Thinking Outside the Bocks: Food and Beer

Editor’s Note: Let’s all give a warm welcome to Mike Lulich, who will be helping us bring you the best in eating and drinking, together. This feature will run every weekend.

Ladies, gentlemen, Suds readers of all ages, welcome to my very first installment of MWBC’s beer and food pairings. I’d like to begin with a simple caveat before we get down to the meat and potatoes (and beer) of this section. I am in no way a food or beer expert, let alone an expert in the way the two of them should be enjoyed in conjunction. However, I believe that enjoying the way food and beer compliment each other is one of life’s simpler pleasures. Therefore, I hope to incorporate orthodox rules of food/beer pairings with my own concoctions to better help you take your palate to the next echelon. Now on to business…

As many of you may know, college football bowl season is upon us. To help ring in the New Year whilst watching my Alma Mater trounce TCU in the Rose Bowl, I present to you the simple cheeseburger and IPA combination. I know what you’re thinking, “I didn’t need to read a beer drinking website to know that beer and burgers are delicious together.” And you’re probably right. However, the burger can be taken many different directions (type of meat, cheese, condiment etc.), and may therefore, compound the direction you go in your beer selection.

For the sake of argument, many beer-drinking enthusiasts believe that beer and food should have similar tastes (i.e. bitter and bitter, sweet and sweet) and in many cases, I agree. Nonetheless, I challenge you to pair a goat cheese and prosciutto topped burger (à la Tribes Alehouse in Mokena, IL.) with an IPA or even double IPA. The pungent and tangy goat cheese clashes excellently with the hoppy bitterness of a Two Brother’s Bitter End. Remember that pairing “like and like” is merely a guideline, and by no means a rule set in stone. Though a standard cheeseburger with sharp cheddar and wheat ale (think, Goose Island 312) is a great standby, I dare you to think outside the bock(s) and get back to me with your concoction of say, pepper jack and porter. Heck, that’s what the comment section is for…

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