Kevin McDonald, GM of Cordova Flying Saucer, has struck upon a pretty sweet idea for Valentine’s — literally. Each Valentine’s Day he and his wife, Debbie, painstakingly hand dip hundreds of strawberries in a variety of chocolates and toppings and pair them with some of the very best craft beers. The strawberry and beer pairings are offered up as a flight for Beerknurds to enjoy. It’s a fun way to incorporate the traditional aspects of Valentine’s Day with the craft beer we love so much here at Flying Saucer. It’s also a great tradition that Kevin and his wife enjoy each year.
We wanted to get the scoop on how the event came to be and get Kevin’s expert tips on pairing beer and Valentine’s treats.
How did the strawberry and beer pairing idea come to be and how long have you been doing this?
My wife has dipped strawberries in dark chocolate for a few of our neighbors around Valentine’s day. One year, I was enjoying a Deschutes The Abyss and stole one of her strawberries. The flavors were unbelievable together, so we started experimenting with different toppings and craft beers to see if would could make a flight for the Saucer that guests would enjoy. We weren’t really sure how it would go over so we only dipped 100 strawberries – four per flight. We sold out in five minutes! This will be year five of StrawBEERy Flights for Valentine’s Day and we’ll dip 400 strawberries.
Who decides the pairings? How much thought goes into it? Do you change it up each year?
We experiment, try new things, and switch it up every year. She only likes particular beer styles so I do the pairings.
Do you two literally hand dip each strawberry? How long does that take?
We hand dip and top each one individually. It will probably take us about six hours this year.
Can you give us the scoop and let us know what this year’s pairings are?
This year will be:
- Dipped strawberry with basil — paired with a saison
- Dipped strawberry with sea salt — paired with an IPA
- Dipped strawberry with caramel & black pepper — paired with a brown
- Dipped strawberry with bacon — paired with a bourbon barrel stout
Any advice on pairing beer with chocolate or any Valentine’s treats?
There are really no rules, try anything you can think of. Some guests enjoy flavor profiles that compliment while others like contrasting flavors, so the door is really open to anything you want to try. As long as you are using great ingredients and the best craft brews you can find you can’t go wrong.
Thank you to Kevin for taking the time to fill us in. All Cordova Knurds need to go go check out the pairings he and Debbie have put together. Remember beer pairs well with ANYTHING. We have plenty of advice for pairing beer with whatever you may be eating this Valentine’s — savory or sweet. And across all Saucers tonight, the 2018 Flying Saucer Valentine’s Glass will be dropping at 7PM. You definitely don’t want to miss it.