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beer and food pairings

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
i am the manager of a live musiv venue and we are opening a gameroom(darts ,pool etc..) and we would like to offer some finger foods to our patrons . i would like to avoid the run of the mill frozen pizza /hot pockets school of thought.
any suggestions on pairing cheese/fruit platters with beer?
im also considering a roasted red pepper hummus which i have a recipe for.
i havent been in the resturaunt biz for awhile so any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. our 2 tools are a small toaster oven and a microwave
post #2 of 9
Guacamole -- Corona
Sausage in puff pastry + Mustard -- A Lager (St Pauli, Heineken, etc...)
Mini-burgers -- Budweiser
Edamame -- Sapporo
post #3 of 9
Let's take a look at what's already on the board. Very few fruits go well with any beers you're likely to sell -- unless you do a big business in crafted Belgians or the like. If the beer isn't already sweet, fruit makes it taste sour. In fact for your purposes, avoid any sweet food -- unless you're encouraging a coffee service. I'm not sure how you'd seel the idea of "partnering" a particular beer with a particular snack in a live music venue. Let your customers do it for themselves. The whole partnering the right beer with the right fish-stick sandwich thing is too pretentious for your situation. Good drinking game in your own living room though.

Let's get down to basics.

Almost any cheese goes well with beer. Almost anything crisp and salty. Almost anything spicy-hot. Fried + Salty = Beer Sales. Fried + Hot = Beer Sales.

The first place to hunt for the sort of thing you're looking for is in a large super market's freezer case. They have all the frozen mini bagel dogs your heart desires. Along with pretty much else your demographic (presumably fairly young) eats in Huston. You already knew that and are trying to get a little off the beaten track right?

If you want to get crazy, but not too crazy, seek out the ethnic equivalents of the standard junk foods that are meat in bread, or fried whatever. Taquitos (aka flautas), pelmini, egg rolls, fried calamari rings, fried won ton with a thai sweet/chili dipping sauce... Often you can have these made for you by a local restaurant, and heat them on site. I don't know how ethnic or how far afield you want to get. You said nothing about your operation.

Is it even worth suggesting things like nachos, chips and salsa? Presumably you know about them. Anything which goes well with (hot) salsa. The more jalapeno you sell, the more beer. You may want to look for something extremely hot -- something you want to warn your customers about before selling. "Atomic Buffalo Wings" or the like. Ultra spicy gets to be a sort of game, especially for young men. If you think jalapenos mean better beer sales, meat the habanero. El habanero he is your buen amigo.

Hot dogs and/or gourmet sauages -- May be held hot in beer, onions and peppers in a crockpot. They are even good. Of course this would mean managing a bun and mustard service as well. Up to it? Sausage is an area where it's pretty easy to actually do good food and get creative with almost no equipment. If you're the kind of place that sells micro-brews and want to really get nuts, there are a $#@!load of custom makers in Huston. Hmmm. Beer and sausage. We might be on to something.

You should look at the variety of little dishes that are "tapas." Rather than me listing a hundred dishes off the top of my head, you can use teh google. Anything pickled or oil soaked will do. I'm not sure how much pulpo (octopus) en escabeche you can sell, but it does goes well with beer. An easier sell might be almonds fried in oil (on the same day, it doesn't have to be on site), or cheese (cut in appropriate pieces) and bread. Yoy may or may not find anything which tickles your fancy as appropriate for your venue, but you'll learn a lot about what may be profitiably put on a plate in a bar setting.

Pickled anything is good. Big jars of pickled eggs, pigs feet, etc. up on the counter look very cool -- even if you don't sell a lot of eggs, you sell atmosphere.

If you're going to offer crudites of any sort, sell them with dip. Otherwise they're too refreshing and will cut into beer sales.

Many things are available pre-prepared or may be prepared off premises, and held at room temperature before service. The only equipment you need to add is a paper plate and a napkin.

It's important to have things women can eat without wrecking their lipstick or getting their fingers greasy. It's important to have at least a few non-meat items. True even in Texas.

Good luck,
post #4 of 9
Thread Starter 

beer pairing

thanks for the suggestions
post #5 of 9
Expanding on the sausage theme... you could find one of the better local sausage makers and offer them sliced with various crackers and a choice of dipping sauces. Cheese would go well with this also. If you add a small commercial grade deep fryer it would open up a lot of other avenues for food. Quesadillas (sp?) could be done in the toaster oven, use some more exotic fillings like wild game or even local BBQ meat like brisket paired with different cheeses and sour cream and salsa offered in various heat levels. BBQ ribs could be reheated in the toaster oven and served with sauce on the side. Pickled foods go good with beer so the suggestions for that are good. I make a fresh pickle thats super salty and called a beer pickle because they go good with beer, if you want that recipe holler.
post #6 of 9

If you are into the craft brewing scene, you should check out "Extreme Brewing; an enthusiasts guide to brewing craft beer at home"   It is obviously a book about home brewing, but if you check out the last 25 pages or so, it shows some great recipes. Many of these could be applied to a "pub" scene.  examples  beer cheese soup, smoky maple porter bbq sauce, and a bleu cheese and IPA Dipping Sauce.   In looking at these and others, there is plenty of room to "rub a little funk" on it.

Please help out beer by introducing some innovative ideas as well as the crowd favorites.  Wine has been on the forefront for way too long.  In these economic times, customers may be more apt to trying an appropriate beer with menu items.  Once you find your menu including suggestions below the menu items.   Running some of your test items as lower cost specials can give you some feedback on your progress. 

Subscribing to beer magazines and brewing magazines can also give you some more insight.  Remember that Beer is Food.


post #7 of 9

I like wasabi peas or wasabi almonds with cold lagers or lighter ales.


Fruit is tough to match with beer as BDL said but cheese and charcuterie can be a very worthwhile area to explore.


Gourmet corn dogs?  Deep fried ravioli?




Food nourishes my body.  Cooking nourishes my soul.
Food nourishes my body.  Cooking nourishes my soul.
post #8 of 9

..."any suggestions on pairing cheese/fruit platters with beer?"...

Fruit and beer is a big no! Anything else is a yes, well, with a selected Belgian beer of course: we have over 700 species...


Do I read correctly that you are going to offer this as kind of something to nibble for people in the gameroom only?

Many places over here in Belgium keep food around their well maintained snooker and pooltables very simple. Many cafés like to offer a small wooden board, with to share with your friends; 2x2 cm cubes of salami or cubes of Gouda cheese or a mix of both. Mostly you have to make a choice. There will also be only wooden toothpics to eat with, a very tiny bowl of pickled white baby onions and/or baby gurkins and always a small bowl of Dijon style mustard to dip in. Goes down very well with a beer..or two, like a trappist and stuff and even -Lord forgive me- with a coke.

post #9 of 9

Sliders can be a nice food to nibble on.  I was recently working with a chef who was serving sliders on mom 'n pop rolls (they are damnear bullet proof for holding)  with bacon jam, spicy mustard and sharp cheddar. It was a nice 2-3 bite burger. Options are endless and it can turn some entrees into appetizers.  We were thinking about doing a smaller fried green tomato slice, with the bacon jam (adding fresh fig this time to the puree ) and some mustard greens, for a play off the BLT.   I am not sure what level you want to take it.  I would serve this with a nice astringent IPA to wipe the fat off the palate with the hops, an APA might work as well for the BLT.  

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