I had the pleasure of kicking off last year's San Diego Beer Week with an event at Stone World Bistro & Gardens that was equal parts indulgent and degenerate. This first annual Beer for Breakfast affair was an opportunity for some to experiment pairing breakfast standards with the expansive craft-brew palate, or, as I call this combination, “breakfast.”
While stumbling out of the event, it occurred to me that it was something of a misnomer. What I had just experienced was better described as “Breakfast for Breakfast with Some Beer.” That isn't nearly as catchy, but I had to admit that I had a point. What would a worthy breakfast meal composed only of beer look like?
Annoyances like reality make formulating a nutritionally sound beer breakfast impractical, but it's surprisingly simple to mock up the breakfast experience. A solid hefeweizen (or a piss-poor one in my example) brings the bright citrus tones of OJ and malty notes of a wheat toast. Mikkeller's “Rauch Geek Breakfast” delivers a roasted, smoky character akin to coffee served with a bacon swizzle stick. The addition of an oatmeal stout brings things full circle as a hearty staple-beer capable of tiding you over until Beer for Lunch.
(You could also swap out the morning Makers Mark with a bourbon-treated beer, but remember that breakfast is the most important meal of the day and should be well-balanced.)
For those who insist on sullying the breakfast experience with comestibles, “Dr.” Bill Sysak, Stone's beverage coordinator and pairing guru, had some offerings to consider. “Belgian Wits, Saisons, & Hefe-Weizens are really versatile beers and pair well with fruit based breakfasts, yogurts, and nutty cereals,” he said in an email. “Beers with roasted malt character like Dunkles, Brown Ales, Porters are great with bacon and breakfast sausages.”
He further recommends exploring the following: fried chicken and waffles paired with Malheur 12; Cocoa Pebbles paired with Youngs Double Chocolate Stout; lox and bagels paired with Stone Smoked Porter; and maple bars with a Belgian Quadrupel.
So, who's thirsty for breakfast?