Russo: If you want to pair, let the beer choose the menu
After 30 years of business in Bethany, DiFebo's opens on Main Street in Berlin. Produced by Ralph Musthaler
The 71st Salisbury Jaycees Christmas Parade took place Sunday, Dec. 3. Ralph Musthaler video
The town of Ocean City held its annual Christmas parade on Saturday, Dec. 2.
Ground broke on Maui Jack’s Waterpark on Chincoteague Island in November 2017. The park is slated to be completed by May 2018. Video courtesy The Cyphers Agency
AMP Studio in downtown Salisbury offers a place to play and learn. Produced by Ralph Musthaler
Now celebrating its 25th year, Ocean City's Winterfest of Lights, which will extend through December 31, officially kicked off the resort town's holiday season. Published by Reed Shelton
Ali Baba offers both Mediterranean and American food. Produced by Ralph Musthaler
The new West Main Street location will offer coffee and ice cream in addition to pie. Produced by Ralph Musthaler
After 22 years the original Dogfish Head brew pub is being torn down to make way for a new courtyard that will have an outdoor dining section and the back half will house the brewery and distillery for collaborations and brewpub exclusives. Produced by Megan Raymond
Owned by Bryan Whipple, the shop offers skateboards, apparel and accessories to local skaters. Photos by Ralph Musthaler, Produced by Meg Ryan
Ann Foultz wrote a memoir about her experience as a Girl Scout. Produced by Ralph Musthaler
Dogfish Head and RAR Brewing founders explain why craft breweries work together. Produced by Ryan Marshall and Megan Raymond
The 2nd Annual Northampton County Fair, held in Machipongo, Virginia on Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017, featured antique tractors, tractor driving contests, live music, a petting zoo, pumpkin decorating for the kids, and much more. Carol Vaughn video
The new restaurant in Sea Gull Square offers "kabob" style Chinese food as well as spicier options. Produced by Ralph Musthaler
Hundreds of seafood lovers flocked to the 45th Annual Oyster Festivel on Chincoteague, Virginia on Saturday, Oct. 7, 2017. Carol Vaughn video
The News Journal entertainment writer Ryan Cormier hosts a Facebook Live chat with Dogfish Head founder Sam Calagione at his bar and restaurant in Rehoboth Beach on Oct. 3, 2017.
Hundreds of classic cars and trucks descended on Ocean City on the weekend of Oct. 6, 2017. Todd Dudek video
100 varieties of jerky available, including exotic meats such as kangaroo and elk in addition to gourmet snacks, popcorn, nuts, spices, sauces and rubs available.
Delmarva Eastern Surfing Association held the Maryland State Surfing Championships on Saturday, Sept. 30, 2017 on the beach at 36th street in Ocean City, Md. Produced by Megan Raymond
A new sight will be welcoming visitors to Ocean City after they cross the Route 90 bridge into town — a Denny's restaurant. Wochit
Dollar stores are popping up on street corners across Delmarva, swimming against the retail sector's falling tide. Video by Jeremy Cox
The 2017 Golden Retriever Club of America National Specialty will be hosted by Wicomico Youth and Civic Center and nearby venues in both Maryland and Delaware on Sept. 22-30. Wochit
As Wicomico County prepares to celebrate its 150th anniversary, The Daily Times and DelmarvaNow.com will offer nine days of coverage, much of it recalling where we were 150 years ago and recounting the journey through time that brought us to where we are today. Wochit
An inside look at this year's event. Produced by Ralph Musthaler
Larry Parsons grew up in the restaurant business and eventually decided to his own. Produced by Ralph Musthaler
Big Oyster Brewery's expansion in Lewes will increase production by 2,500 barrels Produced by Megan Raymond
Pico Taqueria offers freshly made tortillas, with a variety of different toppings and is open during Chincoteague's summer season. Produced by Ralph Musthaler
Joe KroArt, Ocean Gallery, was honored by Maryland's Comptroller Peter Franchot Produced by Megan Raymond
The William E. Morgan Conservation Center will offer reptiles, amphibians and conservation programs. Produced by Ralph Musthaler
OC Painting Experience brought to you by T.C. Studios is a place for locals and visitors to learn about painting. Produced by Ralph Musthaler
In Ocean City, Italian bistro Ripieno's specializes in big portions, including its 28-inch large pizza. Produced by Jeff Neiburg
Zap Pro/Am World Championships of Skimboarding held its semi-finals on Friday, August 11, 2017 at Dewey Beach, Del. Produced by Megan Raymond
Hamboards allow riders to surf while on land. Here's what Don Sandusky, owner and general manager of the co., had to say about the newest model. Produced by Gray Hughes
Chef Cameron arguably Delaware's best chef, is quite literally a walking cookbook. His body and his brain are filled with the thousands of books he's read and the hundreds of places he's traveled to learn global cuisine. Produced by Megan Raymond
