Beer or Wine – The Perfect Philly Cheesesteak Pairing?

As a foodie and an admirer of both craft beer and fine wines, I often wonder what the perfect food pairing is.  What follows is a monthly debate on just that.  Once a month I’ll toss out a food for pairing suggestions from my fellow beer geeks and wine nerds.  Some dishes will come with a convention that popular opinion dictates a specific pairing.  Other posts will present a dish that is a toss-up between beer or wine.  I look forward to hearing your suggestions in this conversation.  Be creative, challenge norms, have fun, and check back often to read what others have to say.  

This month’s food pairing challenge comes to us from The Wandering Sheppard.  What is your perfect beer or wine pairing with a classic Philadelphia Cheesesteak?  I realize that many restaurants have bastardized the City of Brotherly Love’s beloved sandwich much like they have chicken wings.  After all, variety sells right?  I’m talking authentic here – thin sliced beef, sautéed peppers and onions, melted cheese, white Italian role.  What would you sip with it?

What is Your Perfect Philly Cheesesteak Pairing?

What is Your Perfect Philly Cheesesteak Pairing?

Me?  I need something with bite.  That means wine is out.  And no, hopheads, the bite I’m talking about isn’t coming from some ridiculously over hopped so bitter that I feel like I just sucked on a lemon IPA.  I’d reach for Stone’s Arrogant Bastard.  Something with strong malts and strong hops that literally bites back when I sip it.  It’s bold flavor profile would match perfect with the many flavors of the cheesesteak, including the grease.  If an Oaked Arrogant Bastard is available, even better!

34 responses to “Beer or Wine – The Perfect Philly Cheesesteak Pairing?

  1. Definitely not wine. I agree with your leaning–something malty–hoppy. Perfect would be my husband’s malty-hoppy home brew. He called, simply, Number 9 (like a train engine; because it was his 9th recipe).

      • I know–it’s not fair. He came up with Number 9 in 1995.

        We’re not set up to brew right now–have recently moved and have a lot of irons in the fire. But we hope to get back to it when things settle down. He has some fabulous recipes, and only one major failure. We called it “Wild Yeast-Banana-Hefe Weisse.” It was still drinkable, but definitely wild.

      • I “cheated” and googled. I believe it was “Eat Philly” mentioned Champagne is the a good choice. But you can argue Champagne is great with anything (i.e. the Wings & Dom Perignon combo at Hooters). It then mentioned Grenache Blanc, which I have never had.

        The problem with my little enigma is you have this fatty, thinly slice of heaven paired with cheese (which can vary based on personal preference) and onions. So, crazy acidity going on with the onions and the fatty meat whining for some tannins. So for the fatty meat, you could go Barolo. But Barolo’s can be pricey and does a $7 sandwich warrant such an expenditure (which sounds like a great challenge cheap food pairing with beer / wine – what do you pair with a Big Mac!) I was thinking Pinot Noir would be great if it’s silky, smooth just like my 90′s R&B mix tapes. Or a simple Petit Syrah, like the Drops of Jupiter (yes, Train’s guitarist makes wine) that would be simple and fruity to play with the fruit.

        As far as beer pairing, I am thinking rock it with some Bad Penny from Big Boss or maybe some 1554 from Fat Tire. I had some dark beers with pork belly, so I could see the fatty steak matching well here.

  2. I’m going wine all the way, Rhone Valley, France. More specifically, Southern Rhone reds from either the Vacqueryas or Gigondas appellations.

  3. Dang your mind-teasers that make me hungry AND thirsty! I would have to go with a pale or dark ale. I think some strong malts would compliment the cooked bread, and the hops would cut through the grease.

  4. Pingback: Winner Winner, now you choose Dinner (What do food do you want to pair?) | The Wandering Sheppard·

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