Link up for Oktoberfest!

Whether the European festival falls during your autumn or spring (or in LA, where it is summer for much of the year), a feast of sausages and craft beers is always tasteful.

For several years now, comfort food has gone gourmet, and sausages are no exception. While most people associate sausages with central and eastern Europe (Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Poland etc.), we can also thank London, the home of bangers and mash, for igniting the worldwide explosion of gastro-pubs. The phenomenon, in turn, has elevated our experience with beer and a sandwich to something more substantial.
   Some gastro-pubs, such as Links-n-Hops in the bohemian Los Angeles neighbourhood of Atwater Village, not only make sausages and craft beer worth going out for, but also easy to duplicate at home, thanks to the fact that management makes available a sausage-and-beer pairing menu and an adjoining wine shop, 55 Degrees, with at least 99 bottles of beer on the wall. It also doesn’t hurt that they are great hosts, offering a myriad of sandwich fixings, savoury sauces, fresh-baked Bavarian pretzels and some vegan sausage alternatives.


Even guests with dietary restrictions can enjoy a cold one and a salmon or vegan sausage. Bard’s is gluten-free and goes down smoothly.

   With Oktoberfest celebrations around the corner, here are some perfect partnerings of craft beer styles and traditional recipe and non-traditional sausages to get your grill going:

Sausage

Beer

Smoked chicken and mango, with jalapeno Heferweizen, Pilsener, IPA, American pale ale
Lamb merquez Belgian strong pale ale, double IPA, Imperial stout, Belgian strong double ale, smoked beer
Classic Bavarian bratwurst American red ale, American brown ale, Dubbel, Belgian strong dark, stout, Pilsener
Hot Italian sausage American brown ale, Pilsener, Tripel
Salmon chipotle sausage IPA, double IPA, Belgian strong pale ale
Chicken habanero with tequila Scottish ale, Sahti, Pilsener, American pale ale
Smoked pork with cheese Imperial stout, smoked porter, Scottish ale, Belgian strong dark ale, American amber
Polish kielbasa American pale ale, American wild ale, Saison, Scottish ale, IPA, Hefeweizen, fruit beer
Vegan Italian American pale ale, rye beer, Belgian pale ale, IPA, Hefeweizen, fruit beer, Scottish ale, Sahti, Saison
Hot and spicy turkey sausage Saison, Scottish ale, Pilsener, smoked beer, Belgian strong dark ale


Pairing suggestions by Links-N-Hops owner Andy Hasroun (left) and his hugely knowledgeable team.

KYB: know your beer
When shopping for beer, do it on these terms:

Beer style

Characteristics

American pale ale This craft beer style is defined by the use of local ingredients, which produces variances in character from region to region. A good balance of malt and hops.
American IPA (India pale ale) Colour can range from very pale golden to reddish amber. The palate is moderate- to medium-bodied with a balancing malt backbone.
Hefeweizen A refreshing south German style of wheat bee brewed with a yeast that produces a range of flavours ranging from citrus to tropical fruit and core fruit. Some have spicy notes.
Saison These brews were traditionally made in the winter to be enjoyed the summer months. In recent years, with the craft beer movement, there’s been a massive revival of this fresh brewing style.
Belgian strong dark ale These beers are delicate in palate but complex in character. Most are fruity and may have mild dark malt flavour.
Imperial stout Low to moderate levels of carbonation with bold coffee, chocolate and malt flavours make these brews dessert-y for some palates. Hints of dark fruit and flavours of higher alcohols are common.
American amber This style of beer tends to focus on the malts, but hop character can range from low to high. Expect a balanced beer, with toasted malt characters and a light fruitiness in most examples.
Pilsener This European style (which can be found in German, Czech and other Eastern European breweries) result in beers ranging from light straw to golden in colour. Head should be dense and rich. These varieties exhibit a spicy herbal or floral aroma and flavour, and distribute a flash of citrusy zest.
Sahti A Finnish brew style dating back to the 1500s, heavy in palate.
Dubbel A rich beer with spicy characteristics and sometimes some dark fruit aromas and flavours. Mild hop bitterness.

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