Bacon makes everything better. Generally though, it makes things better by being added to a dish. Paddy Longs, an Irish themed bar keeps things simple making beer better by pairing it with various bacons. Four days a week, it pairs five different beers with five different bacons. The bacons, if not housemade, come from local purveyors and are all very good. For the most part the bacons remain constant but the beers with which they are paired with change seasonally. In addition to the beer and bacon tastings, the menu at Paddy Longs serves bar fare featuring their various bacons. A major item on their menu is the bacon bomb, a 5 pound mixture of pork sausage and pepper bacon wrapped in brown sugar bacon, smoked, and served with a housemade barbecue sauce. This is obviously something that one sane person won't eat and is made for a group but you can get a bacon bomb burger. They do have items on the menu that do not have bacon but if you are going to go to a beer and bacon themed bar/restaurant why would you?
The beer and bacon tasting went from lightest to heaviest like a good tasting should proceed so that everything can actually be tasted. We started with Irish Bacon which was paired with Summit Hefe Weizen. Irish Bacon is a back bacon as opposed to regular bacon which comes from pork belly. It isn't smoked and it actually tastes like ham (which was grilled). Summit Hefe Weizen is a wheat beer from Minneapolis with a cloudy light amber color and flavors of pineapple, banana and cloves. The beer brought the sweetness of the bacon out and the bacon enhanced the banana and pineapple flavors.
The second pairing was Pepper Bacon (housemade) paired with O' Fallon 5-Day IPA. The pepper bacon was very good bacon and covered with cracked peppercorns. It's like bacon au poivre. The 5-Day IPA uses seven grains and four hops, two of which are added to the finishing tanks for a hoppy beer that really went with the pepper of the bacon.
Pairing number three was Danish bacon with Trumer Pils. Danish Bacon is a thick cut bacon that is less salty and actually a little sweet. It went very well with the Trumer Pils which is a Czech-style pilsner actually made in Berkeley, CA. The second and third pairings could have actually been interchangeable for their "flavor density" but they were both pretty good.
The servers called the fourth pairing a fairly standard pairing. It was Hickory Smoked Bacon served with Three Floyds Alpha King. The Hickory Smoked Bacon was like very good breakfast bacon. It was very good breakfast bacon, but it was like breakfast bacon. Three Floyds is a local brewery in Hammond, IN that specializes in hoppy beers. Alpha King is their best selling beer. It is an American-style IPA that is pretty hoppy and has a nice citrusy finish. It went very well with the smoke of the bacon.
The last pairing was dessert. It paired a brown sugar bacon with Great Lakes Edmund Fitzgerald Porter. The bacon was very sweet and the porter was very bitter. It had a very robust roast malt/chocolate/coffee flavor and it was a great end to a great series. Paddy Longs is a great beer bar and it's always fun to see what beers that they pair with their bacons.
Three Floyds Alpha King APA with Hickory Smoked Bacon
Great Lakes Edmund Fitzgerald Porter with Brown Sugar Bacon