When we held the inaugural Shore Craft Beer Fest: OCToberfest in Ocean City’s Sunset Park we were only able to get one food truck, and that was pushing it. Although the mobile restaurants were becoming prevalent on the Eastern Shore there weren’t a lot of opportunities for them at craft beer festivals generally and it took a little while for it to be clear that no one likes great food like people who are drinking great beer. Today it is something of a given that there will be lots of food options at a beer festival. We’ll have six trucks or purveyors at our Shore Craft Beer Fest: Chincoteague.
Just as craft breweries try and distinguish themselves, we try and distinguish our events from other festivals. The first way we distinguished Shore Craft Beer Fests was by making them all and only local. Beer that isn’t made on the peninsula is excluded from our festivals because we want people to get a taste of all the craft craft beers that are made on Delmarva.
Starting with the SCBF: Chincoteague, we’re making an effort to pair the beers and the different foods the vendors will be serving. It’s a way of challenging both the brewers, the chefs and the general public to see all the culinary possibilities the Shore provides.
Because it is Chincoteague, oysters and Eastern Shore seafood generally will play a significant part in the pairings. Oyster Stouts are big, vaguely salty beers brewed with actual oysters to make a complementary pairing with the great ESVA oysters for sure. But as more beers are announced, it will be fun to be even more imaginative with the different pairing possibilities.
For example, the Island Creamery will be serving tiny scoops that can be made into beer floats with just the right pairing. I’d suggest something roasty and chocolaty to emulate a root beer float experience but depending upon the ice cream flavor you prefer (let’s say you’re one of those strawberry people) the right IPA might just make those fruit flavors pop.
Fish tacos, for example, would be well complemented by the right sour beer. Limes, lemons, orange and other citrus often appear prominently in sour beers and we’re likely to see at least a few in this fest.
Of course, if beer was made to go with one thing other than pizza it would be fried stuff. Softer IPAs, Pilsners and Saisons accompany everything from fried chicken to crab cakes. In this case, the world is more than your oyster.