Deal Alert: Craft Mac and Cheese & Beer Pairings Debut at Church

This is just begging for a pint of beer, no? (Photo courtesy of Flickr/jspatchwork)

This Monday, Fenway hangout Church presented the first installment of its weekly Craft Mac and Cheese series —a sweet deal where $16 gets you a hot skillet of elbow macaroni frolicking in gourmet fromage plus a paired pint of craft beer. While it’s definitely a major hindrance to that pesky New Year’s resolution to eat healthy and exercise more, this upscale combo of comfort foods is also the perfect recourse during these frigid winter months.

Chef de Cuisine Jon Gilman kicked off the special with a Great Hill Bleu cheese, Worcestershire and stout-glazed onion, and braised short-rib combo paired with Anderson Valley’s Barney Flats Oatmeal Stout. The Boonville, California brew’s malted, chocolatey profile seemed like it would be a too-heavy pairing at first, but its subtle, dry hoppiness and malted backbone worked well to cut through the intensely rich, savory pasta.

For future pairings, Gilman is planning on featuring beer from breweries like Vermont’s The Alchemist and Somerville’s Pretty Things, coupled with cheeses like Shy Brother’s Farm Cloumage, Grafton Village Smoked Cheddar, and Vermont Butter and Cheese Creamery goat cheese. Next Monday’s pairing will be Cabot’s sharp and salty clothbound cheddar with garlic confit, bacon lardons, and brown butter bread crumbs with Great Divide‘s uber-piney, citrusy Hercules Double IPA.

“At a restaurant where we rely so much on local food to create a comforting dish, mac and cheese often provides the best option,” says Gilman. “Its melty, warm texture is one of the most comforting things to eat in a cold New England climate and the cheeses produced in Vermont and the rest of New England offer us some of the best flavors past the growing season produced on a local level.”

Mmm. We’ll eat and drink to that.

Church, 69 Kilmarnock St., Boston, 617-236-7600,