Photos and styling by Shannon Richardson

We think of beer like a social function,” says Kaleb West, who co-owns Pondaseta Brewing Co. with Trever Martin. “After having a couple of beers with friends and family, the next step is food, so we’re constantly thinking of what we would pair any new beer with.” West pauses, waiting a beat. “Also, we like to eat.”

That’s why we asked West to join forces with chef Scott Buchanan of Yellow City Street Food to suggest some Oktoberfest-inspired food pairings. Though unrelated, both businesses serve as inspirations for the other. They’ve even collaborated in the past on beer dinners. “Before we opened, we were looking at the market in Amarillo and saw several businesses with creative, successful menus and an emphasis on craft beer,” West says. One of those was YCSF, and after Pondaseta opened in late 2018, YCSF began serving a few of its craft beers.

Pondaseta now has its own on-site food trailer, which serves a pub-style menu including hamburgers and tacos. But West still has a soft spot for local restaurants like Buchanan’s YCSF. “We love his creativity and how often he’ll do a fusion of flavors.”

That fusion is on full display with these Pondaseta beer pairings, as Buchanan created dishes that riff on traditional German Oktoberfest food.

German- Style Sweet Potato Salad

1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced
¼ cup sour cream
2 strips bacon, cooked and diced
½ red onion, diced

Pickled apricot
1 apricot, pitted and halved
3 cups rice wine vinegar
½ cup sugar

1 pickled apricot (see pickling recipe)
1 tablespoon mustard seeds
¼ cup mustard sauce
¼ cup Worcestershire
¼ cup agave syrup
Salt/pepper to taste
Tobiko flying fish roe (optional)

Prepare pickled apricot a week ahead of time. Cut apricot in half; pickle in rice wine vinegar and sugar mixture for one week. Peel and dice sweet potato. Blanch in salted boiling water until tender, about 3 minutes. Strain and set aside. Prepare mostardo: Blend all ingredients together in food processor. Cook in saucepan. Bring to boil; reduce heat. Cook for about 15 to 20 minutes, until sauce tightens up and becomes syrupy; stir often. Remove from heat; allow to cool.  Cook bacon until medium crispy; remove from heat, pat dry. Cut into medium-size dice. Dice red onion. Prepare potato salad: In a bowl, fold together all ingredients. Plate, either in a bowl or use a ring mold. Garnish with tobiko.

Makes 1 serving

German-Style Potato Salad with The Fast & The Hazy

Scott’s version of this popular dish contains sweet potatoes and pickled apricot mostarda—a heavily textured sauce—along with bacon, red onions and a topping of tobiko, the Japanese term for flying fish roe. Bursting with crunch and texture, the sweet/salty/spicy flavor pairs exquisitely with Pondaseta’s New England-style IPA, which is available year-round.

“It’s our most popular beer across the board,” West says. “It’s very approachable. Even people who expect to dislike it based on the IPA category find themselves getting excited about it.” The soft approach and mild bitterness of The Fast & The Hazy make it a good match to almost any dish, and its hints of mango and papaya pair well with the complexity of Buchanan’s potato salad.

Creamy Kimchi Spaetzle

Kimchi Sauce
1 cup kimchi (housemade or store-bought)
2 cups heavy cream
Parmesan cheese, to taste

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
4 large eggs
⅔ cup milk
Meat of choice (prepare ahead of time or while making recipe)

Make kimchi sauce: Puree kimchi in food processor. Place in pan over medium heat. Add heavy cream. Cook until sauce begins to thicken. Stir often to keep from burning. Make spaetzle: In medium bowl, whisk together eggs, milk and salt. Add flour; stir until well combined. If dough is too runny, add a little more flour. If it is too thick, add a little more milk. In a pot, bring water to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Press dough through a spaetzle maker or colander. Let pasta cook for about 1 to 2 minutes (until it floats), stirring occasionally. Strain pasta. Add cooked spaetzle to sauce; stir to coat. Add Parmesan cheese. Remove from heat. Prepare meat of your choice to add. (We used Bulgogi Steak.) Serve in a bowl topped with meat and garnish of your choice.

