With SeaChange launching their new and improved Wild Salmon Jerky, it was the perfect excuse to hold a celebratory taste testing party. Along with cheeses from Salt Spring Island Cheese Company and Moonstruck Organic Cheese, condiments from SaltSpring Kitchen Co, and bread from Embe Bakery, we picked up several craft beers from local breweries Saltspring Island Ales and Hoyne Brewing Company to see which beer and jerky pairings were the tastiest. SeaChange Wild Salmon Jerky comes in two flavours: ‘Natural’ is deliciously sweet and smoky with a mildness that goes well with almost anything. And ‘Korean BBQ’ (available from mid-September) kicks it up a notch with a hit of spicy pepper and garlic sauce and is incredibly addicting on its own.
We ended up trying the two jerky flavours with four different beers: the Heather Ale and Dry Porter from Saltspring Ales, and the Hoyner Pilsner and Appleton Extra Special Bitter from Hoyne. Here’s how they fared, along with some of the notes jotted down by our testers.
The Natural jerky went with pretty much every beer (it’s that versatile!) but the particularly good combinations were:
- Heather Ale – “Sweet jerky plus sweet beer is nice” and “Good combo”
- Hoyner Pilsner – “Beer has a bit of a stronger flavour that matches well”, “Yummers!”, and “Delicious together!”
- Extra Special Bitter – “Very nice” and “Great together”
The favourite beer with the Natural jerky was definitely the Pilsner, but we’d recommend any lighter, sweeter ale or pilsner – and if you’re a fan of hoppy beer with a bitter note like the Extra Special Bitter or even an IPA, then the Natural jerky is the one for you.
The Korean BBQ jerky was a little trickier to pair: because it is so assertive and delicious on its own, it needed a beer that could stand up to it without competing. In the end, we found that the Dry Porter – the only beer that we didn’t really like with the Natural jerky – was quite good with the Korean BBQ flavour. It seemed to be “bold enough to match” and it “tempered the saltiness of the jerky”, making the whole experience “smooth tasting”. We’d be interested in trying this jerky with a light Korean lager, or even soju, but we can say with certainty that a bold porter is a great pairing.
Along with the beer pairings suggested above, the Natural jerky goes really well with creamy, tangy goat cheese, briny feta, and cured olives. The Korean BBQ is good with crisp salt and vinegar potato chips – their puckery tang and crunch is a nice contrast to the spicy, chewy jerky.
We found some winning combinations for sure, but don’t just take our word for it – grab a few packs of new SeaChange Wild Salmon Jerky and your favourite craft beers and try it for yourself!