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Of late, I’ve been writing a lot about breweries crafting beers for specific bars and restaurants. Typically, the impetus for this is a venue’s anniversary, but in the case of this week’s featured San Diego craft beer, it was mutual respect between Barry Braden, the co-owner of farm-to-table eatery Local Habit (3827 Fifth Avenue, Hillcrest) and Scot Blair, the owner of the East Village’s Monkey Paw Pub & Brewery.

Blair is such a fan of Braden’s restaurant and its classic Southern done with local ingredients fare that he worked with Monkey Paw brewmaster Derek Freese to come up with a beer that would fit right in with Local Habit chef Nick Brune’s down-home offerings. Such was the genesis for the Sweat Tea Session IPA, an India pale ale built to mimic the look, scent, and taste of the deep South’s staple libation.

Blair and Freese turned to a variety of hop called Sorachi Ace to bring out most of the trademark flavors they were looking to bring out in the beer and it worked beautifully. Naturally citrusy, the hops produce lemony scents and a bit of tartness on the palate. Much as with actual iced tea, that acidity helps to balance out strong earthily bitter notes that come across tasting very much like tea.

Sweet Tea IPA debuted during Local Habit’s Mardi Gras beer-pairing dinner this Tuesday and Braden figures he has enough on-hand that it should remain available for the next three-to-four weeks. At the dinner, it was paired with fried frog's legs with a remoulade sauce. When polled, it was the favorite food-and-beer marriage of the evening. Having the beer with other fried or spicy dishes should make for an equally enjoyable pairing.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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