May 30, 2023

Five Brews For Your Summer BBQ

Posted on May 18, 2010 by in Home & Garden, Life Quality

Senior beer editor Mark Young picks the right beer for your cookout.

Brooklyn Summer Ale: Pairs well with sunshine and salads

So, it’s summer, and you’re firing up the grill. You have delicious steaks, burgers and dogs for the kids, and homemade potato salad, too. Yummy! Now for the beer: What’s on tap?

Whether you’re cooking ribs, chicken or going the seafood route with swordfish steaks, the perfect brew is out there to compliment your meal.

I could probably assemble a directory including hundreds of great beers for summer cooking and dining, but this list of five will get you started with rounding out this summer’s cookouts.

These picks taste great with food and, just as important, without food! Even good food can’t make a bad beer taste like a good beer. On the other hand, enough good beers and you’ll forget that the food was bad.

Summer Ale by Brooklyn Brewing
Pairs well with sunshine, salads, lightly spiced dishes and other light fare like seafood and chicken.
I just discovered, or maybe rediscovered, this delightful Summer Ale last week. Many lighter beers are light on flavor as well. Not this one. Brooklyn’s Summer Ale has a nice sunny, happy taste. I know, how can a beer have a happy taste? Well, try it and see if I’m not right.

Prima Pils by Victory Brewing
Pairs well with seafood, salads and appetizers.
I had Prima Pils for the first time last summer. It was part of my provisions for a road trip to visit a friend’s lake house for a small reunion of some old friends. While technically we didn’t barbecue, we did cook outside, so I think it counts. We did a low country boil of seafood and sausage and the Pils was a perfect complement. This is a pretty hoppy beer and as a result the nose (watch-out, pretentious terminology alert!) has a floral scent. The slight tartness from the hops provided a bit of a palate cleansing effect. This beer finishes nice and clean, so it won’t overpower your food. The ABV is moderate at about 5%, so it won’t slow you down. Well, maybe it will slow you down, but it didn’t slow me down!

Oberon: This is a slightly yeasty wheat beer, with a hint of added spices -- a seriously drinkable beer.

Oberon by Bells Brewing
Pairs with everything!
This is one of my absolute favorite summer beers and I am pretty excited about sharing it with you. I would drink it year-round, if it were available. This is a slightly yeasty wheat beer, with a hint of added spices. Oberon is a seriously drinkable beer.

Latitude 48 by Samuel Adams
Pairs well with spicy foods, real BBQ, steaks and slow cooked pork and poultry.
Samuel Adams often gets grief from “beer snobs” these days. I’m not sure why, but it might be the same dynamic at play as when your favorite indie rock band signs with a major label. They’re not as cool anymore, now that everybody knows about them. In any event, Sammy’s new offering is a Hop Monster! This beer will not be overpowered by anything you serve alongside. It has a bold almost pungent aroma, and a big bracing hop flavor. It is brewed with three different hops in keeping with the American Pale Ale style that has become popular in recent years. Think of a classic IPA, such as Bass Ale and add an even larger amount of hops. Latitude 48 is not an entry level beer, but if you fancy yourself a hop head, I think you’ll like it as much as I do.

Beach House Golden Pilsner by Old Dominion Brewing
Pairs with burgers and hot dogs.
When Old Dominion Brewing Company was purchased by a partnership that included Anheuser-Busch, I was worried that their tradition of quality beers brewed in Virginia would end. While they moved their brewing operations to Delaware (Delaware? WTH?), they continue to brew some fine beers. What a relief. They introduced Beach House last summer, I think. That’s when I discovered it. This is a classic “lawnmower” beer. It has a great refreshing flavor that just tastes like beer. Plain old beer. Not too hoppy or malty. Clean and crisp. The perfect match for a classic burgers and dogs cook out. It won’t overwhelm your food or hide behind it. Keep it in a bucket full of ice and drink straight from the bottle. No presentation or glass needed.

Mark Young, an expert on beer and heavy metal music, lives in Virginia and writes for The Irvington Dispatch.

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