Summer welcomes backyard barbecues, front porch socials, and great weather. If you’re hosting friends and colleagues for a seasonal soirée, you want to make sure the beer you’re serving complements the dishes you prepare.
Beer and food pairings are all about creating new flavor experiences, and the opportunities are endless given the range of flavors in beer — beer styles can range from sweet and fruity to grainy and dry, plus sour, savory, spicy, and smoked. Master beer sommelier Marc Stroobandt is here to share beer styles that should be at your summer cookout — and he’s included tasting notes.
Here are a few things to keep in mind when serving brews with your summer menu:
First, the pairing should strike a balance. In other words, the beer shouldn't overpower the food and the food shouldn't overpower the beer.
Secondly, the carbonation in beer offers refreshment and will help you cut through richer textures and flavors in your meal, while also cleansing your palate. So feel free to reach for your most decadent recipes when serving beers with higher levels of carbonation!
Thirdly, there are many elements to consider when you're choosing a food and beer pairing. Ingredients, preparation methods, occasion, seasonality, and region are all considerations. The most important elements, however, are the sensory characteristics of both the beer and the food in terms of appearance, aroma, texture, mouthfeel, and flavor.
So fire up your grill and relish the taste of summer with these great beer and food pairings.
Amber Lager and Spicy Pork Sausage
Shutterstock / PaulPaladin
The color in amber beer results from roasting the malt longer and at higher temperatures. This process produces the malty backbone of an American lager, underpinned by a soft bitterness from the hops, making it ideal for dishes like spicy pork sausages.
American Brown Ale and Grilled Steak
To achieve the color of American brown ale, malted grains are roasted for an extended period of time at a lower temperature, hence the lack of bitterness, roasted coffee color, and toffee-like notes. This makes American brown ale ideal for drinking with a blackened grilled steak, which, like the beer, is roasted on the outside but still has that juicy sweetness inside.