Summer is here in the Bay Area, and it has been looking pretty nice outside lately. Temperatures are rising, which means its high time to bring over friends and family for an impromptu barbecue session.
You’ve got the grilling part down, but there are so many local breweries and their craft beers coming out of the woodwork, it’s getting hard to keep track of which ones are best to pair with what meat.
We put together a little guide of some of the best beers this season that you can grab at your local grocery store and what meats and meals you should pair with them.
If you’re cooking: spicy fried chicken, buffalo wings, spicy pizza, or burgers with gorgonzola or bleu cheese
Try: Speakeasy’s Big Daddy IPA (or their seasonal Baby Daddy IPA)
These brews have a big bite. Citrus and floral notes in the IPAs pair well with spicy foods, especially in chicken dishes.
If you’re cooking: nothing, and actually eating a peppery arugula summer salad with some bright citrus
Try: Rare Barrel’s Forces Unseen Golden Sour
These sours, aged in oak barrels, tend to pair well with citrus flavors. A salad with an orange vinaigrette and strawberries would do wonders for exactly this kind light vegetarian dish.
If you’re cooking: smoked ribs, smoked salmon, smoked basically anything
Try: Drake’s Black Robusto Porter
Sometimes, it’s best to pair richness with richness. Drake’s porter finishes with a hint of bittersweet chocolate and roasty malts, making it the perfect companion to any robust meat flavor you might be grilling up.
If you’re cooking: roast chicken or pork sausages, or you’re just not really sure yet
Try: Linden Street’s Ol’ Brick Bitter
English style bitters in general are fairly easy to pair — they just go with a lot of flavors — but they fit especially well with grilled sausages.
If you’re cooking: nothing, and actually eating some creamy cheese or a chocolate dessert
Try: 21st Amendment’s Monk’s Blood
Especially tasty for even when you’re not noshing, 21st Amendment’s take on Belgian-style brewing is sweet and a great complement to rich foods.
If you’re cooking: lighter fare, like grilled seafood, or veggie dishes
Try: 21st Amendment’s Hell or High Watermelon
A good go-to for when you’re not sure what foods you’ll be getting into, Hell or High Watermelon is a refreshing choice for a hot day.
If you’re cooking: burgers, roast pork
Try: Anchor’s Zymaster No. 8
A good alternative to hoppy beers, the cherry-hinted ale pairs well with hearty red meats, like burgers and steaks, and still complements roast pork.