Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Aarti's Beer Party

I had a great time drinking beer and eating great beer snacks with my friend and fellow beer chick Aarti Sequeira, who happens to be the winner of Season 6 of The Next Food Network Star, and now she has her very own rad show called Aarti Party (She also has an awesome blog at

I've received about a trillion emails asking everything from what glassware we used at the party, to how we came up with the beer pairings for Aarti's delicious and interesting dishes, to what beers to pick if the ones listed on her show aren't available in your area.

The first dish that Aarti made was called Chewda a crunchy Indian snack mix made with cornflakes, peanuts, pumpkin seeds, plantain chips, golden raisins and my favorite fried curry leaves. I thought that a crisp, dry and lighter bodied beer would be best here. A traditional Kolsch is perfect for its depth of flavor and its lightly sweet finish. I chose the Reissdorf Kolsch by Privat-Brauerei Heinrich Reissdorf, a brewery in Cologne, Germany.  Alternatives: Schlafly Kolsch from St. Louis, Missouri; Goose Island Brewing Co. Summertime Ale and Alaskan Summer Ale from Juneau, Alaska.

The next pairing was the Lebanese pita snacks called Arayes.  They are baked with a spicy beef and pine nut filling.  I chose the dry and nutty Deschutes Black Butte Porter from Bend, Oregon.  Don't let the look of this beer fool you.  It pours dark, but it's got a light and bright body, nutty and smoky flavors and a dry finish that works perfectly with this snack.  Also try this recipe with Anchor Brewing Company Porter from San Francisco, CA; Sierra Nevada Porter from Chico, CA and Bell's Brewery Porter from Kalamazoo, Michigan.

Finally, Aarti's Fish Tacos featured pan-seared mahi mahi with coriander and ancho chile powder, with warm corn tortillas, garlic-mint mayo, shredded cabbage, and pickled banana peppers. They were paired with Allagash White Ale) from Portland, Maine.  This beer is brewed with coriander and bitter orange peel that harmonized with the spices in the dish and also providing herbaceousness and citrus! Alternatives: Unibroue Blanche De Chambly from Chambly, Quebec; Alaskan Brewing Co. White Ale from Juneau, Alaska or Blue Moon Belgian White Ale from Coors.

Just like with wine, the right beer glass can make a huge difference in the flavor, aromatics and the mouthfeel of a beer.  Spiegelau makes the beautifully designed glassware that we used at the party.  Their Beer Classics line has a "Stemmed Pilsner Glass" that I use when I'm evaluating almost all beers.

Now I can cross "Get on the Food Network" off my bucket list!  Thank you to all who watched and wrote.  Beer is good!

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