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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Local Wine at the White House--Cool, but...

An Oregon winery made a bit of a splash yesterday when its riesling was featured at the huge White House gala with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.* (Not only because it was a local wine, but because the official menu misspelled "Willamette." D'oh!) Cool beans for the Brooks Winery, yet another in a fairly long list of local wines to be served at the White House. But we voted for change! Wine is so passe--hasn't the President (noted beer drinker) gotten the message that ales are the new pinot?

The next time the White House throws a chichi fete--say when Angela Merkel visits--Obama ought to take bold leadership and serve beer. As a way of showing the way, let's have a look at last night's menu and see how we might have paired the courses with food.

Course: Potato and eggplant salad, White House arugala with onion vinaigrette.
Pairing: I'd choose something with a bit of sweet malt to contrast the tartness of the vinaigrette and the bitter/spiciness of the arugala. You want something light, though, so it will draw out the flavors and not overwhelm them. How about a nice pale ale. Since Obama likes to play the high/low card, let's go with Caldera Pale Ale, in the can.

Course: Red lentil soup with fresh cheese
Pairing: "Fresh cheese" doesn't give us much to go on, but let's guess that this is a slightly heartier course. When I hear "cheese," I think Belgian, so we could suggest something like Upright Four or--since we're highlighting the nation, not just Beervana--New Belgium Dandelion Ale.

Course: Roasted potato dumplings with tomato chutney, chick peas, and okra or green curry prawns, caramelized salsify with smoked collard greens, and coconut aged basmati.
Pairing: In honor of India, the White House has made a variation on traditional Indian food. The pairing here is obvious--it needs to be a light lager, typical of the Subcontinent. I've recently had US-brewed Kingfisher, a classic Indian brand, and it's a great beer. Unlike its Indian version, the US recipe is quite nicely hopped, sharp, clean, and dry. It would go perfectly with the meal and be a nice show of international cooperation.

Course: Pumpkin pie tart, pear tatin, whipped cream and caramel sauce
Pairing: This seasonally-appropriate dessert calls for a seasonally-appropriate beer. To draw out the darker, earthier notes from the pumpkin pie, and to help cut the sweet, I would choose a dark dry beer here. One of America's finest is Anchor porter--a fine note on which to end a meal.

Someone alert the President about this, will you?

*Errata to file under "small world." The Beeronomist--he doesn't want us to call him that, but some titles stick, and in Beervana it's an honorific, anyway--once met the Prime Minister, back when he was just a technocrat in the Rao government during the Clinton days. Singh is, you see, an economist by training, and so they have a professional connection. Beer and politics? Sidelights.


  1. Interesting news re:
    'US-brewed Kingfisher . . . it's a great beer'

    Website indicatesKingfisher
    - brewed in UK under license at Shepherd Neame, Britain's oldest brewer.
    ?'The Empire Strikes Back'?
    - brewed in USofA at Mendocino Brewing Co., Hopland, Calif, which is own by Vijay Mallya, UB Group, Bangalore, India. An Indian beer brewed in the USofA by an Indian Company.

  2. That's some pretty cool pairings. I'd like to see that done sometime.

  3. Except when the POTUS has his pick of any beer in the world he picks Bud Light. Well, if you want to give the visiting dignitaries the true U.S. experience...

  4. I think it would be pretty cool....actually i don't have any idea of bear... so how can i say ? ya its cool.