Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Wayfare beer food pairing - The NORA MCGUNNIGLE OKTOBERFEST SPECIAL

Taps at the Wayfare

So, one of the things I'm lucky enough to do is experience a pretty wide variety of beer and food pairings with local and national craft breweries (and occasionally some international ones too). I think that this has honed my palate over the years to appreciate the interplay between different food flavor profiles and the diversity of flavors that comes from beer's malt, hops, alcohol content, and thousands of other chemical compounds and interactions.

It takes practice, and I've been fortunate enough to have the opportunity to practice a lot.

A specific opportunity recently came my way with the Wayfare restaurant on Freret, who reached out to me to pair a beer with one of their dishes. I chose Great Raft's Provisions and Traditions 3, an oak-aged Marzen style. It was a bit of a gimme, given that it was created in partnership with Chef Drake Leonards at Luke, and was therefore very food friendly.

I headed to the Wayfare and ordered an insane number of sandwiches (plus a salad and a side of mac & cheese) to see what worked. I ended up choosing the Wayfare's BL(fg)T, their BLT with additional fried green tomato. Now it's the recommended Nora McGunnigle Oktoberfest Special, running from October 19-25.


The BL(fg)T

From the press release:
This special pairs Great Raft’s Provisions & Traditions with the BL(fg)T Sandwich, Wayfare’s take on the classic BLT but with a fried green tomato and special house-made spicy mayo and sweet potato habenero sauce. 
“Much like Great Raft's Provisions and Traditions oaked Oktoberfest-style beer itself, the sandwich selected to pair with it is understated,” says esteemed local beer writer McGunnigle. “It offers an under-appreciated style, yet is satisfying, complex, and delicious.”

The second suggested pairing, being featured October 26 through November 1, is NOLA Brewing’s Darkest Before Dawn Special. This special, chosen by the NOLA Brewing team, pairs NOLA Brewing’s Darkest Before Dawn Lager with Wayfare’s Porchetta Sandwich, which offers a pork loin wrapped in pork belly, caramelized onions and arugula, topped with house-made salsa verde and fennel aioli.

“We felt the Porchetta Sandwich really complimented Darkest Before Dawn and really brought out some of the special flavors our first NOLA lager has,” said NOLA Brewing’s Davis Crawford. “We think the fennel in the sandwich played a big part in enhancing those dunkel characteristics rather than hiding them.”
This week, they're featuring a flight of: Brooklyn Brewing Sorachi Ace, Lagunitas IPA, Stone Brewing Arrogant Bastard, and Terrapin Liquid Bliss chocolate peanut butter porter.

This week's featured flight

Basically, the Wayfare is working to promote its beer program, and it's a pretty decent one at that. They've got 30 taps and is now offering $10 beer flights starting at 4pm every day (and on Tuesdays, the flights are on special for $8). 

And now that I've had the opportunity to try a fairly impressive number of their menu items (thanks, guys, for that) I gotta say, their sandwiches are legit - good quality ingredients, house pickles and housemade condiments. I also had a pulled pork salad which was, impressively enough, an actual salad as well as a vehicle for delicious pulled pork.
So I strongly suggest you go check Wayfare out, especially during the week of October 19, so you can order a Nora McGunnigle Oktoberfest Special, because every time you do, I'll know because of the feeling of peace and well being it will bestow upon me from afar. 

My tasting notes from pairing the Great Raft Marzen and the BL(fg)T sandwich in full:
Much like Great Raft's Provisions and Traditions oaked Oktoberfest-style beer itself, the sandwich selected to pair with it is understated, an under-appreciated style, yet satisfying, complex, and delicious. Wayfare's BL(fg)T sandwich combines bacon, lightly dressed and seasoned baby lettuce and arugula, a raw red tomato and a fried green tomato with a spicy mayo and sweet potato habenero sauce.

The relative lightness of the sandwich balances the sweet, malty roundness of the flavor and mouthfeel. The fried green tomato echoes the grain and malt, while the bitter arugula and heat of the condiments if smoothed out and soothed by the 8% ABV beer. The salty bacon (made in house) is an subtle, smoky counterpoint to the aged oak wood present in the finish.

Like the BL(fg)T, Provisions and Traditions vol. 3 is a classic with a twist.. It's fermented with Louisiana cane syrup for local flavor and aged with oak spirals. These variations respect the style while making it unique - what looks simple on the surface is actually elegant in its subtle complexity. Wayfare's twist on the classic BLT is exactly the same. This is a sandwich and a beer that belong together on every level.

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