San Diego's Best Brunch + Craft Beer

My top brunch in San Diego? This time on The Flavor Project, it's TWO of the best breakfast sandwiches I've ever had! From Sea & Smoke in Del Mar, California: On the left, Croque-Ma Daaaamn, with brioche, cured ham, poached egg, Swiss & goat cheese, and mornay. On the right, Cinnamon Roll Sandwich with cured ham, bacon, egg, cheddar, and maple syrup. What craft beer(s) go with these decadent brunch delights? 

For the Croque, Westmalle Tripel would be my pick. It has spiciness & fruity esters from the Belgian yeast that will play off the cured ham and tanginess of goat cheese, and the sweetness of Brioche bread will match the candied sugar of the beer. The beer finishes dry, so it helps cut throughout the richness of the mornay sauce.

For the cinnamon roll sandwich, Anchor Old Foghorn will be perfect. This English-Style Barleywine. It’s not overly hopped, the sweetness will be matched, and the malt will have toffee and caramel notes to match the bacon and maple syrup. There is enough roastiness and nuttiness to work with the bacon and cheddar.
— Dr. Bill, Master Pairings
Posted on July 27, 2014 .

Seafood + Craft Beer

What craft beer goes with fish? This time on The Flavor Project, we have Hawaiian Butterfish with grilled pineapple and mango salsa, shiitakes, baby bok chou, almond rice, & lemon beurre blanc. What is the perfect craft beer to match this coastal dish?

I would suggest Lost Abbey Witches Wit, a 4.8% wheat beer with big notes of grapefruit zest, orange peel, and coriander. The tartness from the wheat will cut the richness of this delicious fish and the beurre blanc. The citrus notes will intermingle nicely with the pineapple and mango salsa, while the coriander will dance with the shiitakes & bok choy!
— Dr. Bill, Master Pairings
Posted on July 23, 2014 .

Salad + Craft Beer

How do you pair a salad with Craft beer? The Flavor Project comes this week from Jake's Grill in Portland, Oregon! Their roasted organic beet salad is delicious with grapefruit wedges, goat cheese, arugula, & balsamic syrup. What craft beer can deal with all of these flavors?

I would recommend Avery White Rascal, a Belgian-style Wit that has a little more hop influence than your average Belgian. The tartness from the wheat and the citrus will match the acidity in the balsamic and the grapefruit wedges and yet will complement the peppery notes of the arugula with the Belgian yeast.
— Dr. Bill, Master Pairings
Posted on July 22, 2014 .

Crabcake + Craft Beer

Today's dish comes from Sbicca Del Mar, and their delicious Jumbo Lump Crabcake with mustard remoulade & micro green herb salad. What craft beer do you pair with this classic?

Yum! The pairing that I recommend would be a Belgian style Golden ale, Lost Abbey Inferno comes to mind. 8.5% dry golden ale allowing the rich fattiness of the crab to shine and will handle any herbs and spices in the crab cake due to the complexity of the Belgian yeast.
— Dr. Bill, Master Pairings
Posted on July 21, 2014 .

Clams + Craft Beer

This time on The Flavor Project, clam chowder with caramelized onions, bacon, & cheddar biscuits. From Ironside Fish & Oyster in Little Italy, San Diego. What craft beer goes best with this delicious soup?

I would pair this with North Coast Old No. 38 Stout. I first discovered this 5.4% stout at the GABF in 1992 when it won the Silver Medal in the dry stout category. It’s low ABV won’t overwhelm the chowder like so many bigger stouts would. The bitter espresso notes will cut through the creamy richness and the roasted malts will match the caramelized onions, bacon, and cheddar biscuits beautifully.
— Dr. Bill, Master Pairings
Posted on July 21, 2014 .

Pina Colada + Craft Beer?! YES.

Why, yes! When it's Pina Colada Bread Pudding. This time on The Flavor Project, it's an entry from one of our FAVORITE food writers, Sophia of @nyfoodgasm. This delicious entry, suitable for breakfast, brunch, or dessert, is made with challah, caramelized pineapple, and coconut. What craft beer will pair best?

Sophia, I would love to try this with Allagash Curieux, a Belgian triple aged 8 weeks in Jim Beam whiskey barrels. It has wonderful vanilla and coconut notes from the barrel which will complement the coconut and the sweetness of the bread pudding. The triple is delicate enough to overwhelm the dessert.
— Dr. Bill, Master Pairings
Posted on July 3, 2014 .

