Beer pairings aren't the newest movement on the culinary scene, but how about an entire menu full of pairings -- dessert included -- numbering some sixty all told?
That's how many matches made in heaven Baker St. Pub & Grill has put together for diners interested in suds selected specifically for their mini-burgers (Fat Tire, as it happens), Caesar salad (Chimay) or cobbler (Stella Artois).
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"Beers can do one of two things. They can complement the dish or they can contrast the dish," says Baker St. corporate chef David Spirito, who curated the extensive pairing menu. He cites the "clean, crisp" Odell's 90 Shilling Ale, for example, as a natural complement to the pub chain's fish & chips and the malty, "hidden sweetness" of Left Hand's Sawtooth Ale as a nice contrast to the restaurant's flavor-laden beef fajitas.
The pub chain, which has four Colorado locations, features a number of other Colorado-specific pairings as well. Fat Tire, described by Spirito as "a great beer for food," shows up four times, Blue Moon five. Herman Joseph's Private Reserve, made by Coors subsidiary, AC Golden, is suggested for the restaurant's steak and shrimp entree.
Spirito likes pairing beer with food off the clock as well as on. His favorite combo -- not on Baker St.'s menu -- is a scoop of ice cream and a Young's Double Chocolate Stout. "It's more or less an adult root beer float with a kick," he says.
The beer pairing menu launched last month. The Houston-based Baker St. Pub & Grill has restaurants in the Denver Tech Center, Lakewood, Westminster and Boulder.