TO PAIR DRINKS AND DINNER
Here are three pairing ideas from He Said Beer, She Said Wine by sommelier Marnie Old and brewer Sam Calagione (DK Publishing, $25) to get you out of your rut. (Look for beers in well-stocked liquor stores.)
Sushi and . . .
Beer: A wheat beer such as Avery White Rascal. The malty backbone stands up to wasabi, but it's subtle enough not to drown sushi's delicate flavors. About $10 a six-pack.
Wine: French Champagne is complex but won't overwhelm sushi's subtle flavors. Varying prices.
Sirloin steak and . . .
Beer: A brown ale such as Chimay Premiere. Calagione considers a complex, fruity brown ale a better match than a dry, tannic red wine. About $11 for a 25.4-ounce bottle.
Wine: A Napa Valley cabernet sauvignon. Classic match for steak on the grill: a big, complex red. Varying prices.
Glazed ham and . . .
Beer: An English old ale such as Theakston Old Peculier. Sweet and salty flavors need a smooth, mellow beer partner. About $7 to $9.50 a six-pack.
Wine: A delicate pinot noir is a soft, silky red for a salty-sweet meat. Varying prices.
Food, wine celebrations
The Tampa Bay tasting season heads into its final grand course before the sweaty summer sets in. Besides the Tampa Bay Wine & Food Festival (see story at far right), the remaining schedule includes:
• More than 30 restaurants will serve up their best in Vinoy Park in downtown St. Petersburg May 30-June 1 for the annual Taste of Pinellas. Musical menu includes Rick Springfield, Jonny Lang and Eddie Money. Proceeds benefit All Children's Hospital. For more information, go to www.allkids.org.
• Sarasota Originals, an alliance of 24 independent restaurants, hosts Forks & Corks June 5-8, with winemaker dinners, $25 prix-fixe menus, a Champagne party, a grand tasting and a day of culinary seminars. For information, see www.fresh
Wine of the week
ONE, 2004 Pierre Sparr, Alsace
A pleasant all-in-one tour of the borderland vineyards, where the grapes are German but the winemaking palate is French and dry.
Unlike most, ONE is a blend of all the region's grapes, a new idea for old Alsace. You can pick out most of them. The flowers and peach in the nose come from muscat and gewurz; a round, full body from pinot blanc; there's a tart apricot middle and a clean, racy riesling finish.
The 2004 vintage was not a grand year for Alsace but Sparr had fun with this and you could too — all summer. Chill it for salads, seafood or Asian food.
Availability: $10 selected wine and liquor stores.