The Reuben + Craft Beer

One of my favorite sandwiches on Earth! From Rogue Ale House in Portland, this oozy-gooey Reuben is mouthwatering and tummy-filling. What craft beer can take on this amazing sandwich?

A Reuben will pair amazingly with a brown ale. Pumpernickel bread will bring out the nuttiness of the malt and the roasted grains will accommodate the sharpness of the sauerkraut. I would suggest Alesmith Nautical Nut Brown Ale.
— Dr. Bill, Master Pairings
Posted on July 1, 2014 .

Bacon + Craft Beer

This time on The Flavor Project, Bacon-wrapped dates stuffed with almonds & balsamic syrup, from Watermarc restaurant in Laguna Beach, California. What craft beer goes best with this decadent appetizer?

I would recommend AleSmith Grand Cru, a delicious 10.6% Belgian dark strong ale. The beer has beautiful winter fruit notes that will harmonize perfectly with the date and balsamic syrup, caramel and toffee notes from the beer will envelope the almonds and the roasted grains are a slam dunk with the bacon!
— Dr. Bill, Master Pairings
Posted on June 29, 2014 .

Chicken, Waffles + Craft Beer

Oh my yes. This time on The Flavor Project, Fried Chicken on buttermilk waffle with whipped butter and jalapeño honey, from Acme Southern Kitchen in downtown San Diego. What craft beer goes best with this Southern specialty?

Russian River Pliny the Elder would be my choice! Any nice DIPA (Double IPA) would work just as well, I just really love Pliny! The bitterness of the beer will calm the sweetness of the honey yet accentuate the heat of the jalapeño.
— Dr. Bill, Master Pairings
Posted on June 23, 2014 .

Pizza + Craft Beer

This entry comes from Blind Lady Ale House in San Diego, California! Their famous Egg & Bacon Pizza: House-made bacon, soft egg, swiss chard, caramelized onion, Pecorino Romano, Fontina, tomato sauce, & truffle oil. Divine! What will Dr. Bill pair with this decadent treat?

What a delicious pizza! The perfect pairing would be Route des Espices from Dieu du Ciel, a great craft brewery in Montreal. The beer is a 5% Rye Ale brewed with black and green peppercorns.
— Dr. Bill, Master Pairings
Posted on June 16, 2014 .

Sushi + Craft Beer

This week it's SUSHI from the awesome food truck The Sushi Bus. What craft beer will Bill pair with their Mrs. Howell (shrimp tempura, spicy tuna inside, albacore, avocado, jalapeño & citrus soy outside) & The Local (crab, cucumber inside & yellowtail, avocado, green onion, citrus soy outside)? 

Even though these are two distinctive rolls, the beauty of sushi is the heat from the wasabi and the Asian spices are perfectly paired with a west coast IPA! The bitterness from the hops will not only cut through the richness of the fish but accentuate the heat for you wasabi lovers. I would choose Stone Go To IPA, 4.5%, 65 IBU session IPA packed full of citrus, pine, and tropical notes.
— Dr. Bill, Master Pairings
Posted on May 13, 2014 .

Chocolate + Craft Beer

This week on The Flavor Project: Flourless Chocolate Cake with mousse, and sauces of mango, raspberry, & dark chocolate from Paon in Carlsbad, California. What craft beer would pair best with this decadent dessert? Dr. Bill, what is your pick?

Of course, almost any stout or porter will go well with this dish, but I prefer to excite your palate. Try Stone Smoked Porter with Chipotle. It will have the roasted malt notes of coffee and chocolate to perfectly match this decadent dessert, then add in a subtle smokiness and mild heat to excite and refresh your palate in between each bite. Cheers!
— Dr. Bill, Master Pairings
Posted on April 30, 2014 .

Korean + Craft Beer

This week it's the deliciously famous Monk's Stone Pot from East Village Asian Diner: a superheated stone pot filled with rice (it gets crispy as it cooks!) spinach, zucchini, mushrooms, bean sprouts, bamboo shoots, over-easy egg, & your choice of meat or tofu (I got rib eye). And don't forget to add the Kimchi & Sriracha! What craft beer will Dr. Bill pair this week??

Great dish! Perfectly paired with AleSmith My Bloody Valentine a 6.66% amber ale. The amber malt sweetness and caramelized notes will match any protein you choose & compliment the mushrooms & bamboo shoots. The piney dankness of the hops will handle the Sriracha & kimchi.
— Dr. Bill, Master Pairings
Posted on April 30, 2014 .

