Beer for Breakfast: How to Pair Your Favorite Brunch Foods with Beer
A primer for pairing beers with brunch, plus 2 drool-worthy recipes
Everyone's favorite excuse to day-drink just got a little more fun. Despite our love for boozy brunch, brunch cocktails, and Bloody Marys, one San Francisco hot spot has figured out how to switch it up a bit — with "beerunch."
The Public House in San Francisco, home to the very famous "beerunch," shared with us how to nail the breakfast and beer pairings (so you don't have to wait until 5 p.m. to crack open into your favorite craft beer). Chef Chris Wade (who has helped Public House put on its 11th "beerunch" this February), says it's easier than you think to put together a brunch and beer pairing. He and beverage director Greg Stone will sit and try out some of their favorite beers, take notes on the taste, and brainstorm the menu. Wade says he aims to get a good balance of light and fresh (i.e. an apple chicory salad) with super sweet (i.e. French toast) with even a little acidity (i.e. ceviche) and a little fat (i.e. pork) on a "beerunch" menu.
Wade's go-to pairings? He says it's simple: a rich, heavy, and sweeter beer will go best with your traditional sweet brunch dishes. "When we get to the sweeter, heavy beers, it's really easy to pair them with the sweeter spectrum of brunch," he says. However, a lighter lager style beer will also work well to not get too heavy, too fast — take the Mill Valley Beerworks Westfalia paired with the dulce de leche French toast. For your pastry dishes (like the ham and cheese croissant he served at the last beerunch) or crostinis, a tart, sour ale will balance the bread flavors. And of course, for the meat lovers in the crowd — and all the pork, sausage, or bacon dishes — an IPA has the complexity you need to bring out the best flavors and offset a whole lot of grease. For example, with the MateVeza Yerba Mate IPA he and Stone paired with the crispy pork rillette with gribiche sauce for this beerunch (yeah, we're drooling a little), the bitter and citrus flavors of the IPA brought out the citrus and herbal flavors of the dish.
You can get a look at Public House's "beerunch" menu to inspire your own menu, plus get the recipe and beer pairing for two of Wade's dishes. Let's just say, your weekend plans just got a little beer-ier — er, cheerier.
Public House Beerunch Menu and Pairings
Fried Green Tomatoes with Shrimp Remoulade | MateVeza Morpho Herbal Ale
Ham and Gruyère Croissant | Moonlight Brewing Toast
Dulce de Leche French Toast | Mill Valley Beerworks Westfalia
Beer pairing suggestion: The French toast works well with an amber-style lager such as the Vienna Lager we served at Beerunch. Mill Valley Beerworks Westfalia, Sierra Nevada Vienna Lager, or Sam Adams Boston Lager work well.
Chicory Salad with Apples, Raisins, and Pecans | MateVeza Brett Dubbel
Orange and Ricotta Muffin | Magnolia Brewers Selection
Beer pairing suggestion: The muffins pair well with a dark stout. At Beerunch we paired them with Russian Imperial Stout. In colder months, there are plenty of options, such as Magnolia Brewers Selection, North Coast Old Rasputin, Drake’s Drakonic or Stone Imperial Russian Stout.
Crispy Pork Rillette with Gribiche sauce | MateVeza Yerba Mate IPA
Corned Beef Hash | Allagash Brewing Fluxus