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Pairs: beer & sashimi

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Imagine: sushi sans sake. We invite you to savor perfectly paired beer with your sashimi; we bet you’ll be saying arigato with a full belly.

Pairings by Bruce Paton

Ikura (salmon roe) & Orval Trappist Ale

There’s no better complement to sea-salt-tinged roe than Orval, with its slight tang from Brettanomyces yeast and hoppy, crisp, Champagnelike finish. The saltiness of the roe also draws out the beer’s notable grain flavors.  ALSO TRY: Russian River Temptation Ale, De Ranke Bitter XX Golden Ale

 

Uni (sea urchin) & Breckenridge Oatmeal Stout

There is no taste as sweet to the sushi lover as a bright, yellow-orange tongue of fresh uni, with its natural ocean briny flavors. The roasted flavors of a benchmark oatmeal stout like Breckenridge’s even out the fish’s salinity while heightening the sweetness to an almost dessertlike quality. The uni, in turn, brightens the beer’s chocolate. ALSO TRY: Samuel Smith Oatmeal Stout, Anderson Valley Barney Flats Oatmeal Stout

 

Maguro (tuna) & Three Floyds Alpha King

Maguro’s beefiness make it the other “red meat” at the sushi bar—and when you dip a juicy slab into the traditional soy sauce-wasabi blend, it’s reminiscent of a bite of prime rib with au jus and horseradish. These characteristics call for a fruity yet balanced pale ale like Alpha Kin; its lightly roasted barley accentuates the mild salt flavor inherent in the fish, while the finishing hops quell the sting of wasabi paste. ALSO TRY: Marin Brewing Mt. Tam Pale Ale, North Coast Ruedrich’s Red Seal Ale

 

Hamachi (yellowtail tuna) & Bear Republic Racer 5

Hamachi is one of the most popular sashimi dishes, and only its incredible depth of flavor tops its luxurious texture. Racer Five, with its assertive hop profile, is a natural partner for the buttery fish. The beer’s citrus hops complement the fish while cutting through its richness, clearing the palate for a second order of one of the best reasons to eat sushi. ALSO TRY: India Pelican Ale, Anchor Liberty

Unagi (eel) & Big Sky Moose Drool

Moose Drool is a contrast in flavors: malty but not too sweet, hoppy but not bitter. Unagi also has flavor contrast between the delicate fish and the sweet sauce brushed on it as it grills. The beer’s light hop flavors tone down the sweetness of the syrupy sauce while the dark malt flavors complement the fish’s sweetness without overpowering the dish. ALSO TRY: North Coast Acme Brown Ale, Lost Coast Downtown Brown

 

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