Beef Cheek + Craft Beer

This week The Flavor Project comes from Solace & the Moonlight Lounge in Encinitas, California! Braised grass-fed Beef Cheek Hash with placed eggs & Ancho-chili hollandaise. SO GOOD. What craft beer goes best with this Dr. Bill? 

I like nothing better than a great hash for breakfast, especially before a day of drinking great craft beer! My pairing is Arrogant Bastard Ale, 7.2% ABV, perfect balance of aggressive hops and malts. The malt works complimenting the beef cheeks & ancho chili hollandaise, the spiciness is accentuated by the hops.
— Dr. Bill, Master Pairings
Posted on April 26, 2014 .

Charcuterie + Craft Beer

This week's dose of The Flavor Project comes from Seven Sows Bourbon & Larder in Asheville, NC! I enjoyed their Charcuterie & Pickle Board, and would love to know what craft beer Dr. Bill would pair with these unique flavors...

Here's the description: Pork terrine, chicken liver mousse, Colonel Newsom's aged ham (think proscuitto), buttermilk cheese, grapefruit chutney, mustard aioli, and pickled beans, beets, & veggies. 

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Ah charcuterie, my favorite! My pairing would be Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier Urbock, an amazing smoked beer from the town of Bamberg in Bavaria, Germany. The beer is amazing with anything pig, it literally smells like bacon! The natural sweetness in this German Lager will accommodate all the rich fattiness of the charcuterie and the smokiness of the beer will work well with the sharp acidity from the pickled veggies.
— Dr. Bill, Master Pairings
Posted on February 28, 2014 .

Ahi Tuna + Craft Beer

In SoCal, Ahi tuna reigns supreme. From poke to wraps to sushi, California residents swoon for this sea creature. One of my favorite examples of a successful Ahi dish is at Pacifica Del Mar, overlooking the gorgeous Pacific in Del Mar, California. Sitting out on the deck eating delicious food with sunshine and an ocean breeze is an experience I highly suggest. 

What will Dr. Bill pair with my amazing Pacifica lunch? Here's the details of the dish: Seared Ahi with Udon noodles, sweet peppers, carrots, pea shoots & ginger-scallion vinaigrette. 

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Bill's response: 

This dish is calling for an amazing Belgian Saison and I’m pairing it with Dupont Avec les Bon Voeux! At 9.5%, it can hold up to the spiciness yet the fruit esters from the Belgian yeast strain, coriander, and citrus (primarily lemon) will accommodate the Asian influence in the dish.
— Dr. Bill, Master Pairings
Posted on February 27, 2014 .

Tacos + Craft Beer

Next up on The Flavor Project! Dr. Bill and I have lunch at Encinitas Mexican hotspot, El Callejon. What craft beers will he pair with our perfect SoCal lunch: fresh salsa & chips, Carne Asada & Carnitas Tacos with cilantro, onion, & lime, and Pescado Veracruz with Sea Bass?

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Dr. Bill's response:

For a great salsa, nothing beats a San Diego Pale Ale (IPA). Green Flash West Coast IPA is a great choice. The bitterness from the hops calms the heat on the front and the back palate leaving a lingering burn at mid-palate, so you chile heads won’t be disappointed.
Arrogant Bastard is my choice for Carne Asada & Carnitas tacos. The aggressive strong ale is actually quite well balanced with big hops are like a squeeze of lime over these tacos, and the caramel notes from the malt compliments the pork & beef, yet still allow the tortillas to shine.
The Sea Bass with Chipotle sauce is perfect with Stone Sublimely Self Righteous Black IPA. The roasted malts add a smokiness to the chipotle sauce and a sweetness to the corn, but doesn’t hide the fish.
— "Dr. Bill", Master Pairings
Posted on February 27, 2014 .

Chinese + Craft Beer

The Flavor Project is on! Who doesn't love Chinese food?? Salty & satisfying, Chinese covers my cravings and leaves me thirsty for Craft beer. What will Dr. Bill pair with 2 of my favorite foods: Salt-crusted Edamame and Hot & Sour Soup with Tofu & Chicken from PF Changs/Pei Wei?

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Dr. Bill's/Masterpairings response:

Edamame is the perfect pairing for a great German Hefeweizen. Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier would be my choice! Did you know that edamame is full of vitamins B1 & C, which help the liver process alcohol. Hefeweizen is also a perfect pairing for your Hot & Sour Soup. Great carbonation refreshes the palate from the spices and the sweetness will cool the heat from the soup, yet the clove notes from yeasty esters in the beer will compliment the flavor profile.
— "Dr. Bill", Master Pairings

See you next time on The Flavor Project!

Posted on February 27, 2014 .