Hawthorne is the beer market bistro the ‘burbs never knew they wanted until it opened. And now, locals just can’t get enough. It could be the beer. There are sixteen rotating taps and a selection of over 80 Craft and Import bottles.
It could be the food. Fresh batches of mussels and clams are steamed before your eyes and served in different beer broths like lager cilantro garlic lime and bacon apple cream ale. The menu also features classic pub favourites made with only the freshest ingredients.
Or maybe it’s both.
After all, delicious food paired with just the right beer can take a pretty good dining experience to the next level.
As the owner of Hawthorne Beer Market & Bistro (and Vault Restaurant), Aaron Hotell gets to witness first-hand the magical marriage of craft beer and great food.
“Using locally made small batch beers allows for so many different food and beer pairings,” Hotell explains. “Local breweries are constantly trying new brews so it makes it really easy for restaurants to offer their customers new flavors.” Beer is even easier to pair with food than wine. While wine is essentially made of aged grapes, beer contains malts, hops, grains, yeast and more, and a longer list of ingredients means more flavor combinations.
“Current beer consumption is what wine was in the 90s, only with beer you get more bang for your buck,” Hotell expounds. “In the 90s our economy was in a boom; wine and food pairing was also booming. Now our economy has leveled, but people still have the desire to indulge. Beer is the perfect combination of locally made flavors at a reasonable price.”
When it comes to pairing craft beer with food, there are no rules.
“Just experiment,” Hotell advises. “Sometimes having a spiced beer with Asian food adds an extra snap. Sometimes having contrasting flavours works too, like pairing salty food with a sweeter beer. Both work.” As a general guide, he suggests thinking of light beers like white wine and darker beers like red wine. Try pairing a roast beef dinner with a nice dark ale or a porter, and fish with a light lager or pilsner.
For those looking to expand their knowledge of craft beer, Hotell offers this advice:
“Drink as many different beers as possible. If the first one you try isn’t what you are looking for, don’t give up. There are so many different styles and tastes from local producers. Once you find one you like, remember it and ask your local brewmaster, bartender or liquor store clerk what they have that is similar, but from other breweries. Before you know it you’ll have found dozens of beers similar to the style you like, but made locally.”
Check out the selection at Hawthorne Beer Market, and if you don’t fancy yourself much of a matchmaker than ask whoever’s behind the bar. They’ll recommend a pairing you’ll be sure to fall in love with.