There is so much beer to drink in San Diego. With all of those choices to sit back and sip on, it’s awesome to know we also have many diverse restaurants with great dishes around town to pair perfectly with our brews.
To get in the spirit of San Diego Beer Week (Nov. 6-15), here are 10 of our top picks for local restaurant dishes to pair with San Diego’s finest craft beers. They’re guaranteed to go better together than peanut butter and jelly... or at least come in a close second.
Culture Brewing Sour Medley
Pair with: Vanilla bean crème brulee from Extraordinary Desserts (1430 Union St., Little Italy)
The sweetness of a crème brulee can be overwhelming, so we cut it with a little bit of sweet-sour from Culture Brewing. The tart Berliner Weiss beer with notes of cherry and apple is sweet enough to go with, but sour enough to lessen the load of that creamy-aspect on the palate.
Ale Smith Nut Brown Ale
Pair with: Duck fat truffle fries from Smoking Goat (3408 30th St. North Park)
The malty, smooth and light bitterness qualities of this Alesmith classic pair great with the fatty, roasted duck meat. The deceptively dark color of the beer may appear heavy in looks, but it is a very crisp, medium-bodied brew. Look at it like it’s the gravy to top off your dish.
Pizza Port Brewing Swamis IPA
Pair with: Carnitas tacos from Carnitas Snack Shack (2632 University Ave., North Park)
The floral, hop-filled and quite refreshing IPA hits the spot on a sunshine-y day. It pairs wonderfully with some seasoned carnitas, especially with some fire-roasted salsa, cheese and tortilla in the mix. It’s the perfect San Diego beer for the quintessential San Diego food staple: tacos.
Lost Abbey/New Belgium collaboration, Mo’ Betta Bretta
Pair with: Caja China lamb-asado with stewed heirloom beans, pan fried potatoes and garlic & herb salsa verde from Bracero Cocina (1490 Kettner Blvd., Little Italy)
The faint yet apparent bread-y quality of the Brett-forward beer brings out the earthy tones that exist within the decadent lamb entree. The flavors of pan-fried potatoes will also neutralize the hoppiness and enhances the entire palate.
Ballast Point Victory at Sea Imperial Porter
Pair with: Chocolate maple bacon donut from Nomad Donuts (4504 30th St., University Heights)
The savory-sweet, chocolatey crafted donut from Nomad enhances the roast-y quality of Victory at Sea, which is made with Cafe Calabria coffee beans. Coffee and donuts, it’s a no-brainer.
Mother Earth Bookoo IPA
Pair with: “Rasta Roll” with spicy tuna, cucumber, topped with tuna, avocado, lemon, tobiko, kizami nori, hemp seeds, micro greens and finished with soy-yuzu from The Joint (4902 Newport Ave., Ocean Beach)
The piney, mosaic-based Mother Earth beer is more Pale Ale in drinkability than it is an IPA. It has a substantial, but not overwhelming, hoppy bitterness to pair with a California-infused sushi roll. The avocado, lemony-tuna dish compliments the pineapple-flavor found in Bookoo to a tee.
Rip Current Marine Layer Hefeweizen
Pair with: Steamed mussels with green coconut curry or garlic lemon flavor from Wonderland Ocean Pub (5083 Santa Monica Ave., Ocean Beach)
The typically clove-y, cloudy beer has flavors of toast and banana that deserve to be mixed with fresh seafood. This brew should cleanse your palate nicely in between fishy bites so that you can really taste the green coconut curry or lemon garlic flavor of the mussels.
Alpine/Green Flash collaboration, Hand Shake IPA
Pair with: Nino espinosa pizza with mushrooms, spinach and plum tomatoes from Sicilian Thing (4046 30th St., North Park)
The crunchy, one-of-a-kind crust topped with fresh sauce, cheese and fresh veggies from Sicilian Thing, served with the newest Alpine and Green Flash collaboration beer, Hand Shake IPA, just works. The fragrant, tropical and bitter-sweet aspects shine through this nontraditional Alpine beer in that it is less hop-forward than we’re used to.
Pair with: Karmic Kale salad with gold beets, carrots, red bell pepper, hemp seeds and tahini garlic dressing from Peace Pies (4230 Voltaire St., Ocean Beach)
Peace Pies makes a decadent kale salad filled with rich veggies that Stone’s Saison, with its citrus, floral flavors compliments well. The West Coast-meets-farm-house style ale is refreshing and mirrors the fresh salad. The bold flavor of the beets and peppers alone are enough to make this duo a go-to.
Green Flash Hop Head Red American Amber/Red Ale
Pair with: Spicy mac-and-cheese with habanero, chipotle and passila peppers from Toronado (4026 30th St., North Park)
Toronado’s spicy mac-and-cheese requires a well-balanced, complex, malty and slightly-bitter beer. Insert Green Flash Hop Head Red. It works because the Amber is not too heavy on the palate like an IPA might be. It keeps a balance between the creaminess of the cheese, with it’s caramel-y malts and woody finish.