Thursday, October 14, 2010

Beer/Pie Pairings with Amy and Joe

Did you know Curran’s Restaurant has Pie Happy Hour? I kid you not. From 2pm to 5pm and from 7pm to close, you can waltz in there and have a slice of pie for a dollar.

This is the kind of friendly customer-centric, get-‘em-in-the-door promotion I’d expect from Curran’s. They have been a neighborhood standard for more than sixty years. Think of a homegrown Perkin’s or Country Kitchen with career waitstaff. The clientele is a mix of families, elders, and high school couples on weeknight dates. So it is a little bit of a surprise to learn that Curran’s also has a long list of foreign, domestic, and craft beers in bottles.

Are you thinking what I’m thinking?

My friend Joe and I headed over for a flight of beer and pie. We ordered two beers and two slices of pie each. We split each beer and managed to eke out eight bites from each slice, eight sips from each half-beer. Our tasting notes are transcribed below. We were, in spite of ourselves, surprised by what we learned.

The worst beer overall, to my chagrin, was my own longtime favorite: Summit EPA. It performed poorly with every pie we tried, although it was tolerable with apple. Apple, we found, was the all-around good beer companion. While it did not excel with any beer we tasted, it made an acceptable sidekick to all of them. “The Will Smith of the pies,” remarked Joe.

The worst pie was blueberry. Curran’s blueberry pie is nothing to write home about in the first place; it’s an uninspired assembly of canned blueberry filling and pale crust. But had it been a better pie, it would only have been a bigger shame to eat it with beer. Time after time, flavors clashed like a pair of second-rate drag queens angling for the same spot on the dance floor. The Summit EPA and blueberry pairing was a complete loser.

The overall best match was Blue Moon and pumpkin. Curran’s tremblingly tender custard tastes strongly of fresh pumpkin and nutmeg. When that flavor combines with smooth, clean Blue Moon, it’s a magical moment.

So what’s next for beer/pie pairings? Curran’s has other beers to try, other pies to probe. Maybe a beer/pie potluck, where everyone brings either a six-pack or a pastry?

Beer and Pie Tasting Notes
Click to enlarge!


  1. "The Will Smith of pies" is the funniest line I have heard in a long time.

  2. When Joe said it, all I could picture was Will Smith dragging an alien in a parachute from that "Independence Day" movie. Except now in my imagination he is dragging a giant apple pie.


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