Plato quipped that, “Wise is the man who invented beer”. This leads to the idea that it must have also been a wise man that paired his crafted beer with his food. Therefore, having a fine crafted beer next to a slab of ribs that just came off the grill makes you a wise-wise man.
Furthermore, a fine crafted Michigan beer makes you even smarter!
The beverage needs to be cold, frothy and preferably poured before, during and after the meal. A tall frosted mug filled with a tasty Amber Beer, a nice Nut Brown Ale or even a high alcohol Porter could enhance your dinner significantly.
But which craft beer goes with what food?
Let’s start with recognizing that Michigan craft beers are brewed in smaller batches unlike your run of the mill Budweiser’s and Michelob’s of the world. They come from small Michigan towns like Traverse City, Kalkaska and Big Rapids. Craft beers are fragrant, robust and crisp. They offer flavors from hops with names like Cascade, Czech Saaz and the Goldings. Additional flavors are added be means of brewing things into the beer such as oatmeal, chocolate or even citrus.
Personal preference dictates which beer is consumed. It also dictates how much beer is consumed! Keep in mind that there are 6 types of beer: Pilsner, Hefe-Weizen (Wheat), Pale Ale, Bock, Brown Ale and Stout. Each beverage choice has a unique flavor, bitterness and/or alcohol content. Lighter meals could be accompanied by a nice Hefe-Weizen or a Pilsner, and furthermore, a robust meal could call for a Bock or a Dark Stout. However, full flavored beers are not necessarily of the darker colored variety. Specific ingredients (Hops, Malts, Sugars…etc.) can make a big difference in the beer flavor and yet still be of the lighter beer variety. The only way to find out what type of beer your palate enjoys is by doing your homework. In other words, go drink Michigan Craft beers!
Try one of these combinations:
Baby Back Ribs / Kuhnhenn Brewing “Weizon Bock” – Warren
Beer Butt Chicken / Rochester Mills “Cornerstone” IPA – Rochester
Bratwursts - / Atwater Block Brewery “Dirty Blonde” - Detroit
Buffalo Burger / Arcadia “Anglers Ale” – Battle Creek
Grilled Shrimp Skewers / Shorts Brewing “Liberator” - Elk Rapids
Grilled Scallops / Jolly Pumpkin “Majestic Wheat” - Ann Arbor
Grilled Pork Chops / Bell’s Brewery “Best Brown Ale” - Galesburg
Grilled Ribeye Steak / Founders “Dirty Bastard” (2010 World Beer Cup Silver Medalist)- Grand Rapids
Pulled Pork Sliders / Dragonmead “Woodys Perfect Porter” – Warren
Smoked Salmon on Cedar Planks / North Peaks “Steelhead Red” - Traverse City
Once again, personal preference comes into play when pairing dinner with your favorite type, color and flavor of beer. Nothing has been written in stone, but these are some excellent suggestions none the less. Be courageous, be inspired, but most of all stay thirsty and go try something new. Nowadays, your local liquor store is usually stocked with a wide selection of Michigan Craft beers and if you get a bug up your butt, ‘become a wise man’ and start inventing brews yourself.
Smoke ‘em if you got ‘em and don’t forget your bib.