Monday, October 18, 2010

Fish and Chips and Beer

Perhaps growing up with an English mother has colored my perception, but I think nothing goes quite as good together with beer (and with Oregon's British-style climate) as fish and chips.  A nice porter or stout and a plate of F&C is mu idea of a match made in heaven. 

I have blogged extensively about my search for great fish and chips in Oregon in my other blog as too often F&C are botched and as good as the meal is done well, done badly it is almost inedible.  The standard here is pretty good, but I have had a few disasters.  By very happy accident, my very favorite fish and chips are those served by my local: the Oaks Bottom Public House. 

This is a Lompoc outlet and as I have never had them at the other places I cannot say anything about their quality elsewhere, but at the Oaks Bottom they are perfect: tender, moist and flaky fish in a medium batter fried to perfection.  I have been at both quiet and very busy times and the quality varies a little, but it goes from very good to excellent.

I was there on Saturday night and it was slammed, but the F&C was still of the very good variety.  Plus the little pub now has a TV (silent and unobtrusive) but perfect for me to keep an eye on my bloved Badgers as they defeated the evil Ohio State Buckeyes.  

Lompoc also always has their Sockeye Cream Sout on nitro available which is, to my mind, the perfect pairing.  And the Sockeye stout is a light and quaffable beer, perfect for a session in the gray and dank Portland winter. 

Though the beer and greasy food connection is, lamentably, laregly responsible for the distain of beer paired with finer food, there is no misktaking that the two do complement each other well.  Perhaps because of the proletarian roots of both there is more than just a regular connection - it is almost engrained in the very social fiber of beer. 

Here is a quick summary of my take on local F&C (i.e. Portland):


Oaks Bottom
Fish and Chip Shop

Decent and/or too fancy:

Deschutes Portland Pub
Pilsner Room/McCormick and Schmicks
Rogue Ale House


McMenamins (can be great but terribly inconsistent - don't risk it)
Thirsty Lion

The most glaring omission here is the Horse Brass where (stunningly, I admit) I have never sampled the fish and chips.


Jeff Alworth said...

Have you looked at the correlation between fish type and quality. Cod tends to be "meh" while halibut provides a richer, flakier F&C experience. At least, thems my findings.

Patrick Emerson said...

Oh yes, in the NW avoid cod at all costs. In England, perhaps due to fresher cod, it is not as bad, but here is a generally terrible - tasteless and rubbery. Halibut is the fish of choice in the NW. And I don't tend to like tuna/albacore versions either.