Braised Rabbit Tagliatelle: 3 Pairings

Table Mates by | Jan 2017 | Issue #120

In Lexington, Ky., The Village Idiot takes a seasonal approach to its menu, which changes regularly throughout the year to provide locally sourced dishes that hold their own with the 20 beers on tap. For the Braised Rabbit Tagliatelle, a popular winter item, head chef Jason Ritchey serves braised farm-raised rabbit atop fresh tagliatelle pasta in a veal demi-glace. Wild mushrooms, bacon, and roasted chestnuts provide a depth of seasonal flavors while fresh sage adds herbal complexity. Ritchey selects three beers to bring out different qualities in the dish.

Maudite | 8.0% ABV
Maudite’s steely caramels and cinnamon-like, peppercorn spice bring a toasted balance to the richness of the demi-glace, while the estery goodness of apple, cherry, and date add a fruit-forward layer to complement the mushroom and bacon complexities in the dish. The beer’s rose wine back note echoes the sage, and its carbonation also cuts through the pasta’s density.

Duchesse de Bourgogne | 6.0% ABV
Brouwerij Verhaeghe
The bright, vinegar-like acidity of this Flanders Red Ale counters the rich, savory sauce, offering a needed reprieve from this dish’s clean fats. An almost candy-like malt sweetness pairs well with the meaty sauce and then trails with nuances of cherry and red grape. The beer’s earthy and musty subtleties play up the rabbit’s slight gamey flavor, elevating the protein and the red wine character of the beer simultaneously.

Roundhouse IRA | 7.5% ABV
Bell’s Brewery
The citrusy bitterness of this Red Ale contrasts with the richness of the bacon and braised rabbit in the dish. A toasted malt backbone matches the intensity of the veal sauce, while the beer’s honey-like sweetness amplifies the savory sage and roasted chestnuts. Its malty dry finish remains floral and contributes a brightness and crispness.