To go with the pale ale, I put together some mini-pizzas with smoked salmon, caramelized Vidalia onion, goat cheese and sautéed asparagus spears. A very nice combination, I must say. Asparagus can be notoriously difficult to pair with wine. The bold ale paired nicely without overwhelming.
To pair with such an elegant brew, I cooked up a couple bacon-wrapped fillets (and made sure not to burn them). I know I'm a bit predictable with the balsamic reduction, but it's so damn good. I finished off the plate with some baby greens, chopped heirloom tomatoes, a dollop of potato salad and some crumbled bleu cheese. The smooth, rich beer was perfect, and the flavor opened up even more as it warmed.
The final beer was a chocolate porter, which we paired with a bit of dark chocolate. I served it a bit too cold at first, but as it warmed up the chocolate came through, along with notes of malt, toffee and nuts. It might have been my imagination, but I picked up some more carbonation in this one, which gave it a lighter mouthfeel.