OC BBQ, which replaced OC Steamers, opened in May and provided a southern barbecue restaurant at the changing 45th Street Village. Wochit
An inside look at this year's event. Produced by Ralph Musthaler
Vineyard Wine Bar and Bistro is providing an upscale food and wine experience at the beach. Wochit
The new space will include an expanded dining area, fire pits, cornhole and a viewing area where customers can observe the brewing process. Produced by Ralph Musthaler
Pony Penning begins with southern and northern roundups on Assateague, the swim to Chincoteague on July 26 followed by the auction on July 27 and capped with the swim back. Wochit/Produced by Kamlesh Desai
Known for their crab cakes, Drum Point Market has gained attention from travelers from all over the country. Produced by Ralph Musthaler and Ben Penserga
A band of wild ponies gallops on Assateague Island. Video courtesy of DSC photography. Darcy Cole, DSC photography
Barn 34 in Ocean City puts the family in family restaurants. Produced by Jeff Neiburg
Highlights from the 2017 Berlin Bathtub Races. Produced by Ralph Musthaler
What's percolating in the world of coffee and coffee shops? Pemberton Coffeehouse is set to open in Salisbury — again. Deborah Gates
Chef Chris Parks has elevated the cuisine at Lupo in Rehoboth over the last few years. Produced by Jeff Neiburg
The 10th Annual Hot Dog Eating Contest at Fish Tales in Ocean City ended with a new winner being crowned!
Delmarvanow.com asks beach visitors about their favorite activities on the Fourth of July. Produced by Megan Raymond
The restaurant offers seafood, speciality pizzas and more to customers. Produced by Meg Ryan
Chris Clare went from a small town ballplayer to a minor-league All-Star. Wochit
Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot has been touring breweries in Maryland to learn about their economic impact on their respective communities. Produced by Jeff Neiburg
Alan Goldsborough of Crisfield and daughter, Heather, have opened Shipwrecked Seafood at Route 50 and Main Street in Berlin. Live, steamed and softshells to go! Deborah Gates
Ropewalk Chincoteague offers waterfront dining, a tiki bar and more. Produced by Ralph Musthaler
Near perfect weather made for an exciting air show. Produced by Ralph Musthaler
Gilligan's, on the canal waterfront in Lewes, reopened after an off-season remodel. Produced by Jeff Neiburg
Indigo in Rehoboth, a new restaurant, is one of the Delaware beach area's only Indian restaurants. Produced by Jeff Neiburg
Roadie Joe's owner talks about how his business has grown along with Salisbury. Produced by Ralph Musthaler
High Stakes Bar & Grill in Fenwick Island recently renovated. Produced by Jeff Neiburg
Rare & Rye Owner Sal Fasano describes the newest hotel restaurant in OC Produced by Megan Raymond
SoDel's Scott Kammerer at the newest Bluecoast Seafood Grill and Raw Bar Produced by Megan Raymond
Salisbury will play host to a major festival and tourism draw next year that is expected to bring in tens of millions of dollars to the city. Video by Keith Demko
Peter and Linda Roskovich's family beach home will be featured on HGTV's "Beachfront Bargin Hunt: Renovation" Produced by Megan Raymond
Take a virtual walk along the Ocean City Boardwalk while checking out some of the sounds and sights. Produced by Gray Hughes
Burley Oak Brewing Company is aiming for a July opening for a new, coffee-inspired cafe in downtown Berlin. Wochit
Local fans of HGTV’s television show, “House Hunters,” will soon see their hometown in an upcoming episode. Wochit
Downtown Salisbury Festival returns June 2-4 with with carnival rides, food vendors, craft beer, a full entertainment lineup and local vendors. Wochit
- WATCH: DiFebo's Restaurant opens in Berlin
- Watch: Salisbury holds Christmas Parade
- Watch: Ocean City holds its Christmas Parade
- WATCH: A time lapse video of Chincoteague waterpark groundbreaking
- WATCH: Local studio provides area youth a place to perform
- WATCH: Ocean City's 25th Annual Winterfest of Lights
- WATCH: New Mediterranean restaurant opens in Salisbury
- WATCH: The Ugly Pie has a new home
- WATCH: Original Dogfish Head brew pub gets demolished
- WATCH: Downtown Salisbury welcomes Lurking Class Skate Shop
- WATCH: Longtime Girl Scout reflects on her 'unusual' life
- Watch: Why Dogfish Head and RAR Brewing collaborate on beers
- WATCH: Scenes from the 2nd Annual Northampton Agricultural County Fair
- WATCH: Chuar brings authentic Chinese food to Salisbury
- WATCH: 45th Annual Chincoteague Oyster Festival
- Thirst State Craft Crawl - Dogfish Head
- WATCH: OC Endless Summer Cruisin' 2017
- WATCH: Beef jerky Outlet store opening in Rehoboth
- Delmarva Eastern Surf Association Maryland State Championships
- WATCH: New Denny's coming to former home of JR's Ribs in Ocean City.
