Base Camp Brewing Company’s Paul Thurston on Microflora & Lineage

Base Camp Brewing Company is a must visit brewery located in the heart of Portland, Oregon’s brewery district. Brewed Food is thrilled to be partnering with the Base Camp Brewing Co. brewers to showcase their outstanding beer at the Brewing Dinner on April 19th at Simpatica Dining Hall with Biwa Restaurant. Here is what Brewer Paul Thurston of Base Camp Brewing Company has to add about the Brewed Food movement:

What was your first “aha” moment with food and beer pairings?

I got into good beer before I really discovered good food, so my early experiments involved simple pairings of beer with cheese, chocolate, grilled meats, and the like. As I got more into good food while simultaneously gaining more and more insight into fermentation and related microbiology, I became incredibly fascinated with the way different natural enzymes and microflora work- in the kitchen, in the brewery, in our environment, and in our bodies- to break down and build upon the base ingredients themselves, creating flavors that are deeper and richer and food and drink that is healthier and more in tune with our bodies’ own digestive systems. I wouldn’t say I’ve had one true “aha” moment, more of an ongoing series of discoveries and realizations that keeps me constantly striving to use fun and fascinating processes to create new flavors in the brewery and in my kitchen.

Why food and beer is for you?

I believe beer and food share a synergy because they are both historically about taking simple ingredients and altering them, through naturally occurring processes, into new creations that are grander than the simple sum of their parts. The creations are then meant to be something that gather the community together, around a table or a bartop, to learn and communicate with their neighbors, and build understanding of one another as well as solutions to shared problems. This magic of creation and community throughout history is paramount to what we know of as civilization, and it gives me great joy to be a tiny part of that lineage.

What is “next” for food and beer?

I believe that a growing understanding of different standard and non-standard brewing yeasts, fermentation procedures, and brewing microbiology will lead to a myriad of new and interesting flavors and balances in beer in the coming decades. These new flavors will only serve to enhance beer’s desirability as a pairing agent for good food. More interestingly, I think this same growing knowledge will lend to a more broad correlation between brewing fermentation and food fermentation practices, and serve to both bridge the gap between the two as well as allow for creative collaboration between brewers and chefs in the pursuit of new flavor profiles. The future is ripe!

What chef is creating something that works well with your beer?

Oh man, the list goes on and on. We live in a rich time for food and beer exploration and so many folks are doing great work here in Portland. Restaurants that immediately come to mind include, but are very much not limited to, the following. Pairing the fantastic charcuterie they make over at Olympia Provisions with smooth lager beers, Higgin’s has a great beer focus on their menu and fantastic food, Apizza Scholl’s crafts some of the best pizza dough in town, and Pok Pok has such a diverse array of flavors and spices on the menu that the beer pairings are nearly limitless.