Recently opened and perfectly paired

The writer was invited to visit Belmar Kitchen and the meal was free.

Sharing a roof, ownership and management with Beach Haus Brewing, Belmar Kitchen completes the “food + beer = perfection” equation. A regular at beer-centric cuisine, Executive Chef Steven Johnson has used several strategies to create a thoughtful range of pairings for Jersey Bites.

Interior of the Beach Haus brewery
Belmar Kitchen Shrimp Crostini
Spicy shrimp crostini

Beach Haus Swash Witbier with Shrimp Bruschetta

Witbier is hopped with Hallertau Blanc, which gives this beer a distinct white wine character. It’s a classic white wine and seafood pairing. The beer offered a hint of citrus, which cuts through the buttery crostini and refreshes the palate with each subsequent bite. And the dish had a nice spicy component of the jalapeños, which worked well with the rich wheat malt of the beer.

heirloom carrots over a wood fire and brussels sprouts
Carrots and Brussels sprouts over a wood fire

Freeworld IPA with old wood-fired carrots and Brussels

APIs can be difficult to pair with food. Freeworld, which is hopped with Citra, Cascade, and Mosaic, leans towards the bold bitterness of a West Coast style IPA. The chef used a push-pull strategy when pairing this beer with roasted heirloom carrots and sprouts. The sweetness of the carrots helps extract the malt base from the beer to even out the characteristic bitterness of IPA. Then the touch of sriracha honey in the dish again brought out that bitterness.

Seared Salmon
Seared salmon

Beach Haus Lite Haus with Seared Salmon

Lite Haus is a crispy pilsner that has a slightly earthy note. He played the role of supporting actor for the perfectly prepared salmon. It’s a rich dish and the Lite Haus scrubs and prepares the palate for each subsequent bite. I might have been tempted to pair the witbier with this, but it would have competed for more attention. It’s best to let the salmon stay in the spotlight here. The chef affectionately called this dish a “deconstructed lox and bagel”. All the bagel seasoning tops the fish, which is topped with cucumber-tomato farro, Za’atar Labne, and capers. It was a real winner, and probably our favorite dish of the night. We even recommended it to people sitting next to us.

Nut Haus Porter with cheesecakes, cotton candy and bubble gum whipped cream.
Nut Haus Porter with cheesecakes, cotton candy and chewing gum whipped cream.

Nut Haus Porter with Cheesecake, Cotton Candy and Chewing Gum Whipped Cream

This fat porter with sweet pecans dries a little at the end like a peanut skin. It’s definitely a dessert beer and these cheesecake pops are a dessert show! This small touch of dryness of the peanut skin serves as a foil to the decadence of this dish. A chocolate stout would have pushed the whole thing overboard.

This dessert isn’t something we usually order, especially for just two people, but it’s a fun way to make dessert (and is great for a special occasion). The cheesecake was surprisingly chewy and was served with the most amazing homemade chewing gum whipped cream. Honestly, we didn’t taste a hint of chewing gum. It was just damn good, fresh whipped cream.

“Bacon on a clothesline with black pepper and maple glaze”

Belmar Kitchen’s signature ‘bacon on a clothesline’ wasn’t part of our dining experience that night, but luckily for us there was no escape from the aroma. Glowing bacon is the first thing that greets you as you approach the brasserie restaurant. I have to commend them for coming up with the best possible bait for beer lovers.

wood-fired pizza oven at Belmar Kitchen
Wood-fired pizza oven at Belmar Kitchen

Behind the mouth-watering bacon wall is the wood-fired pizza oven, used for the carrots and Brussels sprouts we enjoyed, along with many other items on the menu.

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Belmar kitchen dining room

The restaurant has an industrial vibe meets the beach, with white subway tile walls and quarry tile floors in the bar and whitewashed faux-wood table tops in the dining room. Bright touches of orange and cobalt blue color the walls. The seating consists of a mix of benches, tall tables along the windows, and standard four- and six-seater tables.

Many restaurants offer inspired tap lists, but few really know how to set up these beer options with the perfect partner dish. It’s obvious that the Belmar Kitchen team understand that the right pairing can increase the enjoyment of both food and beer. It is refreshing.

Peter Culos from Jersey Bites with Belmar Chef Steven Johnson
Jersey Bites Writer Peter Culos with Executive Chef Steven Johnson

Belmar kitchen
801, main street
Belmar, New Jersey 07719

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