- WATCH: Why dollar stores are sweeping across Delmarva
- WATCH: National golden retriever show coming to Delmarva
- WATCH: Recalling Wicomico County's 150th Anniversary
- WATCH: Scenes from 58th Annual Skipjack Race
- WATCH: Woody's Beach BBQ owner keeps it simple
- WATCH: Big Oyster Brewery to open in Lewes
- WATCH: Pico Taqueria brings Mexican American fare to Chincoteague
- WATCH: Ocean Gallery honored by Maryland Comptroller
- WATCH: Salisbury Zoo cuts ribbon for new conservation center
- WATCH: Local art studio offers visitors a chance to relax and paint
- WATCH: Ripieno's in Ocean City does big portions
- WATCH: Zap Pro/Am World Championships of Skimboarding semi-finals
- WATCH: Surf on land with Hamboards
- WATCH: Chef's Corner- Chef Hari Cameron a(muse.)
- WATCH: OC BBQ offers Southern eats in a former seafood restaurant
- WATCH: Scenes from the 41st annual J. Millard Tawes Crab and Clam Bake
- WATCH: A new wine experience in Rehoboth
- WATCH: Evolution plans outdoor expansion with green space
- Pony Penning 2017: What to expect
- WATCH: Smith Island store draws people from afar
- Chincoteague ponies kick up their heels
- WATCH: Barn 34 in Ocean City a family affair
- WATCH: Scenes from the 28th Bathub Races
- WATCH: Pemberton Coffeehouse set to reopen
- WATCH: Chef Chris Parks shining at Lupo in Rehoboth
- WATCH: 10th Annual Hot Dog Eating Contest at Fish Tales in Ocean City
- WATCH: What is your favorite thing to do on the Fourth?
- WATCH: Buxy's owner expands business footprint with newly opened Dry Dock 28
- WATCH: Shorebirds All-Star sets the bar high
- WATCH: Comptroller Franchot rallying craft beer industry
- WATCH: Shipwrecked in Berlin
- WATCH: Ropewalk Chincoteague brings waterfront dining to both locals and visitors
- WATCH: Air Show draws a big crowd to Ocean City
- WATCH: Gilligan's in Lewes opens after remodel
- WATCH: Indigo in Rehoboth serves rare Indian cuisine
- WATCH: Roadie Joe's serves up sophisticated pub fare
- WATCH: High Stakes renovates in Fenwick
- WATCH: Rare & Rye isn't the average hotel restaurant
- WATCH: SoDel's Bluecoast Seafood Grill open in Rehoboth
- WATCH: Salisbury lands National Folk Festival starting in 2018
- WATCH: HGTV Beachfront Bargin Hunt comes to Ocean City
- WATCH: Sights and sounds of the Ocean City Boardwawlk
- WATCH: Burley Oak to open cafe in Berlin
- WATCH: Couple brings 'House Hunters' to Salisbury
- Downtown Salisbury Festival
Possibly the biggest change in the larger craft beer culture in the last 30 years has been the notion of pairing food with beer.
It isn’t that it’s a new thing. On the contrary, when craft beer had its earliest breakthroughs in the 1990s, it was fueled by the picture of beer as a foodie’s choice of beverage.
People started to see craft beer as a wine-like meal complement without the pretense. It could (and still can) improve a meal considerably, but regular diners didn’t have to rely on a sommelier to make that happen.
Instead, all they had to do was take the time to notice that craft beer had complex flavors and let those flavors inform her overall experience.
In fact, it was craft beer’s wild success as a fine dining alternative that spurred the wine industry into a new “accessibility” phase. The idea of just finding a wine you like, regardless of color or what “the man” said was appropriate to the beef, chicken or fish you planned on eating changed the vintners practice and approach by the first decade of the 21st century.
