Want exciting beer pairings that don't require cooking? Graham Dodds, chef-owner of Wayward Sons restaurant in Dallas, has the answer: a charcuterie board.
We asked Dodds to create three, party-perfect charcuterie boards to pair with different local craft beers. He came through in spades, with pairings that highlight and complement flavors in both the beers and the foods.
Although Dodds makes his charcuterie and condiments in-house, you can closely replicate his choices by shopping at specialty supermarkets. We found almost everything he lists at Central Market. If you drop in at Wayward Sons, a chef's choice charcuterie board is an off-menu item that you can special-request.
Here are three beer-pairing combos that Dodds loves.
Lakewood Hop Trapp
from Lakewood Brewing Co.
You need bold flavored foods to stand up to the bitterness of a well-hopped IPA. Dodds opts for spicy Cajun-Creole flavors and a sharp cheddar cheese. Apple-based condiments complement the cheddar and the pork sausage, he says, and the pickled vegetables cleanse all the flavors.
Meat and cheese: Andouille sausage; Veldhuizen Double Barrel Cheddar
Condiments and vegetable/fruit accents: Creole mustard, apple butter, apple mostarda, pickled okra and peppers, olives
Crackers/bread: Lavash, or other flatbread
Block Party Robust Porter
Dodds plays off the porter's smoky, malty flavors with a variety of foods that show smoky and sweet notes. Spanish chorizo contrasts with the beer's malty raisin flavors; the creamy, smoked trout dip plays well with the beer's smoky chocolate flavors; and pumpernickel bread complements the beer's smoky molasses notes. For a brighter element that brings relief from the smoke, he includes tangy dried fruit and Spanish piquillo peppers.
Meat and creamy dip: Spanish chorizo; smoked trout spread
Bread and other dip companions: Pumpernickel toast, vegetable crudités
Vegetable/fruit accents: Bottled Piquillo peppers and dried cranberries
River House Saison
This complex, earthy and yeasty beer offered many flavors for Dodds to play with for a vegetarian option. Its citrus, lemon and clove notes welcome a tangy, ash-covered goat cheese -- that rounds out the beer's hops with its creaminess. The marmalade plays off the beer's citrus notes, and the nuts bring a welcome spicy counterpoint to the flavors on the plate.
Cheese: A creamy, ash-covered goat cheese, such as Humboldt Fog
Protein/nuts: Hatch chile cashews or other spicy nuts, like chile-spiced pistachios
Bread: Crusty French bread
Fruit/condiment: Grapefruit marmalade
By Tina Danze/Special Contributor