Avocado toast has transcended trendy bites to become a staple of Los Angeles cuisine, and there’s no denying the simple pleasure found in a slice of hearty toast covered in avocado, dressed with various herbs and spices.
But what should you wash down your next slice with? While pairing wine with avocado can be tricky, craft beer offers many options that gracefully handle the green fruit’s unique character.
Regardless of what else gets sprinkled on top of a slice of avocado toast, avocado is the star of the dish and the place to start when picking a brew to complement the snack.
One of beer’s key components makes it a natural match for avocado: The sparkling effervescence and subtle acidity that carbonation lends to a brew will cut through the richness of the fruit. Belgian styles like tripels and saisons, known for their higher carbonation levels, work well here, as does the hop bitterness of pilsners.
Hop flavors also complement many of the common extras such as cilantro, citrus and pepper flakes that top slices of avocado toast. The balance of malt sweetness and hoppy bitterness in an American pale ale provides a one-two punch of complementary and contrasting impressions, and a stronger (in alcohol and in hop character) IPA can stand up to the most bombastic of avocado toast preparations. Just be aware that the hop bitterness in these brews also will accentuate any chile heat present in the toast.
One refreshing style that seems tailor-made to accompany a thick slice of avocado toast is the Belgian witbier. This style balances a light and crisp body with a complex yeast character, and the traditional examples are brewed with coriander and dried citrus peel — similar to ingredients (cilantro, citrus juice) often used to dress slices of avocado toast. It’s a combination that elevates both the food and the beverage, but you don’t need to be a cicerone to appreciate it.
There are countless L.A. restaurants offering their own takes on avocado toast, but if you want to experiment with just how well beer and avocado can go together, make your way to The Hermosillo in Highland Park. This hip beer and wine bar on York Boulevard turns out some delicious slices of avocado toast dressed with cilantro, radish and chile flake, and the bar’s backroom houses Highland Park Brewery, one of Los Angeles’ most exciting craft beer operations.
HPB makes a house beer for the Hermosillo called Refresh, a brew designed to be approachable and quaffable. The pilsner-like Refresh is crisp and dry with a flash of hop bitterness in its finish and a floral and zesty hop aroma. It highlights the brighter flavors in the toast without overpowering the avocado’s sweetness and subtle grassy flavors, and the brew’s lively carbonation combats the palate-coating avocado.
It’s the kind of snack that makes you sad when you take the last bite or last sip. But that’s OK; no one will judge you for ordering another round of both.