friends. He adds onto the end further descriptions and suggested pairings for the three signature Buckbean brews.
Read this and find out why we love Dan, not just because he's a part of Buckbean, but because the man knows his stuff.


In this country, we are just starting to realize something that most European cultures have known for centuries: great beer pairs as well with great food, and often better than, wine. Partly, this is because the most key ingredient in beer is malted barley. Barley is a dietary staple – beer truly is food, and the way that barley is prepared during malting produces a huge range of flavors, aromas and colors, many from the very same compounds that comprise the rest of our food. Additionally, there are many important flavor components from the hops and yeast that create dramatic variation in beer flavor.

I have 10 years of experience as a chef, including a stint with Mario Batali, which has not only been useful when combining and balancing flavors to create new beers, but has left me constantly aware of how my beers interact with other foods as well. Consequently, I work very hard to make sure our beers have balance and depth of flavor, but also finish cleanly without lingering aftertastes, or any harsh elements. Each of our beers is distinct, and offers a variety of elements to pair with foods.

OOBA: The signature characteristic of this unique beer is the elegant, aromatic orange blossoms, though it has enough malt body to accent starchy foods, and enough hops to be dry and balanced. This beer is full of bright flavors, and pairs especially well with other bright tasting foods: citrus fruits, fresh herbs (dill, basil, mint, cilantro), tangy cheeses like feta or goat cheese, and hot chilies. It also goes especially well with light pasta dishes, pastries, or fish, and makes a superb marinade for chicken.

Tule Duck Red Ale: This rich and malty ale has a deep red color, a silky, smooth body, lots of caramel malt flavor and a soft, evergreen hop aroma. Its richness stands up well with hearty game meats and savory herbs like sage and rosemary; tomato, barbecue or fruit sauces; and aged cheddars, goudas, and other complex, medium-sharp cheeses.

Black Noddy Lager: This is a black lager with a surprisingly light body and moderate roasted character. The roasted flavors really highlight any grilled, roasted, or seared foods, and smoked meats, fish or cheeses. It also goes well with dark, earthy flavors like mushrooms, oysters, or soy sauce. It makes a good dessert beer as well, complementing both chocolate and vanilla flavors.


  1. Tule Duck went extremely well with the BBQ ribs we cooked up last weekend using Bain Tussler's Smoke Rub from You can see pictures here:

  2. Hey Tom -- where can I buy

  3. I guess on the website -- silly question!

  4. Thanks Tom, that sounds delicious! We will have to pick up some Smoke Rub and give it a try.


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