Beer meets its culinary match at Long Island eateries where chefs are getting creative and pairing craft brews with anything from cheese and bread to multicourse feasts — including dessert.
In Franklin Square and East Northport, the Island’s craft-brewing renaissance is supplying the suds for palate-challenging menus built around India pale ales, lagers and lesser-known beer styles.
“Our beer-pairing dinners are a chance to experience a wider variety of beers and how the true flavor can be brought out when it’s alongside a complementary dish,” says Matthew Buck, general manager at Plattduetsche Park Restaurant in Franklin Square, which hosts a beer dinner Saturday, March 3.
Bakeries and cheese shops are also cooking up their own complements to the golden beverage, which some local experts say goes better with food than wine does.
“There are so many different styles of beer, they are easier to pair,” says Peter Tripp, owner of Homebrews and Handgrenades, a craft brewing equipment supplier in Baldwin.
Here are beer dinners for a variety of tastes and pocketbooks.
SIX-COURSE BEER DINNER
When and where: 7 p.m. Saturday, March 3, Plattduetsche Park Restaurant, 1132 Hempstead Tpke., Franklin Square
Info: 516-354-3131, parkrestaurant.com
The North Fork’s Greenport Harbor Brewing Co. teams up with the venerable Franklin Square German restaurant for an evening of beer, music and good eats.
The suds flow early and often, beginning with the first course: a Harbor Ale and hors d’oeuvres. The sit-down dinner features lager with ravioli, porter with beef ribs, and assorted IPAs with ceviche and bratwurst, plus coffee ice cream for dessert. Hat Trick, a Long Island-based guitar trio, provides live musical accompaniment.
Want your glass refilled? Just ask. “You can’t really appreciate the beer with just a small taste,” Buck says. He explains, “We try to create the feeling that you’re at a big family dinner, enjoying the laughter and conversation.”
BREAD & BEER
When and where: 7 p.m. March 20 and April 24, Barrier Brewing Co., 3001 New St., Unit A2, Oceanside
Info: 516-594-1028, barrierbrewing.com
Admission: $40 ($30 advance)
The 9-year-old brewery and tap room pours selections from its output of 50 beers to accompany fresh-baked loaves from Blacksmith’s Breads in Long Beach.
Four or five beers are selected to bring out the hidden flavor notes in Blacksmith’s chocolate-infused sweet bread, sourdough and other baked goods. Each drinker gets a slice of bread with each tasting to slather with a spread and dip while they sip.
FIVE-COURSE BEER DINNER
When and where: 7-10 p.m. March 20, The Lark Pub and Grub, 93 Larkfield Rd., East Northport
Info: 631-262-9700, thelarkpubandgrub.com
The upscale pub’s owner Tim Kelly also serves as chef for five-course beer dinners. Kelly likes to feature lesser-known breweries, and for the March 20 event expands the beer palette to Firestone Walker Brewing Co. of Paso Robles, California.
Although the beer menu isn’t set yet, Kelly says, “I always start off with a homemade soup or bisque, or salad.”
BEER AND CHEESE
When and where: C’est Cheese, 216B Main St., Port Jefferson
Info: 631-403-4944, cestcheesepj.com
Admission: $18 includes three beers and three cheeses
Beer pairings are a standing specialty at this downtown Port Jefferson shop with eight taps and up to 150 cheeses in the display case ranging from mild to moderate to intense.
“We tailor a cheese and beer pairing to the customers’ taste by asking where their flavors lie,” says shop owner Joseph Ciardullo. The beer comes in three 4-ounce pours, with bits of bread and cured meats on the side.
Ciardullo says many customers ask for Maine-brewed, Belgian-style wheat beer Allagash White, which he say pairs well with semisoft Port Salut cheese.