Beer & Food Matching: Yards Philadelphia Ale with Steamed Mussels and Clams

More copper colored than pale, pale ale is a British invention with a yeasty fruitiness and a dry hoppy finish, though not as hoppy as India pale ale. The fruitiness in the Yards Philadelphia Pale Ale leans toward citrus. It is lean and clean with lovely floral notes and a crisp, slightly bitter finish.

The floral and citrus notes went well with the seasoning in the broth (fresh herbs, garlic, onions), which also included a bottle of the beer. Its relatively low alcohol, 4.6 percent, didn’t accentuate the hot pepper flakes in the broth. And the crisp, clean, and tart finish kept the palate from tiring out. Finally, the Yards was light enough to compliment the seafood but with just enough body to avoid being overshadowed.

(Here is some general information on beer and food matching.)

Clams and Mussels Steamed in Beer

(Adapted from “Real Beer and Good Eats” by Bruce Aidells and Denis Kelly, Knopf)

  • One 12-ounce bottle lager beer
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ½ teaspoon dried pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons each, chopped parsley leaves and thyme leaves
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 3 dozen littleneck or topneck clams
  • 2 pounds mussels
  • 2 tablespoons butter

1)In a Dutch oven or other large heavy bottom pot, mix all the ingredients except the seafood and butter. Cover and put over high heat until it reaches a boil.

2)Add the clams and mussels, stir and cover. Have a large serving bowl ready. After a few minutes, remove the cover and put any mussels or clams that have opened into the bowl. Cover and shake the pot. After a few minutes, uncover and remove any other opened clams or mussels. Repeat this process until all the shellfish has opened. Discard any that do not open.

3)Cover the bowl with foil. Strain the cooking broth through cheesecloth into a saucepan. Put over medium-high heat and whisk in the butter. As soon as the butter has been incorporated, pour the broth over the mussels. Serve with crusty bread. Serves 4.

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