We’re feeling a little hoppy here at Arizona Vines & Wines and felt like changing gears and talk about craft beer.Here’s a reprint from an article that we ran earlier this year about a series of beers being produced by Sonoran Brewing Company for a select group of local chefs. The beers have been released for Chef Jeremy Pacheco from Lon’s and Chef Eddie Matney from Eddie’s House, but we’re excited that coming up this October we’ll get to try the special fall-focused beer by Chef Lee Hillson from T. Cooks. Then coming up in December, try Chef James Porter’s brew for the holidays. Cheers!
By Thomas Ale Johnson
Have you ever wondered what type of beer your favorite chef would brew? If your favorite chef is Jeremy Pacheco (LON’s at the Hermosa), Eddie Matney (Eddie’s House), Lee Hillson (T. Cook’s at Royal Palms) or James Porter (Petite Maison), then you’re going to find out. Sonoran Brewing Company is creating a new series of limited edition seasonal ‘Chef’s Series’ beers starting this spring.
Each season will showcase a unique collaboration between brewmaster Zach Schroeder and one of these highly respected chefs. Each chef will also provide a special pairing recipe which will accompany every bottle of the beer.
First in the series will be Chef Jeremy Pacheco’s “Seven Wives Saison” featuring local ingredients from a variety of sources. Some of the ingredients are not only local but also personal, such as wheat from Jeremy’s family farm in Marana and fennel from LON’s organic garden.
I had an opportunity to ask chefs Jeremy, Eddie and Lee a few questions. First, I asked them to describe their all-time favorite beer and food pairings.
According to Chef Jeremy Pacheco, “You can’t beat BBQ and beer,” mentioning in particular Sonoran’s Victorian IPA as a tasty partner to grilled meats. He also mentions local favorites for both pair-ability and portability: “SanTan packages in cans, which helps for traveling; the Epicenter, Devil’s Ale or HefeWeizen.” And one final note, “We did a beer braised pork belly once that turned out great. Cooked quinoa with an IPA and served it with BBQ scallops.”
Chef Eddie Matney says, “My favorite beer and food pairing would be a Blue Moon with a thick peppered pastrami sandwich.”
Lee Hillson’s choice: “Fish and chips with a great ale–just saying!!!” Incidentally, Chef Hillson previously worked with Sonoran brewmaster Zach to develop Royal Palms Olde Pale Ale, available at T. Cook’s.
Great food pairs just as well with the right beer as it does with the right wine, so I asked our panel of chefs what meal(s) at their restaurant they prefer with a pint of beer rather than a glass of wine.
Chef Jeremy stays local with his beer pairings, mentioning these selections from his menu:
– Three Little Pigs (BBQ loin, braised cheek, crisp belly, bok choy, Hayden Mills polenta & cider jus) served with SanTan Epicenter Amber Ale
– Braised Beef Short Ribs (roasted baby vegetables, mashed potatoes, red wine jus & gremolata) served with Sonoran Inebriator Stout
-Whole Roasted Yellowtail Snapper (braised fennel, artichoke, peppers, local olives & garden herb salad) served with Four Peaks Hop Knot IPA
-Roasted Half Jidori Chicken (basil mashed potatoes, glazed baby carrots & sweet onion jus) served with Fretzy’s from The Phoenix Ale Brewery
With dishes like ‘Grilled Honey-Spiced Chicken Lollipops’ and ‘Chermoula Roasted Chilean Sea Bass, candied lemon broccolini,’ Chef Eddie Matney has a menu that seems built for a gastropub in a perfect alternate universe. Eddie says, “Our food tends to go well with all kinds of beer because we have so many unique flavors from sweet, spicy, savory and citrus.”
Lee Hillson’s choice, “Za’atar rubbed chicken with sweet chilies and Israeli couscous cake and green harissa with the Dupont Saisons.”
I asked our panel of chefs what they would pair with a classic Saison such as the ubiquitous Saison Dupont.
Jeremy Pacheco explains, “You want fresh bright flavors to pair against the sour, earthy, almost skunky flavor of the Saison,” and suggests roasted fish or scallops with bright flavors. He also recommends Choucroute Garnie as a classic Alsatian pairing, which is “a big pile of sauerkraut and different cuts of pork.” And back to BBQ, “Pulled pork or pork with a sweet/fruity BBQ sauce.”
Eddie Matney suggests a pairing of “poblano chili braised lamb shoulder with an apricot risotto.”
Lee Hillson says, “I think a Saison is a pretty versatile beer to pair with food, so long as it is not too light of a dish.” He suggests anything with a Za’atar spice on it paired with the Saison. “Za’atar is not a hot spice but full of sesame, oregano, basil, thyme, sumac. A great balance with the beer.”
Sonoran Brewing will release their ‘Chef’s Series 2012’ beers as part of a celebration of everything local – farmers, artisans, brewers, chefs, even a local charity. Tapping parties will include a live painting of each label design by local artist Ellison Keomaka. The paintings will be auctioned with proceeds benefitting the Arizona chapter of Waste Not. Historically, Saison emerged as a community beer. With a local collaboration and many local ingredients, Sonoran Brewing Co. is making Saison local to Arizona for the first ‘Chef’s Series’ seasonal offering.
Sonoran Brewing Company