Beer sommelier guides Portland diners

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Saturday, September 01, 2007

beer0907.jpgIs sir in the mood for a stout or an ale tonight?

MAKE ANOTHER MARK in the “only in Oregon” column. Meet Red Star’s new beer sommelier.

Sara Parker-Sheppard joined the staff of Red Star, an upscale downtown Portland tavern, three years ago and was most recently the restaurant’s assistant manager. But now the 26-year-old is one of the world’s few beer sommeliers. She’s in charge of pairing Oregon’s considerable array of tasty microbrews with the restaurant’s upscale menu.

“Mostly we’re trying to educate people about beer a bit more,” says Parker-Sheppard. “People are more used to pairing food with wine.”

She admits that she’s still refining her palate, but she’s aiming high. “I want to pinpoint certain tastes and flavors in the beer and then combine that with the perfect food.”

The results include fried Walla Walla onions and romescu sauce paired with a Caldera Pilot Rock Porter; pulled-pork sliders with grilled watermelon and white cheddar paired with a Mirror Pond Pale Ale; and grilled Oregonzola-stuffed figs paired with Rogue Shakespeare Stout.

And Parker-Sheppard’s favorite beer? “It really depends on my mood,” she says. “But if I can’t decide, I’ll always order a stout.”                                                          

CHRISTINA WILLIAMS


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