9 Summer Beer Styles and Tasting Notes for Your Next Cookout Slideshow

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Turn your backyard cookout into a pop-up biergarten with these great tasting notes

9 Summer Beer Styles and Tasting Notes for Your Next Cookout

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.

Amber Lager and Spicy Pork Sausage

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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.

American Lager and Grilled Burger

American lagers offer crisp and well-balanced flavors with malty sweetness and complex hopping, which accentuate the rich, juicy flavors of a classic grilled burger, even served with spicy chili sauce or cheese.

Beer as an Aperitif

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We've all reached for the peanuts or chips after drinking a beer. Why? It's actually because the hops and the bitter flavors in beer stimulate your appetite. So start off your meal with a mild hoppy beer, which will also cleanse your palate before your first bite.

Chocolate Dessert

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To finish your meal on a sweet note, consider pairing American brown ale with a chocolate dessert — both have chocolaty textures and flavors.

Farmhouse Saison Beer and Summer Salads or Fresh Seafood

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Farmhouse saison beers have unique ingredients and brewing methods, and were originally brewed in the colder months for farmhand workers to drink during the harvest. They deliver fresh, zesty, and spicy flavors, which are great for enjoying with summer salads, ceviche, or fresh seafood.

IPA and Grilled or Barbecued Chicken

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Nothing says summer liked grilled or barbecued chicken seasoned with a blend of herbs, spices, and marinades. An India pale ale, which has floral notes and a distinct hoppy character, accentuates these spices and creates a flavor combination with lots of dimensions.

 

Pilsner Lager and Grilled Salmon

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Pilsner lagers are traditionally dryer with more distinct hoppiness, creating a quenching, fruity sweetness and zestiness with mineral notes — excellent to pair with fish like grilled salmon.

White Beer and Hummus or Tzatziki

White beers are unfiltered, naturally cloudy ale beers made with a mixture of barley and wheat and sometimes seasoned with spices and/or lemon or orange zest. They boast fresh, fruity, and citrusy flavors with a hint of spicy notes. White beers are perfect for pairing with dips like hummus or tzatziki, or any lemon- or lime-infused dishes.