OK Suds readers, it’s that time of the week again where we Think Outside the Bocks. It is my goal this week to bring something new to your table, so lets get down to the nitty gritty.
In this edition I’m going to follow a theory that many beer and food connoisseurs subscribe to. This theory is the pairing of flavors in a “like to like” fashion, meaning the flavors are somewhat similar and tend to compliment each other, rather than conflict across the flavor palate. Therefore, the combination I present is: Surf and Turf Fajitas with Goose Island’s Pepe Nero.
The fajitas I feasted upon consisted of steak (the turf, charred first on the grill then added to the rest of the mixture), shrimp (the surf, sautéed), green and red peppers, and onions. The seasoning of the aforementioned mixture can only be described as chipotle, slightly smoky at first with a much more spicy taste at the finish. Some of the “bite” was diminished by fresh cilantro, rounding out the flavor.
The Pepe Nero is an interesting character. Definitely unlike any other beer I’ve ever tasted, it pours very dark almost stout-like with a noticeably lighter head. The taste evokes burnt wood and though this Belgian farmhouse ale is brewed with black peppercorn, the taste is only noticeable at the sip’s finish.
These two compliment each other well. The smokiness of the fajitas is matched by the smokiness of the Pepe. In my opinion, the burnt wood flavor of the Pepe Nero was a little too overpowering to be enjoyed alone, however when experienced in conjunction with the fajitas it is outstanding. I expected that the steak and shrimp would go together well with the beer, but I did not expect the red peppers to stand out so well in the mixture. I’d definitely add these to the list of Pepe Nero’s list of food pairings, along with Mexican inspired seasonings (cumin, ancho chile, etc.) and perhaps lime to contrast.
Thanks again for Thinking Outside the Bocks, please check back next week and feel free to offer a new combination or a twist on a previous entry.
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