For our latest addition of Brew Crew, we decided to do something new… pairings! Elysian brewery reached out to us with a list of beers that pair well with different types of Chinese food. We jumped on the chance to give this a try.
Tom and I ordered a bunch of Chinese food from two takeout spots we frequently order from, Number 1 Flower Drum House and Dragon and Phoenix. Our favorite is Number 1 Flower Drum House. We like Dragon and Phoenix too, but just not as much. Astoria is definitely not short on Chinese takeout, something we frequently take advantage of. Hashtag lazy as the kids would say…
We told everyone to arrive at 6:30 so we would have some time for prepare. We ordered a ton of food which came in like 20 minutes and only cost a total of $70. Let me breakdown how awesome that price is. We fed 10 people for $70 with 10 egg rolls, 6 quarts of food (all coming with white rice), and one pint of shrimp fried rice! Chinese take out is really economical and delicious!
We then set the table and took pictures so we could jump right into tasting. We will tell you what we ate, which restaurant it was from, which beer it was paired with, and our thoughts on the pairings.
Dragon and Phoenix Kung Pao Chicken paired with the Elysian Bifrost Winter Ale: I want to begin by pointing out that is was not the best Kung Pao Chicken. It was seriously lacking in the spice department and was incredibly salty with too much peanut flavor. It was like licking salty peanut butter. That being said, the pairing did not go over so well. I’m sure you’re surprised by that. We believe the issue was with the chicken and not the actual idea of the pairing. If this dish had been made properly, we definitely could have seen the light breadiness of the beer pairing really well with this spicy food.
Dragon and Phoenix Orange Chicken with the Elysian Space Dust IPA: This pairing went over a lot better. The sweet and tangy orange chicken paired beautifully with the IPA. The bitter hoppiness helps to cut through the syrupy sauce on the crispy pieces of chicken. With each sip the flavors developed more and more.
Number 1 Flower Drum House Egg Rolls paired with Elysian Dragons Tooth Stout: This was our favorite pairing! The notes of coffee and chocolate in the stout paired so well with the greasy fried egg roll and the bits of pork throughout. Also, please note that Number 1 Flower Drum House has some of the best egg rolls. They are so crispy!
Number 1 Flower Drum House Pork Lo Mein Paired with the Elysian Mens Room Original Red Ale: This was another really good pairing. We were pleasantly surprised. The malty notes in this ale pair really nicely with sweet and salty taste of the noodles. The hoppy flavors help to cut through the richness in the pork. We could see ourselves having this combo a lot.
Number 1 Flower Drum House Ma Pao Tofu paired with Two Roads Ground Loop Sour Saison: First of all, this was supposed to be Tofu in a black bean sauce(we couldn’t get it) and second it should have been a regular saison. Though, both were very good separately, the pairing was awful. That was our fault. Definitely try the recommended pairing and let us know what you think. PS. The big meat eater in the group admitted that this tofu dish was one of his favorite things of the night, so if you live in Astoria we recommend ordering it.
Number 1 Flower Drum House General Tso Chicken paired with a Victory Prima Pilsner: We also loved this pairing! The rich sweet and spicy breaded chicken was washed down easily with this light bready pils. It was awesome! The flavor of the beer really helped to enhance the flavor of the chicken. This is always Tom’s go to order when we get food from Number 1 Flower Drum House. It never disappoints.
When dinner was over it was time to surprise one of our brew crew members with a special birthday pairing!
I made chocolate chip cookie cheesecake bars and paired them with an Anchor Coffee Porter. Not to toot my own horn here, but I think this was the best pairing of the night! The bitter beer really helped compliment the chocolate in the cookie part of the bars.
As you can see from the pictures above brew crew gets a little mess… bottles and caps everywhere…
Since, we only had one of each kind of beer for the pairings (pretty much 2 sips each), we finished out the evening with a few extra beers people brought over like this awesome Bells Sour. The label is super cool. I must admit I do judge a beer by it’s cover.
Thanks for reading. Do you have any beer and food pairings we should try? This was a lot of fun and we want to do more of them.