Pickled herring is a recent favorite of mine, though it’s a not a new idea–it’s a true old-school European staple. Sour, salty, and a bit sweet, the bright cold oceanic flavors of pickled herring make a lot of sense in Seattle’s maritime climate. While a common drink pairing for Scandinavian cultures would often be aquavit or snaps, I also enjoy it with a roasty, balanced porter!
You should be able to find pickled herring in a specialty section of many grocery stores, but it’s also not terribly hard to make yourself. You can also play with the spicing and sweetness level that way. I have been enjoying Hank Shaw’s Swedish Pickled Herring recipe. I used Pacific herring for my batch which you should totally do if you can find it (unless you are actually closer to the Atlantic). Find a porter that is balanced: not too bitter and not too sweet. It’s out there, I promise.
Three Reasons This Pairing Works
Good porters aren’t always easy to find. Georgetown Brewing‘s 9lb Porter is a classic Seattle option, and I particularly like Farmstrong Brewing’s Porter. And of course there is always reliable Black Butte from Deschutes for a more distribution-friendly option.
Cheers to fish and beer!