Ahhhh, Independence Day. What better way to celebrate America’s Birthday than with fireworks, sparklers, a cookout and beer? If you’re a beer lover like me, you are always on the lookout for new flavors, unique ingredients and one-of-a kind tastes. And great food pairings, of course. (Don’t know where to start? Check out my last blog post and infographic on Craft Beer and Food Pairings … guaranteed to help you out!) So here’s a fun idea for your holiday cookout: serve red, white and blueberry ales paired with grilled deliciousness for a festive 4th of July gathering. Check out these pairing ideas to be the coolest host on the block.
Characteristics: Red ales (also amber ales) are known for their notes of caramel and toffee malt, slightly roasted grains and low hop presence. The roasted barley gives the beer a reddish hue. With a low level of bitterness, red ales are smooth with a dry roasted finish.
Grilling Suggestions: Meats, lamb, game birds, venison, sausage, pork, chicken, vegetables
Drink This: Head to your local craft beer seller to check out Scuttlebutt Brewing Amber Ale, brewed in Everett, Wash., or Flying Fish Red Fish from Somerdale, N.J. for a hoppier option. And if you ever find yourself in Richmond, Va., the Rockville Red at Midnight Brewery is a must. (They just started bottling it, so maybe you will see in your area one day!)
Characteristics: White Ales (or “witbiers”) are Belgian wheat beers, traditionally brewed with a generous portion of wheat as well as coriander and orange peel. Its appearance is slightly cloudy, and the aromatic spices with orange give this beer a hint-of-citrus taste.
Grilling Suggestions: Shrimp, lobster, fish
Drink This: I’m a fan of the Allagash White Ale, brewed in Portland, Maine. If you’ve got a growler, grab it and head to your local Rock Bottom Brewery for the White Ale. Feeling adventurous? Try an import, Kiuchi Brewery’s Hitachino Nest Beer from Japan.
Characteristics: Blueberry Ales are typically golden wheat ales with a mild hop finish. There is a subtle fruit flavor contributed by fresh blueberries. For a twist on the ol’ Black and Tan, try a Black and Blue!
Grilling Suggestions: Chicken, BBQ, burgers with light, tart cheese. (And I also found this tasty Blueberry Barbeque Sauce recipe that would surely taste delicious on any meat, paired with a blueberry beer!)
Drink This: Brewed by Wachusett Brewing in Westminster, Mass., this Blueberry Ale was my first taste of this funky, fruity beer, (and then I was in love!) Some others include Blue Point Blueberry Ale brewed in Long Island, N.Y. and SweetWater Blue from Atlanta, Ga.
And on a final note, let’s say instead of grilling, you are throwing a crab feast with shrimp, corn on the cob, hush puppies – the whole bit. What would go better with that delicious summer meal than a beer made with Old Bay seasoning? Really! As a former Maryland resident, I can’t help but to love Dead Rise, an “Old Bay Summer Ale” straight out of Flying Dog Brewery in Frederick, Md. That, to me, is summer perfection.
So whatever you are grilling up this weekend, there’s a craft beer pairing that is sure to make your guests want to wave a flag, shoot off fireworks and sing “God Bless America.” So raise a glass of beer and cheers to Independence Day!