Cooking with Beer: Q&A with John Holl

We had the opportunity to sit down with  John Holl, author and editor of All About Beer Magazine, who stopped by the Boston Brewery to sign copies of his new book, The American Craft Beer Cookbook: 155 Recipes from Your Favorite Brewpubs and Breweries. Here’s what he had to say about beer and food pairings and the one style of beer he just can’t live without…

Cook Book photo

Q: What inspired you to write your new book The American Craft Beer Cookbook: 155 Recipes from Your Favorite Brewpubs and Breweries?

A: I wanted to be able to tell the story about American beer and food culture right now. The craft beer movement has kept pace with the “eat local” movement – so many people want to eat authentic, and remember the real pleasure of eating. They don’t want microwaveable meals anymore.

There are also limitless options with what brewers are doing around the country, and I wanted to explore those together.

Q: In your opinion, what are the biggest misconceptions about beer and food pairings?

A: Everyone seems to think that if you’re having a nice meal, you should have a bottle of wine on the table. That’s great, but beer brings so much more to food pairings. One of the problems we have with beer is that people use words like “bitter” to describe hops or use technical terms to describe flavors. We need to start describing the flavor of beer in food terms – coffee, citrus, or pine that you get from hops. Once we do that, then people will really start thinking about how beer pairs well with meals.

Q: What advice do you have for people who are just beginning exploring beer and food pairings?

A: Experiment! You can get so many different beers – buy individual beers of one style from different breweries and find beers that work well with a dish. Try different combinations that you think might work – if they work great, if not, then you probably at least discovered a new beer that you like and you can always try again next time.

John Holl enjoying a Boston Lager and Roasted Venison Saddle with Samuel Adams Chocolate Bock Mole.

John Holl enjoying a Boston Lager and Roasted Venison Saddle with Samuel Adams Chocolate Bock Mole.

Q: What is your favorite recipe for the fall?

A: One of my favorites is the Roasted Venison Saddle with Samuel Adams Chocolate Bock Mole. With hunting season coming up, there is going to be plenty of fresh venison and this recipe really highlights the true taste of the meat.

Q: If you could only drink one style of beer for the rest of your life, what would you choose and why?

A: Pale Ale – it’s such a versatile style in that there are so many different interpretations of it. You can have a lot of different flavors, and you can have different interpretations form different breweries. Pale Ale is a great year-round drinking style and it’s the style that first introduced me to craft beer and I still have a soft spot for it.

Special thank you to John for including us in his book and for spending time with us at the brewery! You can purchase his book here

  • Andrew

    Is there any way I can find the Chocolate Bock in my location (New York)? I’ve been looking to pick that up, but I can’t seem to find any carriers.

    • Sam Adams Editorial Team

      Andrew – Chocolate Bock is available exclusively in our Winter Classics variety pack (avail. November/December) each year.