10 great beer & wine pairings for summer foods
We chose five favorite Sunset recipes and asked a beer and a wine expert to pick the ideal drink for each--and give additional tips on what to pair with popular types of summer foods. Self-described “publican” Sarah Pederson—who says a great beer and cheese pairing has been knownto make her “feel like turning on the Clash and setting off some fireworks”—owns Portland’s Saraveza craft beer shop and tavern. And Brandon Tebbe, a Master Sommelier, still craves thought-provoking reds (and a flavor challenge like this one) even after a long day guiding wine fans to exciting bottles for Synergy Fine Wines in Denver. Use their spot-on pairings to drink outside your beverage box this summer.
Best wine: Pacific Rim 2011 Wallula Vineyard Biodynamic Riesling (Horse Heaven Hills; $24). Tebbe’s take: “It refreshes your palate after every bite with notes of lemon-lime.”
Recipe: Baja Fried-Fish Tacos
Best wine: Nickel & Nickel 2008 Ponzo Vineyard Zinfandel (Russian River Valley; $53). “The lush blackberries, smoke, and pepper of the Zin are like liquid barbecue sauce.”
Recipe: Applewood-Smoked Spareribs
Best wine: The Infinite Monkey Theorem 2012 Sauvignon Blanc/Sémillon (Grand Valley, Colorado; $20). “It’s about acidity to counter the fried-fat factor and herbs in the slaw.”
Best wine: Arizona Stronghold 2010 “Nachise” Red Rhône Blend (Cochise County, Arizona; $22). “It takes a little alcohol to handle bison, plus smokiness to hook up with the fixings.”
Recipe: The Cowboy Hot Dog
Best wine: Ficklin “Aged 10 Years” Tawny Port (Madera; $28). “What could go with graham crackers, marshmallows, and chocolate? Caramel and toasted nuts, of course (think port).”
Recipe: Ultimate S'more
Sarah Pederson: A fatty piece of meat stands up to high-alcohol beers. If your meat is smoked, go for a malt-based one like a porter.
Brandon Tebbe: Tannins break down the fat in meat and vice versa, so put a wine with hefty tannins, like a Cabernet, with a well-marbled rib-eye.
BT: Put light, crisp wines like Sauvignon Blanc with lighter, flakier fish and delicate shellfish like oysters; fuller-bodied, richer whites (Chardonnay) with fleshier fish and shellfish (lobster); light reds like Pinot Noir with meaty tuna, salmon, and swordfish; and bubbles with raw fish—they refresh your palate after every bite of crudo or sushi.
BT: Acidity is the key. It cleanses the palate for the next bite. Try Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Pinot Gris, dry rosé, or bubbles.
BT: Avoid high-octane wines. The alcohol and heat accentuate each other. Go for lower-alcohol wines with generous fruit.
BT: Make sure your wine is sweeter than your dessert.