I don't put much thought into pairing beer with food. Maybe I should, but while thinking about local culinary treats, its worth contemplating about what beers might best go with them.
Crabs are an obvious local favorite, and at least when doing them pick-and-eat style, the pairing is simple enough. You need a more mild beer that does just a mild scrubbing job and doesn't overpower the crab's delicate flavors that are already contrasted with the heat emanating from the various Old Bay influenced seasoning. Old school offering National Bohemian is an obvious, local choice. Same with a Clipper City Pale, or McHenry Lager, or a Yuengling, and so on and so on.
Whats more interesting is considering what to pair with pit beef. What do you think?
Its an interesting preparation of meat, fairly cooked on the outside with some nice caramelization and charring going on, while inside it can get moderately pink and raw. Its not the most complex combination of flavors around, even with some horseradish or BBQ or whatever inspired toppings (at least when done sandwich-style) come to mind.
At first glance something dark and roasty and robust is considered. A thick, chocolatey, or coffee-ish or toffee-like stout or porter perhaps? No, maybe not, those are more of a sipping beer. They're casual and so is the meal, but it doesn't seem quite right.
More or less a hop-head, I find a refreshing west coast IPA can go with almost anything, but even here, it might be just a bit overpowering and not in harmony with the pit beef.
Perhaps more of an east coast pale ale or IPA is in order, with more subdued hops, a stronger, roastier malt background providing some balance and pep without being overbearing. Maybe even a British-styled bitter, hopefully casked with its more delicate carbonation and warmer ambient temperature. Its something you can drink all day and not feel bad about.
Or perhaps something more readily available and macro: a Bass, a Harp, a Smithwicks?
I really don't know. What are your thoughts? Any out of left field Belgian offerings come to mind?
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