Ci Ci Cicerone

Lately I’ve seen a ton of articles about beer and food and the pairing of the two.  I do not know if the holiday season is the reason.  Possibly restaurant reservations and parties are had at a much higher volume than normal and pairings are an exciting novelty to look forward to.  Articles about beer that combines well with Cornish Hen, Glazed Ham or Seared Fish or whatever else people eat around the holidays are everywhere.

I personally find these articles to be enjoyable, but how often am I tearing into a Game Hen and who eats ham on a day other than a holiday?  I’ve decided to come up with a pairing guide for my favorite food, Hotdogs!  Beer goes great with Wurst so why shouldn’t it go great with America’s favorite cylindrical meat incased in meat?

The first thing you are going to want to do is get yourself some of the best hotdogs you can find.  Luckily we live in NY Metropolitan area so good hotdogs are readily available.

I personally love Fred’s Famous Franks in Orangeburg, NY on Rt 303 North, just south of the Palisades Center mall.  Fred makes the best hotdogs around and he doesn’t mind shooting the breeze.  Head on up there, grab a few dogs, and talk about Andrew Luck and the Colts.  Fred would love that.  After you are done chatting with Fred take your hotdogs to a bar that does not frown upon outside food and get ready to pair those bad boys up with some tasty brews.

My favorite hotdog has kraut, onions (which the aforementioned Fred makes from scratch everyday) and mustard.  The tart, sweet and spicy flavors of this dog will attack your senses, so you are going to want to wash it down with something light and subdued, but still tasty.  I suggest you go with a Kölsch, specifically Gaffel.  It’s the best Kölsch out there.

Chilidogs get a little more complicated.  If you like chili, but you aren’t a fan of spicy you want a beer that will balance out the spicy flavors.  Beers that are malty instead of hoppy will work here.  Light Lagers, Pilsners, and Amber Ales work best.  Try a Shiner Bock which happens to be one of my favorite beers.

If you like it spicy, grab a pale ale or IPA.  Bitter hop flavors accentuate rather than cool off the heat in spicy foods. Since IPAs are so popular now they are pretty much everywhere and everyone makes one, so just pick your favorite.  I like New Jersey’s own Flying Fish Hopfish IPA.

There you have it, my guide to hotdog/beer food pairing.  If you go see Fred up at Fred’s Famous Franks, tell him Phil sent you.