Unless you’ve been living in a cave, or you’re not into beer, or if you are into beer, it’s the yellow fizzy mass produced stuff, God forbid…then you are probably aware of the rise in popularity of craft beer. What is craft beer? Basically it’s real beer, made by real people, with a real story, with real, quality ingredients…beer with a soul some might say.

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California craft beers
The line up for this class included beers from Bottle Logic, Golden Road, Cismontane, Saint Archer, and Stone Breweries.
I’ll include a link to each brewery throughout this post. I highly recommend checking them out, especially if you’re in Southern California.
A few notes about pairing food with beer
Start with lighter beers, hefenweizen and wit beers make for great companions with lighter fare such as salads and fish. Gradually build up stronger flavored foods with stronger beers, lagers, ambers, pale ales, and IPAs go great with heartier meats, fried and spicy foods…ccheck out www.craftbeer.com for more info on pairing suggestions.

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Candied bacon wrapped brats!
Made and paired with Golden Road Brewery’s 329 Days of of Sun Lager.

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Smoky beer cheese fondue with warm pretzels
We also made and paired these with 329 Days of Sun Lager.
The lager cuts right through the fattiness of the brats and the cheesy fondue
If you’re a fan of Bud, Miller, or Coors, I recommend checking this great beer out as an alternative.
Check out the brewery here! http://www.goldenroad.la/
Pale ales and IPAs go hand in hand with rich and spicy foods. The bitter and hoppy notes will cut right through the spice and richness, and when the two worlds combine, you’ll wonder how you ever lived this long without being part of such a wonder ours combination…

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Pasta with spicy beer-tomato sauce
We paired this dish with Holy Jim Falls XPA from http://www.cismontanebrewing.com/home/
A smooth easy drinking California pale ale. Cismontane is located in Rancho Santa Margarita CA, a great local OC brewery, which names most of their brews after famous local landmarks.

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Fried Chicken Sliders with pickled Peaches
This recipe is from the amazing Beeroness blog. http://thebeeroness.com/
I highly recommend checking this humorous blog out for some amazing insight and recipes with craft beer.
The chicken, brined with buttermilk and beer, Saint Archer IPA in this case, was extremely crunchy and full of flavor. The pickled peaches were on another level, simple and delicious.
http://www.saintarcherbrewery.com/ is a relatively new brewery based out of San Diego, with a great line up of craft beers. Comprised of fourteen owners hailing from the surfing, skating, and entertainment world, it’s definitely a brewery worth checking out.

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Chocolate Stout Brownies paired with Stone Milk Stout Ice Cream Floats
Chocolate and stout are best friends, soul mates, kindred spirits, and lovers. When a stout or porter style beer is made, the barley malt is roasted, similar to coffee, and naturally the result is a strong chocolate or coffee like aroma and flavor. One misconception with most stouts is that it’s a heavy, filling beer, in fact most stouts are actually lighter and have less calories than most beers. A 12oz bottle of Guinness for example, only has about 120 calories, where as a bottle of IPA may have around 200 calories.
For this dessert I used Stone’s new milk stout, which is a light, refreshing stout, not too sweet or hoppy, which Stone is know for, whether it’s their Arrogant Bastard ale, or one of their latest collaborations. If you have a free day, go out to Escondido to the Stone bistro and gardens it’s a beautiful venue, full of amazing food and craft beers. http://www.stonebrewing.com/
Until next time, cheers!
-Chef Bryce Benes

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Drink your craft beer, and eat it too!

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