May 13, 2011

Adding Beer to JuxtaPalate's Spring AZRW Picks

Who is this JuxtaPalate (aka Ty Largo) guy and why should I care what he thinks?
He's a gouramand, an epicurean, a guy who like the finer things and writes about it. He's patterned a  career out of putting his finger on the pulse of things and... bah.

I think he calls himself a Restaurant Publicist. He's a Food and Beverage expert in my opinion.

He's a friend of mine and his recommendations always demand my attention. He has conflicts of interest in his opinions, but he will always tell you what they are.
Moment of honestly: I work with Citizen Public House. Beckett’s Table and Arizona Restaurant Week. They rock, but you already knew that.
Here are his Spring AZRW picks and my beer recommendations based on each restaurant's beer list.
After the Jump

Citizen Public House
JuxtaPalate Recommends
1st: Original Chopped Salad
2nd: Pork sirloin w/ sweet potato puree, chevre, braised figs, apple jus
3rd: Anything really. They’re all terrific.
Rob's Beer Selections

1st: Though there is smoked salmon in the Chopped Salad and a number of other rich flavors (for a salad), resist the temptation to plow through this with a Stone Smoke Porter (a natch for smoked salmon).  Let the salad be the star and reach for a Four Peaks 8th Street Ale. The slightly bitter and mineral crispness will be a perfect palate cleanser and will accentuate the bitter arugula
2nd:  The sweet side dishes would go wonderfully with an estery dubbel like Chimay Premiere (Red) which Citizen unfortunately does not have. They do, however have Eggenberg Urbock, which has plummy caramel sweetness and considerable alcohol heft. The adage is- you can't really go wrong with pork and a malty German beer. A Four Peaks Kilt Lifter would be the lighter touch.
3rd: Citizen and Ty left us hanging on this one since the menu lists it as a TBA.

Citizen Public House Beer Menu

Zinc Bistro
JuxtaPalate Recommends

1st: Smoked Salmon Pissaladiere
2nd: Porkloin, Cauliflower “Risotto”, Cherry Brussel Spouts
3rd: Beignets, Blackberry Coulis, Milk jam, Vanilla whip Cream
Rob's Beer selections

1st: Where is that smoked porter now? Or a crisp saison for that matter. Given the limited choices here, you're going to have to opt for something that just stays out of the way. Beer's carbonation will refresh your tongue and make each taste new. Go with a draft Pilsner Urquell because, in the keg, you know it's been treated well.
2nd: Ask for the Chimay Premiere (Red) dubbel. Nice caramel malts for the pork, not too heavy to trample over he risotto, dark fruit esters to match the cherry. Bitter Brussels sprouts will cut through the beer's residual sweetness.
3rd: Are you a coffee drinker? If so, the Guinness Stout's roasted malts will carry the Beignets and Blackberry Coulis. Any left over dubbel from course 2 will also work.

Zink Bistro Beer Menu

Beckett's Table

JuxtaPalate Recommends
1st: Super creamy grits n schreiner’s sausage trio: whole grain mustard, arugula, smoked onions
2nd: Roasted red pepper “cannelloni”: ratatouille, almond puree
3rd: Award winning fig and pecan pie: cream cheese citrus zest ice cream
4th: (YES an addition!) Each SpringARW guest will leave with a signature bag of Beckett’s Table Pumpkin Seed Brittle and a voucher good for a free dessert on their next visit

Rob's Beer Selections

First I need to admonish Becketts for not putting their beer menu on their website. I seem to recall seeing it there in the past. Beers are not listed on the spring menu.  We know that Becketts does beer dinners, most recently they did a Hop Knot beer can chicken dinner.
1st: You're going to understand why Kilt Lifter is Four Peaks' flagship beer. It's malty backbone works with so many dishes and flavors. The unconventional choice is a Strongbow Cider which works great with sausages with a high percentage of pork or veal. it also won't step all over the grits. Another interesting pairing would be the St Peters Porter. Sausages also have a strong English tradition and a porter is a characterful English style. The caveat is that St. Peter's Porter has a notable diacetyl off flavor that gives it a buttery finish. If that's not objectionable- hey, you've got butter for your grits.
2nd: I'm going to take a Mulligan here because I can't decide what the dominant flavor here is going to be. I'd opt for a Steelhead Pale simply because I haven't had one in awhile. 
3rd: Figs. Pecans. Kilt Lifter.


JuxtaPalate Recommends
1st: Crispy Squid: Cannellini Bean Salad, Preserved Lemon, Parsley, Caper Berries, Chili Oil
2nd: Rotin: White Wine Braised Pork Sugo, Fennel Pollen, Stagionato
3rd: Passion Fruit & Coconut: Almond Dacquoise, Passion Fruit Anglaise, Coconut Sorbet, Meringue Sheets

Rob's Beer Selections

1st: You might be tempted to spring for the Estrella Damm. It's hard for me to ask you to pay for such a pretentious beer. One that ranks below so many other witbiers that are widely available (Hoegaarden even). If you go this route, let the 750ml carry you through to the next course. Get the Bavik Pilsner. It's the right choice for fried foods and the crisp noble hops will accentuate the lemon and chili oil.
2nd: Did you pop for the Inedit? No? Good. If my reading of this is correct, Pork Sugo is a comfort stew and the cheese is nutty and salty. How's it taste with the Pilsner?  Keep going?  If the pork cries out for a malt forward caramel infustion, there's always that pervasive local Scottish style flagship beer (see everywhere). It really depends on how much the white wine carries this dish (or doesn't).
3rd: You're going to have to get the server's opinion on the intensity level of the flavors going on here. With almond and Coconut you are inclined to think, "Where is the Oatmeal or Dry Irish Stout? Where is the chocolate-y porter?" These are not beer styles that NOCA carries. If the fruit flavor is predominant, the Bornem Abbey Tripel with it's orange citrus flavors is the right call. High carbonation and finishing bitterness will cut through the dessert's sweetness.

Atlas Bistro

JuxtaPalate Recommends
No menu available, but just make that rezzo. Trust me.
Rob's Beer Selections

Arizona Wines is the adjacent store front to Atlas Bistro. It has 3 doors of bottled craft and imported beers. It has a number of draft beers. A recent visit recalls bottles of Firestone Walker Reserve Porter, Firestone Walker 14th Anniversary, Dogfish Head My Antonia, Bells Hopslam, Abby St Martin Dubbel, Four Peaks Hop Knot and Odells IPA. 

And here's my moment of honesty. Ty is my friend and we have worked together on the Arizona Beer Week projects through my association with the Arizona Craft Brewers Guild.

Care to see which AZRW restaurants publish their beer menus?

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