The recent weather has been a preview of the beautiful Portland summer ahead so it was only fitting that a bottle of Portland Brewing S.M.A.S.H. Pale Ale arrived on my doorstep. You know I love to find beer and food combinations that work together so the wheels started turning almost immediately about what might be a fit for it. Coincidentally the current issue of Cooking Light had also just arrived and the recipe for esquites (creamy corn salad) caught my eye. Last night as I finished making the recipe, topping it with avocado and sautéed onions and garlic, thoughts of summer flooded in and those wheels that had been turning stopped in their tracks, urging me to crack open the bottle of S.M.A.S.H.
Knowing that the food would color my palate I tried the beer first and found it to be mild, perfect for summer drinking, perhaps on the sweet side. Then it was time to see how it would work with my summery corn creation. All of the sudden the Simcoe hops jumped to the forefront. Unable to resist a bit more experimentation, I gave S.M.A.S.H. a try with the roasted potatoes only to find the Goldpils Vienna malts strong-arming their way back to center stage.
It was one of the more eye opening experiments I've done recently and as a hop head I highly recommend making a big dish of esquites (preferably with the addition of avocado and/or sautéed onions and garlic) and grabbing a bottle of S.M.A.S.H. Even if the weather isn't cooperating as fully as it was for me last night you can make your own summer with this combination.