Pairings: Samuel Smith’s Old Brewery Pale Ale and a Hot Dog

Despite the impression you might get from reading this blog, sometimes I don’t feel like cooking. Luckily, I have a lot of options: I can go out or Martha might cook. Or hot dogs.

Hot dogs are not all that exciting, but that is no reason not to try a beer pairing–in fact it’s a great reason to try a beer pairing! Beer is such a great beverage because is that it is fit for the feasts of kings and peasants alike.

A trip to Trader Joe’s yielded the night’s beer: Samuel Smith’s Old Brewery Pale Ale. Since I had just finished the chapter in The Brewmaster’s Table on British beers it was the perfect bottle to try.

Here are Garret Oliver’s notes on this particular brew:

…a copper-colored beer with a big fluffy head. There’s that Yorkshire nose–hay, apples, butterscotch, and hops. The beer hits the palate with a mineral tang, then softens and rounds out to a dry biscuity malt enter. The finish is clean and flinty. This beer is big enough for steak, juicy enough for roast beef, and subtle enough for lamb. I also enjoy it with terrine en croûte, as do the British, though terrine en croûte sounds a lot better than “pork pie.”

Copper color, fluffy head, check.

Samuel Smith's Old Brewery Pale Ale

Pork pie, huh? That’s basically a hot dog. Actually, the hot dogs are all beef, but it sounds like this beer is up for anything. Even harissa? I slathered some on my bun along with  some of the excellent Trader Joe’s Dijon and then sprinkled on some relish and raw onions because, after all, this was a hot dog.

Hot dog, hot dog, watch me eat a hot dog

The pairing worked pretty well. The affinity was mostly due to the beer’s carbonation’s ability to break through the spicy harissa. I also thought the smokiness of the hotdogs was pleasant when contrasted with the slight fruitiness of the ale. I was pretty surprised after finishing my hot dog that as I was drinking the last of my beer I noticed a very strong taste of licorice. I’m not sure if it would have helped the hot dog at all but I was excited to be able to actually identify this very specific flavor on the beer.

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