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Pumpkin beer noms
September 28, 2011 7:08 AM   Subscribe

What snacks should I serve at a pumpkin beer tasting?

I'm hosting a pumpkin beer tasting this weekend for a dozen or so people, and can't figure out what to serve. My gut feeling is that anything pumpkin-flavored is out, but fallish flavors would be fine. The tasting starts at 8, so I don't need to feed people dinner - just snacky things.

All I have so far is this bread-type thing, but I'm not sure how well that will work with the beer.

Assume no dietary restrictions, no time or money restrictions, and no cooking proficiency restrictions. While I've got a cooking champion recipe to uphold, I'd prefer food that works well with the pumpkin beer rather than food that's meant to impress (but if I can get both, that would be ideal.)
posted by punchtothehead to Food & Drink (24 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
Some simple veggies and hummus would be nice -- not overly fall-like, but it seems like it would work fine with the beer.
posted by cider at 7:10 AM on September 28, 2011


You said no pumpkin tasting things but roasted/salted pumpkin seeds would fit right in and the beer really won't have that flavor profile at all.

Might be a bit harsh on the palates if this is a serious beer tasting. If it is, or has the potential to be, a serious tasting then your guests will appreciate some white bread or crackers to clear things up.
posted by RolandOfEld at 7:11 AM on September 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


I've found that pumpkin and chocolate go exceptionally well together.

Ginger snaps? I don't know why but they just sound good with pumpkin.

Turkey is the main dish when pumpkin pie is dessert, so maybe you could do something with that too.
posted by TooFewShoes at 7:14 AM on September 28, 2011


Apples? I like oatmeal cookies with chocolate chips and dried fruit, which have sort of a fall feel.
posted by mlle valentine at 7:17 AM on September 28, 2011


Apple-pie tarts (or apple crumble, or apple pie) with little slices of sharp cheddar?
posted by theredpen at 7:21 AM on September 28, 2011


One of the more memorable beer pairings I've had was Bell's Oberon Ale (good lord, yum!) with molasses cookies. Seriously good stuff, I swear. It's actually something I do every autumn now because I love it so.
posted by heyho at 7:27 AM on September 28, 2011


Butternut squash empanadas! Just squash-y enough to complement the theme of the evening, but not overwhelmingly so to the point of competing with the flavors of the beer, and vegetarian, so that everyone can enjoy them.

I think that quite a few people would interpret an 8 o'clock invitation as an event at which enough food should be provided as to be an adequate dinner substitute.
posted by halogen at 7:32 AM on September 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


The risk in pairing a pumpkin beer is that everything is going to leave an sweet taste on the palate and that would create a monotony that you don't want. So I might offer a big hunk of dry, crumbly aged cheddar, parmesan or Piave to offset that. Some roasted nuts or a trail mix with nuts, dried cranberries, and dried golden raisins might be nice. Roasted turkey is really wonderfully seasonal and pairs very well with pumplin ale - I think it would be a fantastic accompaniment - how about some mini roasted (real) turkey breast on toasted multigrain or wheat bread with some boursin or goat cheese spread and some arugula? Nom. And, continuing the "it's sort of Thanksgiving" theme, how about some stuffed celery with cream cheese-olive stuffing, fresh carrot sticks, and maybe a witty take on stuffing like apple-and-onion stuffing muffins.

Pumpkin flavor is rich, sweetish, and unctuous, so for the tasting I'd go with gentle contrast rather than reinforce that. I don't think anything too acidic would pair well, so stay savory, except for desserts which pair beautifully with pumpkin. Brownies, apple pie (mini maybe, or turnovers) and creme brulee might be terrific.
posted by Miko at 7:44 AM on September 28, 2011 [5 favorites]


Cheese cake.
posted by LarryC at 7:48 AM on September 28, 2011


Need salt and savory to contrast tastes.
posted by bjgeiger at 8:09 AM on September 28, 2011


I'd offer another quite different beer, too.
posted by bz at 8:21 AM on September 28, 2011


Is this pumpkin beer that you brewed? Is it sweet? Is it really pumpkiny? Is it more beer like? What type of hops? Was it dry hopped? Is it malted? Without knowing the beer, it's really hard to pair food with it.