Makes 1 serving

Creamy Kimchi Spaetzle with Watermelon Becky

German noodles with Korean-style beef? Of course! Buchanan combined his handmade, wide spaetzle and beef dish with micro kale, kimchi sauce and egg yolk pudding. He chose Pondaseta’s new blonde ale release, Watermelon Becky, as the perfect pairing.

The brewery introduces multiple “Beckies” throughout the year, and the watermelon version is the second release of the summer. It’s not just locally beloved. It’s extremely local. “All the malt ingredients are grown within the Panhandle area,” West explains. 

After the initial fermentation, the beer is refermented with watermelon, which adds a bright fruit note to the drink. “It’s super-refreshing with tons of watermelon on the nose and a subtle pink hue from the fruit,” he says. But instead of being overly fruit-forward, the beer and fruit complement one another. “There’s a subtle interplay between them,” says West. It’s enough to entice beer lovers who aren’t particularly interested in fruit beer, along with unabashed fans of fruity beers.

Vegan Chicken Schnitzel

Vegan chicken seitan (say-taan): Make your own or order it. Seitan is best made ahead of time, at least 1 day before. It needs to rest in the refrigerator overnight after preparing.

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup panko combine with 2 teaspoons salt and pepper
1 cup all-purpose flour whisked into 1 cup water and 1 tablespoon dry or wet mustard (or use egg alternative mix)
About 1 cup oil for frying
Prepare seitan 1 day ahead of time. Bread seitan by dredging in dry flour mix, then wet mix, then panko dry mix; set aside. Double bread crumbs for more crunch. 

1 small head of cabbage
About 1 to 2 cups salt/pepper mixture
2 tablespoons caraway seeds
Mason jar
2 tablespoons sugar

Sauerkraut is best prepared at least 1 week in advance (better after 1 month). Core and shred cabbage. Place in plastic or glass container. Sprinkle salt and pepper over cabbage; massage into leaves, mixing well. Add more salt and pepper as needed. Cabbage should start to feel wet, breaking down because of the salt. Add in caraway seeds. Pack tightly into a Mason jar. Cover with cheesecloth. Check after 1 day. If cabbage isn’t releasing enough liquid to submerge it fully, make a 2 percent salt brine and pour on top of cabbage. Monitor daily. Start tasting after 1 week to see if it’s ready. Caramelize sauerkraut when ready to make schnitzel recipe. Heat oil in pan over medium heat. Add completed sauerkraut and sugar. Cook until caramelized, about 5 minutes.

Mustard Seed Caviar
1 small package mustard seeds
¼ cup rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar

Place mustard seeds in small saucepan; cover with rice wine vinegar and sugar. Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to low. Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until seeds are softened and sauce becomes thicker.

Heat oil in a shallow pan, to about 350 degrees. Fry seitan on each side, about 4 to 5 minutes.  Breading should be golden brown; seitan should be heated well. Remember, this is not chicken, so no need to worry about a lengthy cook time. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate. Season with salt and pepper. To serve, plate on a bed of sauerkraut; garnish with mustard seeds, parsley and lemon wedge.

Makes 1 serving

Vegan Chicken Schnitzel with Pondaseta’s Volksbier 

YCSF is one of the most reliable local restaurants for delicious vegan food, and this schnitzel falls squarely within that category. Buchanan’s dish is made of breaded, fried seitan—a wheat-derived protein alternative—served with a fermented mustard sauce, brazed kimchi and sauerkraut, and mustard-seed caviar. He paired it with Pondaseta’s Volksbier, a traditional malt-forward, Oktoberfest-style lager.

“It’s very easy to drink, with a little drier finish than some of the really big Oktoberfest beers you’ll see,” West says. Often, those are served in enormous 1-liter mugs, which can be incredibly filling. The Volksbier was created to be less heavy and more drinkable. “You can enjoy it but drink a couple more.”

Assemble Dream Tacos