The Baby Kale: 3 Pairings

Table Mates by | May 2017 | Issue #124

Located in Kansas City, Mo., Beer Kitchen offers an esoteric selection of beer with a regional focus from 16 taps coupled with elevated casual food. One of its most popular salads, The Baby Kale, features baby kale, shredded Tillamook cheddar cheese, house-made pretzel croutons, bourbon-soaked white raisins, and dried cranberries topped with a Granny Smith apple vinaigrette. Randyl Danner, Beer Kitchen’s Certified Cicerone, suggests three pairings to accentuate the salad’s fresh flavors.

Orval Trappist Ale | 6.2% ABV
Brasserie d’Orval
Sweet malt character in this Trappist ale highlights the bourbon-soaked white raisins, while its effervescent carbonation cuts through the richness of Tillamook cheddar. Baby kale, a bitter leafy green, holds its own alongside the earthy quality of Orval’s hop bitterness. Fruitiness from multiple yeasts and cellaring mimics tart berries and dances across your tongue with the salad’s tangy cranberries and green apple dressing.

Tank 7 Farmhouse Ale | 8.5% ABV
Boulevard Brewing Co.
This Kansas City staple is dry-hopped with the fruity Amarillo variety, which balances the kale’s bitterness, while grapefruit hop notes cut through the sweet-tart character of the apple dressing. Soft, sweet malt plays with the pretzel croutons and draws out the rich vanilla of the bourbon-soaked white raisins, as the beer’s dry, peppery finish refreshes the palate for the next bite.

Aunt Sally | 5.7% ABV
Lagunitas Brewing Co.
The light sourness of this dry-hopped sour ale complements the salad’s tart and slightly acidic vinaigrette dressing. Meanwhile, the beer’s hoppiness coupled with tart lemon notes transforms the kale into a sweeter green, and the cracker-like malt is a perfect combination with the house-made pretzel croutons.