For those of us urbanites who call downtown San Diego home, we sure do have a wide selection of dining choices within walking distance. In fact, within our local neighborhoods can be found almost any type of food and wine we could want. From the Gaslamp and Little Italy to the up and coming Ballpark District and East Village, the selection is tremendous. But what about the beer selection downtown? Can we find great food paired with great beer downtown?
San Diego is fast becoming a national hot spot for great craft beer and you can find great local establishments celebrating beer with food from Oceanside to the border. However, only a few downtown locales can boast a beer selection that complements their gourmet food quite like Neighborhood.
Neighborhood is, for no better description, a great neighborhood bar that has mastered the local hangout with style, good conversation, and great food paired with great beer. Located in the East Village, Neighborhood is a unique take on the classic gastropubs of London and izakayas of Japan. Featuring 27 craft brews on tap and many more by the bottle, the focus lies on pairing these great beers with straightforward and eclectic American fare.
With so many beers to choose from, a number of perfect pairings can be made for each menu item. The mouth coating flavors of the Pink Salted Deviled Eggs with Artichoke mousse and paprika are complemented nicely by the citrus and bubblegum notes found in Lost Abbey’s “Witches Wit”. A perfect match for the summer weather.
Looking for something a little more full bodied? Try the Steak Tartar with capers, red onions, and roasted pepper remoulade paired with any full-bodied Belgian Trappist or Abbey ale. I prefer the Allagash “Curieux” with its vanilla notes, a hint of spiciness, and toasty oak contributed through aging in bourbon barrels. At 10% alcohol by volume, this beer has the strength to stand up to some of boldest flavors while not being overly potent.
Any of the fine burgers served at Neighborhood can be enhanced through a pairing with American Pale Ale or IPA (India Pale Ale). The forward hop flavors in these beer styles will cut through the huge palate of flavors burgers can provide. From the sautéed mushrooms and marsala wine sauce of the Mushroom Marsala Burger to the caramelized onions and blue gruyere cheese of the Neighborhood Burger, pale ales and IPA’s can slice right through the savory flavors of the beef and cheese, while complementing the condiments and toppings with a medium-bodied fruity and malty flavor.
American Brown Ales can equally pair well with burgers. Alesmith’s Nautical Nut Brown Ale is beautifully paired with the Neighborhood Burger as well. The caramelized onions and grilled beef are a wonderful companion to the heavy use of caramel and other specialty malts in most brown ales. Brown ales are lightly hopped lending themselves to a more harmonious match rather than the slicing bitterness of pale ales and IPA’s.
Not in the mood for red meat? Try the Butter Poached Black Mussels with braised leeks and a pint of Avery Fifteen. Avery Brewing’s fifteenth anniversary ale is a tart and fruity beer modeled after traditional wild yeast farmhouse ales of Belgium. Brewed with figs, hibiscus flowers, and white pepper, this beer marries well with the earthiness of the mussels and leeks while enhancing the richness of the butter.
If you are not in the mood for trial and error when it comes to pairing great food with great beer, not to worry. The fine professionals at Neighborhood will be more than happy to help you out. Neighborhood has a number of different beer samplers composed to help you experience the variety of flavors available. Additionally, Neighborhood is currently working on a bottle tapping system similar to a gas-preserving wine keeper that will allow customers to try a selection of bottled beers before you commit to purchasing one. This is great way to try some of those hard to find or rare beers and open up your palate to new flavor profiles.
Debuting this month at Neighborhood is a beer and food pairing plate that will be available on select entrées. At your request, your entrée can be paired perfectly with three different 4 oz. beer samples. Your plate comes framed with your three beers and ready to enhance your dining experience, no added effort on your part.
In the downtown area, I can think of no better place to enjoy the widest selection of fine craft beers around paired with delectable food. Neighborhood truly has embraced the craft beer revolution going on nationally and, with style and flavor, is trying to pass that passion on to us in a comfortable setting. So take your dining more seriously and begin properly pairing your food and drink. Once you experience the pleasures of proper dining, you’ll never go back. Cheers!
Neighborhood is located at 777 G St, San Diego, CA 92101