Kale Pairings

Back in Asheville, Shaun stopped at Bruisin’ Ales to pick up a few beers to “age.” After finishing his copy of Brewed Awakening, though, he discovered that some beers are best consumed immediately – namely, those with lots of hops. Thus, it became his mission to create a meal centered around Brooklyn Brewery‘s Sorachi Ace so he could drink it sooner rather than later.

I’m pretty sure I can pin down two of the major influences for this dish. First, at our New Year’s Eve dinner at Posana Cafe, we had a starter salad of kale, pumpkin seeds, and manchego cheese. We both agreed it was the best part of the meal. Then, when we sat down with Chef Matt at The Local last week, Matt told us all about the Devil’s Backbone beer dinner they were hosting and his belief that certain flavors are just better with beer. I could see the wheels in Shaun’s head turning.

The bright, citrus-y flavor of this kale salad really was meant for this beer. Sorachi Ace is a bottle-conditioned, single-hopped beer, meaning simply there’s only one type of hop in it – the Sorachi Ace hop. The brewery calls it “really lemony.” I have to agree. While the salad might have worked well with a bright riesling or sauvignon blanc, the hop complemented this salad more perfectly than wine could.

big salad, little beer.

The salad was kale strips in lemon and garlic vinaigrette with pumpkin seeds, cranberries, chunks of garlic, lemon zest, and Twin Oaks tofu marinated in balsamic vinegar. It was one of my favorite meals of break, partly because I love both kale and salads so much, but also because the beer was truly perfectly paired. I’m generally not a fan of “hoppy” beers that aren’t also on the maltier side; but the bitter, citrus flavor of the Sorachi Ace was delicious alongside the salad. It makes me wonder if, paired with the right foods, I’ll learn to enjoy beers I’d normally avoid.

Dessert came a little later – handfuls of wasabi peas, and then handfuls of Life cereal – two of the things I can never stop eating. Don’t worry, not at the same time though. ‘Twas a long, snowy/icy night with Shaun trying to watch as much Heroes as he could.


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Categories: Beverages, Food, Recipes


Courtney grew up in Reading, PA, and has lived in New York City (where she earned a bachelor's degree at NYU), Prague, Philadelphia, and Charlottesville (where she received a J.D. from UVa Law). Courtney and her new husband will settle in Philadelphia following a six-week Euro-trip extravaganza in September of 2012. Courtney's interests include music, writing, criticism, fitness, travel, cooking, and sports. Please enjoy the blog. LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/courtney-marello/1a/375/b30 Tumblr: http://abarrelofoddsandends.tumblr.com/


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5 Comments on “Kale Pairings”

  1. January 22, 2012 at 2:56 pm #

    Great article! That salad sounds (and looks) absolutely scrumptious,

    • January 22, 2012 at 3:12 pm #

      Thank you! I’m convinced that you can’t go wrong with Kale.

  2. jbockert
    January 22, 2012 at 4:02 pm #

    such a colorful salad, really must try kale.

    • January 22, 2012 at 4:39 pm #

      It’s definitely my favorite winter green (I prefer spinach in the summer). It’s so meaty; plus, it’s a superfood!


  1. Shaun’s Beer Journey | Ryes and 'Shine - February 16, 2012

    […] Brooklyn Sorachi Ace […]

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