A sweet and spicy New Year's Eve beer pairing

Where: Yard House, Mission Valley Mall, 1640 Camino del Rio North, San Diego

Bites: Poke nachos ($12.95; during happy hour, 3 to 6 p.m. Monday-Friday, $8).

Beer: 3 Degrees of Celebration ($9.99 for a 22-ounce bottle, $7.50 for a 12-ounce pour, 10.5 percent alcohol by volume), a triple IPA made by Green Flash Brewing.

Why it works: Yard House's poke nachos are a meal masquerading as an appetizer. Executive Chef Dan Castillo serves up a big plate of crispy wontons loaded with sushi-grade ahi, avocado, cilantro and serrano peppers, garnished with nori, green onions and sesame seeds, and splashed with sweet soy, white truffle sauce and sriracha aioli. 3 Degrees is also multi-faceted, with three hops (Centennial, El Dorado and Mosaic) touching all the bases - citrus, pine, herb garden. A crackling bitterness (75 International Bittering Units) is tempered by toasty malts and ample alcohol.

Comment: Poke nachos overflow with ingredients, but pay attention to the serrano peppers. Their heat brings out 3 Degrees' sweet side.

Beer geek confidential: 3 Degrees is Yard House's 20th anniversary beer. Among the Yard House staff who helped brew this ale was Ben Benzon, the Mission Valley House's general manager. "I got malt on my shoes," he said, grinning.
Peter Rowe has been covering beer for 20 years. You can reach him at (619) 293-1227 or peter.rowe@sduniontribune.com.

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