Beer seems to have a natural affinity for pork. There’s something about the greasiness and saltiness of pork—especially the fattier parts of the pig—that just seems to lend itself, cheek by jowl, to the bitterness of hops and the subtle funkiness of saisons.
Pork and beer also go well together at any time of the day, as we discovered at Drake’s Fourth Annual Sau & Brau and Social Kitchen’s Valentine’s Day Beer Breakfast on Friday.
Drake’s Brewery and Barrel House in San Leandro once again celebrated the sublime union of pig and beer on Wednesday, with Sau & Brau IV: Quatros Porcos. By now any rough edges have been smoothed away and the event runs like a well-oiled machine: just the right number of friendly people and plenty of food, once again expertly prepared by Oakland’s own Chop Bar.
Drake’s also featured a dazzling assortment of ales, many of them strong and aged in barrels, like Puckersmith Sour, a hefeweizen aged in cabernet barrels with honey wheat and brett; Bourbon Barrel Drakonic Imperial Stout, Hop Sandwich on Rye (made in conjunction with Faction and Triple Rock), Bourbon-Induced Fowl Play (a collaboration with Henhouse in Petaluma), Spicy Chocolate Alliance (an SF Beer Week collaboration with Beachwood BBQ & Brewing of Long Beach) and many more. I particularly enjoyed the Hop Sandwich with the fatty pork and tasty side dishes, and Bourbon Barrel Aged Drakonic with the “brownie” like dessert named Elvis, made with banana, peanut butter and, of course, bacon.
Social Kitchen and Brewery in San Francisco also celebrated pork and beer at its Valentine’s Day Beer Breakfast. Head Chef Chris Wong’s signature Pork Belly Fried Rice struck just the right notes paired with Social Kitchen Head Brewer Kim Sturdavant’s seasonal peppery/funky Saison du Semillon, made with juice from Semillon grapes. Pork Belly Fried Rice is regularly served at brunch on Saturdays and Sundays. Beware: it is dangerously addictive.