Now, it feels as if there’s a vague pressure to know just the right beer, rather than wine, to have with dinner. Craft beer pairings are where wine pairings were in the 1980s. Better restaurants have a Cicerone (essentially a beer sommelier) and the places that really care about beer offer pairings on their menu.
To be clear, this is an awesome development for people who love craft beer. It also makes a ton of sense for restaurants that want to be helpful for people who want to pair their beer with their dinner but don’t know how.
If there’s any downside at all, it is the specter of pretense that can come along with things like food pairings and professional beer suggesters. But for people who are interested in trying to let their craft beer choice help improve their meal experience, it’s important to remember that the central thing about craft beer, what separates it from all other would-be pairing choices, is accessibility.
Once you recognize that craft beer has its own flavors and that those flavors can help to improve the dining experience, you are further along than you even know. The real complexity comes with the depth of diversity you’ll find on even a regular craft beer menu.
For example, “IPA” has become a beer style that is as descriptive as “white wine” or “whiskey.” Just as there is a chasm between, say, Sauvignon Blanc and Moscato, there can be significant differences between IPAs. Similarly, words like hoppy, fruity, bitter and malty have a lot of different meanings to a lot of different people.
The most important thing you need to know about starting to pair beers with your meal is to give them a second before drinking them. Ice cold beer is an American myth that comes from a beer culture that, generally, wasn’t making beer with flavor.
Cold is an enemy of full flavor. Frosty mugs and low temperatures disguise mediocre tastes. I’m not suggesting to let your beer get warm, but especially at this time of year when brown and black beers are really prevalent, let the beer you’re served come down a few before you drink it.
After that, choosing a beer is as much about what you like as what you’re eating.
So, baseline: If you want to start to let your beer improve your meal, start with what you like to drink and work outward. Despite what you may have been led to believe, when you’re getting started in pairing foods with beers, it’s easiest when you pick a beer you already like to drink and find a food that complements the beer.
In that way, pairing is a lot like those “magic eye” pictures that were so popular. No one could tell you how to see them, but once you figured it out on your own, it was a piece of cake. The next time you have a beer, just ask yourself what you like about its flavor. If you order something that goes well with it, you’ll get the “trick” and from there, the world is your oyster.
The shortest version is that based on how bitter or hoppy you like an IPA, order something proportionately spicy. Tried and true favorites, like Dogfish Head’s 60 Minute or Evolution’s Lot 3 are going to improve things like wings, Chinese and Indian food in ways that have to be experienced to be believed.
For every fruitiness that you like, (grapefruit, pineapple, blood orange, etc.) add a greater element of barbecue. The fruit takes the zing of a spicy-fruity sauce to new levels. But, to be honest, if the beer is anywhere in the “yellow-to-golden” spectrum, it’s going to complement spicy foods.
If wheat beers are your thing, notice the citrus aspect the next time you have one. Try it with a broiled fish or a greens-heavy dish or even a salad (bonus points for a Caesar salad). It will cut the salt in a really refreshing way and bolster any fruits.
Stouts and porters
If these are your favorite beers, it’s because of the chocolate or coffee smokiness (or, maybe just the relief from bitterness). So if it is charred on a grill, there’s going to be some complements there.But if you’re interested in a counterpoint, letting the smokiness come from the beer to bolster the lack of smokiness in your food, try it with any hardy soup (tomato is a personal favorite).
In general terms, there is not one dessert that can’t be improved by a sweet/spicy alcohol-heavy Belgian beer. But it isn’t an exclusively dessert beer. It’s awesome with fried things, especially when the primary flavor is fried, because it complements the thickness while adding flavor where it often can be missing.
Trade your pilsner or lager out for a Belgian with fish and chips. for example, and everything will work out fine.
Beer flavored beer
Speaking of which, pilsners, lagers and pale ales are on the rise among craft breweries. So, if you’ve been afraid of craft beer, these are the ones to try.
As I mentioned earlier, these don’t taste super gross if they aren’t brain-freezingly cold and are awesome “corporate beer” substitutes for everything from burgers to Mexican food.
There are tons of opinions and resources on the internet that will tell you either the exact same things or the complete opposite, but finding your own ways and preferences is the most satisfying way to learn to pair beers.
Cheese is a whole separate issue, but follows the same general principles, think of the beer, then of the cheese and you’ll be fine. There is no cheese on this planet that is not improved by one beer or another. The most important thing to remember is drink what you like and be happy.