Pickles and beer
I haven’t been writing much about pickles lately, but if anyone has any particular suggestions of pickles to try, please let me know in the comments.
On a recent visit to The Refuge in Menlo Park, my dinner was basically dill pickles with a side order of half a pastrami sandwich. In this case they were paired with a good IPA.
At a visit to the Mikkeler Bar in San Francisco, I paired their very spicy giardiniera with their Tenderloin Pilsner, which I thought was a good combination. As a side note, their giardiniera was quite good, the celery chunks gave it a nice flavor, and it was deliciously oily and peppery (both black pepper and chili flakes). There were slices of bell peppers and hot peppers pickled too, but if I were making it I think I might leave them out. The texture wasn’t as good as the crunchy veggies (cauliflower and carrots). Overall delicious.
So this raises a question though, what is a good beer pairing with pickles? I’m sure it depends on the pickles, but suppose we can go with standard dill cucumber pickles or sauerkraut. Usually I tend to go with a pilsner or lighter IPA. I don’t want anything sweet, and I also don’t want one of the very sour beers which are now quite popular (sour on top of sour would not be good).
This page on the Wegmans website has a nice table of beer pairings, going over many types of beers. It might make a nice printable info graphic. However, they suggest a hefeweizen for pickles. That sounds less than ideal to me. There are some discussions of pairing craft beers with artisanal pickles, in this news article and on this craft beer site. Since pickles and beer are both fermented foods, they can have a lot in common. The craft beer site seems to go a bit overboard, but the news article seems more reasonable, and the Amer-Asian siblings making/selling pickles warms my heart. There seems to be some reinforcement of an IPA, lager, or pilsner for pickles.
Does anyone have any thoughts?