Chefs Take to the Brew Kettle

News by | Oct 2015 | Issue #105

While exploring wine pairings for her year-old restaurant Chauhan Ale & Masala House, Maneet Chauhan recalled beer as the pairing of choice growing up in India. “It truly is the best pairing for Indian food,” says the chef and Food Network TV personality. “This led to quite an epiphany—we had plans to incorporate Indian spices into our cocktails, but why not brew with these spices as well?”

With the opening of Mantra Artisan Ales in Nashville later this year, Chauhan joins a growing number of chefs turning their attention to the brew kettle. “Being a chef has had a great impact on how I pair the spices and flavors, like cardamom and saffron being a natural marriage,” explains Chauhan. Master brewer Derrick Morse, formerly of Cool Springs Brewery, will bring her ideas to life in a core lineup including a Milk Chai Stout and a Saffron Cardamom IPA.

In Chicago, James Beard award winner Justin Aprahamian brings a chef’s mindset to ingredient selection at Like Minds Brewing Co., which he founded with friend John Lavelle. “We will approach beers with seasonality in mind from an ingredient and style standpoint,” says Aprahamian, pointing to a summer cucumber Kölsch as an example. Beers are expected to hit streets in late October, with a beer-and-food focused taproom opening later.

Cruz Blanca, a brewery by celebrity chef Rick Bayless of Frontera Grill is also slated to open in Chicago in early 2016. La Guardia, the brewery’s flagship, is a Biére de Garde brewed with Mexican influences like hominy, epazote, lime peel and coriander and was designed in collaboration with Perennial Artisan Ales brewmaster Phil Wymore.

And in a suburb of Seattle, chef John Howie added b to his stable of restaurants in August. Drew Cluley, of Pike Brewing and Big Time Brewing, heads the pub’s 10-barrel brewery, while Howie, of the Zagat-rated John Howie Steak, crafts a beer-centric menu “not only in pairings, but in creating foods that are made with beer, too,” he says.