Sandwich Suds

Michael Kraus

As with soda, the classic sandwich pairing, beer's wide range of styles means there's a quaff for every sandwich. When I asked David Cichowicz, owner of Manhattan's Good Beer NYC, for recommendations, he said, "In general, you can't go wrong with lager for a sandwich," because that style's light body and mild taste "won't get in the way of the food." In particular, he likes the Augustiner-Brau EdelstoffHelles, a crisp lager from Munich's oldest brewery. It goes with everything, from Philly's salami and steak Schmitter to the sprouts-laden California sandwich. For egg-based sandwiches, Cichowicz goes even lighter; at just over 3 percent alcohol, Anchor Steam's Small Beer is an ale that harks back to pre-Revolutionary America, when this style was a popular breakfast drink. When it comes to a spicy, meaty Mexican cemita poblana or a Vietnamese banh mi, Cichowicz recommends an assertive beer, like the hoppy but balanced Cigar City Brewing Jai Alai IPA. Of course, regionality has its place in pairings too. With Southern-style pimento cheese or ham salad, the malty Abita Amber Lager from Louisiana tastes just right, while fruity Porterhouse Red from Dublin does wonders for the bacon butty. Chicken salad and other delicately flavored fillings find their match in a dry, floral, Belgian-style saison, such as Pretty Things' Jack D'Or. And for fish, usually considered a pairing challenge, Cichowicz uncorks what is perhaps the ultimate food beer: Rodenbach Grand Cru, a refreshing, sweet-sour Flanders red ale with a character more like what you'd expect from a white burgundy than a beer. —Betsy Andrews