You gotta give us a taste profile or else we can't really help.

I'd go with foie gras on toast points if it is a sweeter beer with a good hop profile as the sharpness/bitterness of the hops and sweetness would cut the fat of the foie.

Duck would also work really well, either breast or confitted legs (both would be great) same idea with the fat and richness being cut by the beer.

Both of the above are pretty fall style proteins.

Also, nothing says fall more to me than a root veg roast- carrots, pearl onions, potatoes, garlic, parsnips with some thyme and rosemary.

Hard to help without knowing the beer.

If you brewed yourself, you could always infuse a sauce with a little bit of the hops to play off the beer.
posted by TheBones at 8:48 AM on September 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Pumpkin flavor is rich, sweetish, and unctuous

To be honest, most pumpkin beers don't taste like pumpkin, they taste like pumpkin pie spices.

So I agree that pumpkin seeds would work well, as well as anything that isn't heavily spiced, like a nice pumpkin bread.
posted by smackfu at 8:55 AM on September 28, 2011


Mmmm, seconding the duck and rosemary roast veg, too.

smackfu, I think that is kind of true of mass-market pumpkin beers but in recent years I've had lots of craftier pumpkin beer that is really like liquid pumpkin. And if it's yeasty-type carbonation that does magnify the effect.
posted by Miko at 8:57 AM on September 28, 2011


TheBones - everyone's bringing a different bunch of beers, so I can't give you any more information, other than it's going to be pumpkinish beer.

Halogen and Miko - thanks for the recipes; those look awesome.
posted by punchtothehead at 8:58 AM on September 28, 2011


If I were in your spot, I would ask for everyone to provide me with what beers they were bringing so that I could go out and taste each one and pair accordingly. That way you won't have any surprises.

You may not be that hardcore about this tasting, however if you asked this question, then you might be.

Do your due diligence and it will help with your final result.
posted by TheBones at 9:04 AM on September 28, 2011


A few years ago we had a little pumpkin beer tasting with potato pancakes topped with homemade applesauce from fresh, crisp apples. 'Twas a nice fall pairing.
posted by troublewithwolves at 9:09 AM on September 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


TheBones - yeah, that's ridiculous and I'm not going to do it. Amazingly, I'm sure we'll all have a fine time anyway.
posted by punchtothehead at 10:33 AM on September 28, 2011


If the point of the event is to taste the different beers then you really want to have bland foods. Crackers is the typical food at a beer tasting. Of course if it is more of a fall fun event then go to town.
posted by JJ86 at 11:02 AM on September 28, 2011


Risotto is always the answer, especially when you want something pretty easy to make but still impressive. Good, woodsy mushrooms would balance out the sweetness with a nice umami flavor while still being kind of rustic.

Also, no party is really complete without cheese (you'll want farmhouse-y cheddar), some sort of simple hard sausage, and olives to nibble on.
posted by oinopaponton at 11:39 AM on September 28, 2011


I'm fond of this butternut squash and sage risotto recipe. It goes with pumpkin beer really well, and it's not too sweet.
posted by zoetrope at 11:45 AM on September 28, 2011


I wouldn't serve risotto – I'd otherwise agree that it's always appropriate, but you don't really want to deal with the hassle of plates, silverware, and having to serve everyone individually while making sure it's still warm at a beer tasting get-together.
posted by halogen at 7:50 AM on September 29, 2011


Right, hand food is a lot easier at a tasting.
posted by Miko at 8:48 AM on September 29, 2011


Ended up serving butternut squash empanadas, the onion flatbread, cheese with crackers, grapes, and chocolate chip cookies. Everything went great, thanks!
posted by punchtothehead at 8:15 AM on October 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


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