Valentine's Day Beer and Food Pairings from Chef Richard

Romance is in the air, and nothing says “I love you” quite like surprising someone with their favorite GLBC beer. (Seriously, try it.) And while our beer is itself a worthy gift for that special someone, it’s even better when matched with the perfect meal. That’s why we tapped Chef Richard Basich, Executive Banquet Chef at Great Lakes Brewing Co., for his expert beer and food pairing recommendations for Valentine’s Day. Let’s see what he cooked up!

Crushworthy Lo-Cal Citrus Wheat and New York-Style Cheesecake
Hey, it’s Valentine’s Day, so we’re starting with dessert! Few desserts are as iconic as a big ol’ slice of New York-style cheesecake topped with fresh cut strawberries. While the dessert is certainly decadent, Chef Richard suggests pairing it with the light and refreshing Crushworthy Lo-Cal Citrus Wheat: “The tartness of the beer provides a counterpoint to the sweetness of the cheesecake, and with the carbonation, helps cut the fatty richness from the cream cheese.” To make this pairing utterly crushable, try using a few tablespoons of the beer and sugar to help macerate the strawberries. Your crush will appreciate the extra effort! 

TropiCoastal Tropical IPA with Grilled Salmon
Feeling the winter blahs? Brighten things up with an escape to the beer aisles and TropiCoastal Tropical IPA. Keep the nautical theme going by pairing this sunny island beer with grilled salmon, topped with a pineapple salsa – one of Chef Richard’s favorite culinary complements! For the perfect salsa, add 8 ounces of chopped pineapple and a tablespoon of chopped cilantro to 8 ounces of your favorite tomato salsa. “The tropical and citrus notes of TropiCoastal’s hops will nicely complement the brightness of the pineapple and cilantro, while the charred flavors from grilling the fish will link up with the beer’s light caramel sweetness.” 

Conway’s Irish Ale with Eggs Benedict
Taking off Valentine’s Day (a Monday this year) for a little extra time with your sweetie is a pro-level move, and what better way to start a “vacation day” than with a leisurely mid-morning brunch beer? Conway’s Irish Ale is an excellent choice for any brunch staple, but Chef Richard is especially partial to pairing it with Eggs Benedict: “Conway’s is a full bodied, malt-forward beer that can stand up to the intensity of protein-rich poached eggs and savory Canadian bacon.” Don’t limit yourself, though – Conway’s works great with anything from corned beef hash, brunch burgers, and even maple syrup-laden French toast. Yum.

Edmund Fitzgerald Porter with Ossobuco
Sure, your partner appreciates it when you cook for them, but Valentine’s Day is an excuse to get fancy, so light some candles and show off your culinary chops with Ossobuco, the Milanese classic. Despite the Italian origin of the dish, wine won’t have a place at the table tonight. “The rich and roasty flavors of Edmund Fitzgerald Porter will link up perfectly with deep braised flavors of the tender veal in Ossobuco.” Take this classic dish to the next level by bringing equal parts Edmund Fitzgerald and brown sugar to a boil, then spooning over the meat for a sweet, rich glaze. Oh, by the way – Fitz and chocolate is a match made in craft beer heaven.

Lake Erie Monster with Buffalo Wings
We hear there’s a big game happening this weekend, so your big Valentine’s Day plans may be cozying up on the couch and rooting for your second favorite Ohio football team (sorry, Cincinnati fans!) With an entertaining night of football ahead, Chef Richard recommends turning up the heat with Lake Erie Monster Imperial IPA and Buffalo chicken wings. “The sweet, yet intensely hoppy Lake Erie Monster is a perfect complement to the spiciness of the wings, especially if you like heat! It’s the kind of beer that’s bold enough to hold up to however many Scoville units you throw down.” Big beer, big snack, Big Game!

No matter your culinary approach, we hope your Valentine’s Day is made all the more warm and bright thanks to Chef Richard’s primo pairings. You’ve got a plan – now time to go get the beer! Use our Beer Finder to land your GLBC brew of choice near you.

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