Apr 13, 2011 4:36 PM
Pairing the Cliffhouse "Chesse Steak Hoagie" with Beer
Choosing the best beverage to compliment your intended meal is not strictly for "Foodies", or "Wine Geeks". As a matter of fact, a good beer has several benefits when paired with food that wine often lacks. As an example, this article will pair the Cliffhouse "Chesse Steak Hoagie" with two very different yet imminently appropriate beer selections.
When pairing this sandwich we should be concerned with two of its primary qualities: spice and fat. By spice we refer to an oil-based peppery heat (pickled cherry peppers), and by fat we refer to the Colby Jack cheese as well as the butter and oil used to grill the onions and the hoagie.
So, what should you drink with a spicy meal? There is good reason many Latin restaurants serve beer (and tequila, for that matter) with their menus. Oil based spices are soluble in alcohol, and are not soluble in water. This means a slightly higher alcohol level in your beer will cut through the heat of your meal quicker and more completely than a low alcohol beer, a sip of water, or even a glass of milk. Additionally, a malty, or slightly sweet beer will soothe and coat your palate, better preparing you for the next bite. If you have not tried it yet, the "Ayinger Celebrator Doppelbock" fills these needs admirably. A classic Bavarian Ale, with over 6% alcohol, complex fruity flavors, and a dark, slightly sweet, malted quality make this beverage ideal with spicy fare.
If you prefer a lighter style of beer (and don't mind a spicier aspect to your meal overall) then a cool fermented lager may be your best choice. Lagers typically have bright acidity, refreshing fruit flavors, and lower alcohol. This style of beer can cut through and cleanse your palate of creamy butter, oil, or in our case, Colby Jack cheese; leaving your palate fresh and ready to experience the "first bite" over and over again. Pinkus' "Organic Ur Pils" from Munster, Germany, is a classic Pilsner-style lager with fresh citrus and apricot fruit, toasty sourdough flavors, a balanced hoppy character, and crisp acidity. A fringe benefit of lagers; you can usually drink a little more.