Add a little culture to this year’s Independence Day grill-fest and be the star of your gathering! Here is five of the most common fare for the 4th and suggestions for beer pairing categories to offer alongside.
Let’s face it. Food and wine or beer pairings are highly scientific processes that not everyone understands or can perfect. Chefs and food scientists work all their lives to create these olfactory, taste and genetic love triangles. The average Joe (or Jane) like us will probably never venture past personal preference based on our limited attempts to dabble in the art (certainly not the science.)
That said, we have put together a short and very simple list that you can easily use to impress your friends and family this summer season. Just beware, you could get some phone calls later as you may end up the group’s new resident sommelier!
Burgers or Chicken
For your run-of-the-mill grilling dish, like burgers or a grilled chicken, try to stick with an Amber Ale or Lager. The beer taste won’t get lost in the meat, but it won’t overpower the entire plate either. Keep in mind that if you are trying some new recipes that involve sauces, spices or marinades, you want to go a step further. Ensure that the flavors in the beer and sauce will complement each other as well.
Speaking of sauces and spices, if your thing is good old fashioned BBQ (wet or dry), you want to start looking for the stouts and porters. The flavors are richer and you need your drink to hold up. The idea is to get a brew that is a little sweeter than the dish. This is a case of contrast vs. complement.
Sausages and Brats
Bock is the way to go here, folks. Regional beers to go with regional foods. This theory doesn’t work 100% of the time, but marketing has a lot to do with that. Choose a bock if you are experimenting with foreign cheeses also. See what you come up with!
Fish or American/light Cheeses
Delicate flavor combinations here. You certainly don’t want to overpower your fish, especially as careful as you have to be cooking it. Also, American cheeses are milder in flavor than foreign cheeses. Pairing these with a nice Pilsner should do the trick. Pilsners also typically go well with Mexican foods. Don’t try to match regions on that one.
Salads and Fruit or Melon
Love the lighter side of summer cuisine? You can still enjoy a frosty beverage with your salads and that ever-so-tasty seasonal watermelon! Choose a complimentary Fruit Beer (or Lambic) or go for a Wheat Beer or Hefeweizen. They go great with sweet and fruity dishes, citrus dishes and desserts.
There you have it. This list should help you narrow your search for a great beer pairing. At the end of the day you can still get a little overwhelmed in the liquor store. There is such a thing as too many choices. When in doubt, drink whatever you like! You can always improve your food and drink experience, but there are no rules.
Have fun, enjoy the company and please drink responsibly!
For more Beer articles and suggestions on Dads Round Table, click here!