Summer is here and that means fire up the grill, get the cooler full of delicious brews and head outside for a fun beer and food pairing you can do right at home.
It’s important to remember that ales and lagers don’t encompass just a few simple flavors; beer can taste like almost anything. Heck, beer can even taste like chocolate! Here is an illustrated guide to pairing beers with some of your favorite backyard foods.
Fruit Salad and Gose
Beer and fruit? Why, of course! Gose (pronounced Go-ZAH) is a sour German beer style that is made with wheat, coriander and sea salt. Goses will meld well with the tart and tangy fruit salad and add a salty/sweet combo that can’t be beat. Many goses on shelves now have fruit added directly to the beer with flavors such as lime, watermelon or raspberry so drinking a fruited gose with a fruit salad will create even more complexity. Goses to seek out: Anderson Valley Briney Melon Gose, Lost Nation Gose.
Hamburger and Double IPA
A hamburger is essentially a blank canvas when it comes to beer pairings but I like something with a higher alcohol content and big flavors that can stand up to the fat and fixings of a juicy burger. A double IPA with over 8% ABV is a great match for this food. The bitterness works with the intensity of the dish while the fruity hop character contrasts the saltiness. Double IPAs to seek out: Sierra Nevada Atomic Torpedo, Russian River Pliny the Elder.
BBQ Chicken and Bitter
I really like British styles with BBQ chicken as their bitterness tends to be more floral vs. American beer styles where their bitterness is more citrusy. British ales also have a lovely fruitiness imparted from the yeast strain most English styles use. BBQ chicken is smoky, savory, sweet and salty and this beer adds bitterness to the pairing for what I call a “complete bite.” Give it a try! Bitters to seek out: Good Word Digital Comforts, Fuller’s London Pride.
Corn on the Cob and Vienna Lager
You can’t forget the sides! There’s nothing like fresh corn on the cob. I like Vienna lager for this pairing as the beer has a lovely, toasty malt character and the style is heavy enough to stand up to the salt and butter. Vienna lagers to seek out: Von Trapp Vienna Lager, Devils Backbone Vienna Lager.
Rocket Pop and Berliner Weisse
A popsicle paired with beer? Sure! Berliner weisse is a sour German beer style that is similar to gose but it lacks the sea salt and spice. Berliner weisses are great for outdoor picnics as they have high carbonation and are lower in ABV. Put a rocket pop into a pint of Berliner weisse and you’ll taste summer in a glass. Some breweries have even started to brew rocket pop flavored sours! Beers to seek out: Creature Comforts Athena, Off Color Yuzu Fierce.
Cheers to a wonderful summer of beer and food pairings. Enjoy the warm weather, fireworks, family and food this season. I know I will.