Seasonal beer and food pairing at Urbane restaurant in Seattle

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Beer and food pairing has come a long way in recent years. Not long ago “beer and food” meant PBR and pizza. Maybe, if you were sophisticated, you contemplated whether to pair an Amber Ale or a Pale Ale with your fish-n-chips. These days, we’ve learned to appreciate the way a finely crafted beer complements a great meal and many of Seattle’s best restaurants now offer excellent beer options.

Urbane restaurant in Seattle is currently offering (through the end of October) an elevated beer and food pairing experience and hopes to run with the concept moving forward, making it a regular, seasonally rotating menu option. The restaurant is located at the bustling corner of 8th Avenue and Olive Street in downtown Seattle.

Photo by Kim Sharpe Jones.
Poke and Lucille.

When I think of food and beer pairing, I usually imagine things like a crisp Pilsner paired with fresh, raw oysters, or an Imperial Stout paired with molten lava chocolate cake. But fresh hop beer and food pairings? Who does that? It takes guts to pair great food with heavily hopped beers. Well, Urbane is up to the challenge and is currently offering a fresh hop beer and food menu featuring three courses paired with beers from Georgetown Brewing. In honesty, we were there last night and the Fresh Hop Lucille was gone, but they offered standard Lucille as a substitute. In reality, this is more about the chutzpah it takes to pair such renowned, hop-forward beers with fine cuisine.


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Pork, grits and Johnny Utah.
Pork, grits and Johnny Utah.

The current beer pairing menu includes three options. One is a tasting that includes small pours of three beers paired with bites of food: Fresh Hop Johnny Utah with Salumi Hot Soppresatta, Lucille IPA with Beechers Cheese Curds, and 9lb Porter with house-made chocolate bark.

The next offering is a burger-n-brew options that present you with a formidable hamburger they call a Piggy Back. It features a grass-fed burger patty topped with an Uli’s sausage patty, Beecher’s fondue, and Beaver Mustard. They recommend pairing it with either Fresh Hop Johnny Utah or Lucille IPA.


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Last night we experienced the third option: A three-course, prix fixe dinner ($45 per person). The entire meal was scrumptious, the pairings were thoughtful and effective, and a few elements were sublime.

COURSE 1: Oregon Albacore Poke (Sesame, soy, chili, fresh hops, avocado puree, scallion, house made potato chip). Paired with Lucille IPA.

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Photo by Kim Sharpe Jones.
Photo by Kim Sharpe Jones.

The fish was very, very fresh and you could tell. It was rich and unctuous, with the avocado adding an earthy element to the slightly briny dish. The beer cut through this richness without overpowering the dish, adding a very pleasant citrus element.

COURSE 2: Smoked Bone–in Pork Chop (10-ounce Carlton Farms pork chop, grits with poblano and Beecher’s Handmade Cheese white cheddar, grilled haricot verts, pickled peppers from Tonnemaker Family Orchard and Tonnemaker Hill Farm).  Paired with Fresh Hop Johnny Utah Pale Ale.

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Photo by Kim Sharpe Jones.
Photo by Kim Sharpe Jones.

Every element of this dish was prepared to perfection. The grits were creamy and firm, reminiscent of mac-n-cheese with a slightly smokey note added, probably, by the poblanos. The thick-as-your-wrist pork chop, we learned, was cold smoked and beautifully prepared, with just the slightest bit of pink in the center; they provided a steak knife but you could practically cut it with your fork.

This was a very, very rich dish but Johnny Utah was up to the task, cutting through the fat and the smoke, almost relieving your palate, lightening the flavors and making them more discernible.

COURSE 3: Spiced Chocolate Pot de Crème (cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, star anise, vanilla chantilly, house made churros). Paired with 9lb Porter.

Photo by Kim Sharpe Jones.
Photo by Kim Sharpe Jones.

In my book, it’s hard to go wrong with Pot de Crème, especially when you top it with tiny chocolate malt balls, but what really stood out were the house-made churros. Either element of this dessert would stand on its own and each element paired perfectly with the beer. Not hard to imagine.

Urbane is hoping that their guests give them reason to continue offering seasonal beer pairing options like this. The plan would see them continue to partner with local breweries, offering a menu befitting the beer season.

By the way, they have six beers on tap and they are all local craft beers. Good on ’em!

 

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