- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 13, 2008

You may have heard of beer and food pairings at upscale French and Belgian restaurants, but beer has never been the domain of the fancy or foreign.

A Bud is as American as baseball and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, right?

To this end, Rick Sellers, beer director at the beer magazine Draft (www.draftmag.com) recently paired all-American favorites such as Philly cheese steak and turkey club sandwiches with various beers. The magazine’s July/August issue features more information on beer-sandwich pairings.

“We’re bringing it back to a basic level. A level that’s accessible to everyone,” Mr. Sellers says. “Everyone has had a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, and many people have had a beer. Why not try them together?”

He matched peanut butter and jelly with porter, specifically Sierra Nevada Porter (alternatively Deschutes Black Butte Porter or Marin Point Reyes Porter) because, he says, the porter has roasted qualities that mesh nicely with the butteriness of the sandwich.

He recommends a dark jam such as blackberry or cherry for this “grown-up snack experience.”

Other pairings include turkey club with Anchor Steam (alternatively Flying Dog Old Scratch Amber Lager or Orlio Organic Common Ale) and Philly cheese steak with Avery India Pale Ale (alternatively Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA or Russian River Blind Pig IPA).

Mr. Sellers’ own favorite is a meatball sandwich with Saison Dupont (alternatively North Coast La Merle and Ommegang Hennepin). The Saison, a Belgian ale, has a light, citrusy yeast flavor that helps draw out herbal accents in the meatballs and tomato sauce, he says. And it has a happy ending.

“It’s a palate-cleansing beer,” Mr. Sellers says. “It helps rinse out the mouth of the fattiness of the meatballs.”

In other words, beers can add complexity and flavor to the sandwich on the one hand as well as cleansing the palate on the other.

Either way, you can say bon - brewski - appetit.

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