Beer Pairing: Atlantic Deep Sea Red Crab
Summer is in full swing and nothing screams beach time like beer, seafood and bikinis! No chance I squeeze this sexy body into a ‘kini anytime EVER, so I think a beer pairing and review is a fair consolation, am I right? You’re still reading though, so stop cryin’ and get the skinny after the jump. Get it? Bikini? Skinny? BOOM!
Crustaceans are a very delicate food canvas, easily overpowered and not overly rich or strong in flavor. When pairing these spiny bastards with bad attitudes up with brew, it really depends on the preparation of the dish. Generally speaking, steaming/boiling is the most common prep for crab and lobster; both have similar flavor with lobster being the sweeter and crab normally being the saltier/more oceany of the two.
I picked up a couple of pounds of Atlantic Deep Sea Red Crab because they’re sort of new to the area (first recent delivery was the last week of June) and I was buggin’ trying to figure out what would go best without destroying my introduction to this specific species. Red crab is a deep sea crustacean found off the eastern coast of the US as well as in the Gulf of Mexico. They’re freakishly larger than the common blue crabs i’m accustomed to (TCRI must’ve been dumping the TMNT ooze in the ocean too) and have a sweeter crabby flavor to them. The best way I can describe a red is the perfect mix of blue crab and snow crab, long legs full of meat and thin shells that pair great with butter and even better with Old Bay & newspaper: love that shxt.
Keeping in mind these joints here are kinda delicate, I didn’t want to go the harsh IPA / DIPA route and waste my palate before I could get through a few clusters. Salt normally mellows hops and bitters out pretty well, but I usually prefer deeper flavors with my beer so that ruled out a lot of crazy sessionable brews I considered. I couldn’t make it out to my normal bottle shop and my beer fridge isn’t stocked with much of the lighter summer stuff yet (downed it all over the holiday) so I swung by my local grocer and went on the hunt for a pale ale or pils that would work; Sierra Nevada Summerfest was the best of the available bunch that fit my criteria.
Summerfest is a Summer lager brewed in the Czech Pilsener style that’s a bit hoppy but has a great balance of hop to malt. It’s thick and bready like a good lager should be, but crisp and lighter so the heat doesn’t ruin your drinking experience. It’s not a jaw dropping brew that you’ll be stashing cases of by any means, but it’s definitely hella refreshing. :tosses up dubz and c-walks while Gangsta Nation plays:
It’s not extremely high in ABV so it makes sense to pair as a session beer considering the time you spend cracking claws and shootin’ the shxt with your crew is going to put you through 4-6 bottles easily.
What I love most about this pairing is the way the seasoning and melted butter force the beer to chill the hell out and let the crab take center stage. The Perle, Saaz, Select and Spalter hops don’t disappear, they just say wattup at first sip then kinda play the background like a group of broke dudes at the strip club while the malt is up in VIP with the crab meat and butter throwing $20’s. Shout out to Papi n ‘nem at DOA!
Sierra Nevada Summer Fest
Type: Summer Lager