Earlier this week, I sent my husband to the store for some beer to go with dinner.  I told him I needed something acidic and a bit of an edge, not a lager and not dark beer.  Acid and zing is obviously not either, but I am  a woman and cannot help myself when it comes to giving so many details.  On the grill I had a Tri Tip going, and a salad in the kitchen, the beer would need to be strong enough to pair with both red meat and a tangy salad full of kalamata olives, tomatoes, capers and Gorgonzola cheese.

My beer pairing rule of thumb in general is to pair like with like; bold with bold, smooth with smooth, etc.  Strongly flavored dishes such as curry or spicy salads with beers such as IPA’s and Pale Ales.  Desserts and Porters.  Stouts and tomato based dishes or greasy food to cut the fat. This does not always work, but when asking another person to bring a beer to dinner, these are the examples I give.  My husband came back with Elysian Brewing Loser Pale Ale  and Worthy Brewing IPA.  One too many choices right there. So we opened both and got down to dinner.

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Worthy IPA is slightly more bitter at 69 IBU and has a noticeable hop presence, versus the Elysian at 57 IBU.  Light amber gold in color, smelling of pine and citrus, with a very surprising mellow flavor. Fruit forward with a lot of citrus, and a mild bitter finish. A sip of the IPA, followed by a long pull of the Elysian Loser Pale Ale with its flavor base rooted more in grain and tropical fruit was wonderful. Loser is darker and has a heavier mouth feel, sweet notes of mango come through, ending with bready malt.

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One beer needed for its mild citrus and bitter notes to bring out the  flavors of the basil and cilantro chimichurri and Gorgonzola cheese. A second fruity heavier beer enhancing the flavor of the marinated and grilled Tri Tip. Both paired well together, and both enhanced the dinner. And while doing dishes and meal clean up, a frozen Kit Kat will do…along with the left over Loser. Chocolate, wafer and a now heading toward room temperature beer that was not being left on the table, combining to end the evening the right way. With a clean kitchen, happy family, and belly full of goods. Recipes for chimichurri and Tri Tip marinade are below.

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Tri Tip

(24 hours in advance, combine the following ingredients in a gallon sized bag)

2 Tbsp brown sugar

1 Tbsp cumin

1 1/2 Tbsp coriander

1 Tbsp paprika

1/2 tsp ancho chile powder

1 Tbsp smoked salt

1 Tbsp sea salt

2-3 lbs Tri Tip

Close bag, shake it around, then ensure the air is pressed out massage spice blend into meat. Let sit up to 48 hours in the refrigerator. The longer, the better. There are many methods to grill this large piece of meat. I sear both sides for three to four minutes each, then move to the other side of the grill where the burners are not on and let it cook from indirect heat until done to my likeness, which is medium rare.  Slice it very thin, and place over any kind of salad and you will be very happy. It also makes excellent lunch meat and french dip filling.

Chimmichurri

1 large bunch of cilantro

1 large bunch of basil

3 Tbsp white balsamic

2 cloves garlic

1 shallot

zest of 1 lemon or lime

Juice of half lemon or lime

1/2 tsp salt

4 Tbsp olive oil

In a food processor, combine the above ingredients, and taste as you go. You may need to adjust for acidity and salt. Consistency is also another personal preference. I add more olive oil as I go as well. This can be used to top any kind of meat, or as a salad dressing. I tossed my salad in the chimichurri, and then topped the Tri Tip with it as well. It was divine. For an interesting enhancement, try adding some beer (or wine) that you plan to drink with dinner that night.

 

As a purveyor of fine foods and excellent beers, I seek out both in my travels. From scoping out breweries in tiny little Utah towns, to charming cheese shops in Paris, I find morsels of goodness in all parts of the world. However, the Pacific Northwest will always be my home, and I love nothing more than spending an hour here and there sampling what this amazing corner of the earth has to offer.

My husband and I like to say we have a mini farm, and are wannabe urban farmers. Two cats, two dogs, four chickens, a seven year old girl, a stack of rain boots and a garden plot or four. If I could, I’d have an enormous green house, a cow and pig, so that I can really get down to literally making my food for dinner. Until then, we do what we can. We also like to think we are raising our kid right. On Star Wars, rock music and a huge appreciation for good quality food.

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