Monday, July 9, 2012

How to pair beer and BBQ

It's undoubtedly BBQ season around here. Every weekend it seems we've been firing up the grill or heading over to friends' and families' homes for some good old fashioned cook-outs. There's nothing like a smokey BBQ and a frosty cold beer in hand to enjoy a summer weekend in my book. Now, I know beer gets a bad rep for conjuring up images of frat boys doing keg stands, but a good craft beer full of complexities and flavors will really compliment with those grilled meats deliciously. Here's a guide for your next BBQ:

Graphic by Victory Paper Designs

From eHow

Hamburgers: Pale Ale
The balanced hop and malt ratio blends well with the flexibility of hamburger condiments. Pale ales have a noticeable and refreshing bitterness that stands out if your burger has lettuce, tomato or onion on it. Try Stone Pale Ale or Sierra Nevada Pale Ale.

Steaks: Porter and Brown Ale
The heavy amounts of caramelized malt used to create porters and brown ales enhance the campfire taste of grilled steak. Sysak calls this the “comfort food effect”– the heaviness of the beer matches the heaviness of the steak. Look for Stone Smoked Porter or Rogue Nut Brown Ale. If you want something not as bold, Newcastle Brown Ale is a time-tested English alternative.

BBQ Sauce: Strong Ale and Amber Ale
Barbecue provides several options due to regional variations. Tomato-based barbecue sauces go well with American strong ales like Arrogant Bastard Ale, which Sysak says blends with the acidity of tomatoes. Vinegar based sauces from the Carolinas match better with mellower amber ales such as Stone Levitation Ale that provide a hop presence, but leave room for the vinegar bite to hit your palate.

Hot Dogs: India Pale Ale (IPA)
IPAs are known for their massive hop presence, with a strong bitter taste can add excitement to the typically bland hot dog and its condiments. Sysak says that IPAs can transform spicy foods, subduing the heat into a long-present cool burn on the back of the palate. So if an IPA is your selection, be sure to pick up some jalapenos and chili for your hot dogs. Try Stone IPA or Boston-based Harpoon IPA.

Veggies: Porters and Hefeweizens
Carnivores are not the only people who can enjoy a good pairing. Sysak recommends a heavy and complex dark beer for those who enjoy a meatless meal like a grilled Portobello sandwich. If you are dining on uncooked veggies, look for a German Hefeweizen like Spaten, Franziskaner or Erdinger Weissbrau. The prominent fruity tones of the wheat-based Hefeweizen will accentuate any vinaigrette dressing.

ps. how to pair wine and cheese

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