Food and Beer Pairings: Elliott Bay Brewery and Pub

This is the first of what I hope will become a series of posts featuring food and beer pairing suggestions at our local brewpubs and beer bars. As Paul “Fruit Trees” Orchard (NW Beer Guide) has noted before, we bloggers have the best of intentions to start a series of this, or a series of that, but often lapse and fail after a few posts.

So forgive me in advance if these posts are infrequent or lapsing. But my intention is good. I really dig this new trend of pairing food with beer at fine restaurants so I want to have some fun pairing different beers (and sometimes hard ciders), with any food that I come across, and share what I think are the best of the best pairings we try.

Elliott Bay Beers lined up for the food pairings

For the first outing, Kendall and I were lucky enough to have dinner plans with our friends Dan and Nancy at the Elliott Bay Brewery and Pub in West Seattle. This being our local brewpub, it was an easy target because we’ve already tried most everything on the menu. But we haven’t tried the dishes with multiple beers for the sole purpose of finding the best pairing for each plate.

Being that Dan and Nancy are also foodies and beer geeks, we had a good foursome with which to start.  So we ordered a variety of beers, a couple extra beer samplers and a good variety of food that includes some of what we consider to be Elliott Bay’s signature dishes.

We ate:  Ahi Tacos, Seared Goat Cheese Salad, Shroomer hamburger with a side Caesar, and Salami Sliders with a quinoa salad on the side.

We drank:

  • Luna Weizen (a hefeweizen)
  • Alembic Pale Ale (a Pale Ale hopped exclusively with Cascades)
  • Hop Von Boorian (a hoppy, Belgian-style Pale Ale)
  • Dry Hop IPA (a dry-hopped version of their IPA)
  • Demolition Ale (Imperial Pale Ale)

We liked these pairings:
Ahi Tacos + Alembic Pale Ale

Ahi Tacos with a side of Salsa and Chipotle Aioli

The tacos come with a garlicky salsa, a creamy cole slaw and a hot chipotle aioli. It’s the heat of the aioli that screams for some hops like those offered by the Alembic Pale Ale. Since the aioli comes on the side, if you don’t put much of it on your tacos you could also go with the Luna Weizen here.

Seared Goat Cheese Salad + Demolition Ale

Seared Goat Cheese Salad

Sure the Demolition Ale packs a mighty punch to pair with a salad, but this salad has two huge slider-patty-sized mounds of fried goat cheese. When you pair the Demo with the cheese, or smear the cheese all over the salad (as you really should), then it makes perfect sense on the palette. The strength of the cheese, it’s rich and creamy aggressiveness, is tamed by a big beer like Demolition. A lesser beer would be invisible on your palate.

Schroomer Burger + Alembic Pale Ale

Shroomer with side Caesar

A good balance, where the IPAs were maybe a little heavy and the Luna Weizen was too citrusy, the Pale is once again a good match. It also went well with the side Caesar, which is an optional alternative to the excellent fries at EBB.

Salami Sliders + Alembic Pale Ale

Salami Sliders with quinoa side salad

Seriously, we like all the beers at EBB and tend to order either the Dry Hop IPA or Hop Von Boorian, but after trying different beers with each course we may have to order Alembic with dinner from now on. The sliders were great with the pale, which accentuated the vinegar-based Italian-style dressing.

A little about Elliott Bay Brewery:  it’s a family-friendly neighborhood pub located in the Alaska Junction, on California Ave SW just south of SW Alaska. They are open for lunch and dinner seven days, and usually have five regular beers plus six, seven, eight or more other of the Elliott Bay beers on tap, plus a couple guest taps and a nitro.

Elliott Bay - where everybody knows your name

“The pub” is our once-a-week kind of place, and it’s the place that West Seattle locals swear by. The food is amazingly consistent given how busy their kitchen is, and the portions are so generous that if you can finish your meal you were really hungry, then really stuffed. The menu at Elliott Bay is updated just frequently enough, with monthly dinner, appetizer and dessert specials. The service is among the best I’ve ever experienced, it’s hard to explain how efficient and friendly the service is without sounding like a homer, but they make you feel like their best customer every time.

Elliott Bay has a second location in Downtown Burien and just announced a third location coming in 2011 in little old Lake City. The northenders are lucky, they are going to love it too.