It is getting warmer and Memorial Day is right around the corner. The warmer weather and the summer holidays mean it’s time to start grilling our favorite items. Whether you are grilling or smoking meat, beer makes a great pairing for delicious summer recipes that we all love. Especially after those nasty winters we all endure.
I love the saying, “I love to cook with beer, I even put it in the food once in a while”. If we did a poll of what people consume while grilling or smoking meat, I believe that beer would be the top choice.
Let’s start with burgers. It is very difficult to beat the flavor explosion you get when biting into your first of the season burger. There is so much going on with a burger and additional condiments that add huge flavor complexity. Complexity in a good way. You might ask what beer items will complement the savory burger, the sweetness and acid in condiments, the fat in the cheese? My recommendations would be Bell’s Porter or Perrin Black IPA.
Both of these beer items have enough body to marry up with the grilled burger.
• Bell’s Porter: Has just enough bitterness to cut through the fat of the meat and cheese.
• Perrin Black: Has the clean and crisp attributes to wash the burger off the palate, making it ready for another delicious bite.
Let’s move on to steak. Most steaks only need salt and pepper. Steaks are not complicated; there is no drama with steak. There is only the mouthwatering anticipation of that first bite that melts in your mouth. I always get a little nervous grilling steak. I don’t want to dry it out but I also don’t want the cow mooing either. But they always seem to turn out great.
The pairing I recommend with steaks is Founders Dirty Bastard.
• Founders Dirty Bastard: A Scotch style ale with only 50 IBUs and an ABV of 8.5%. The beer color is dark ruby and brewed with 7 imported malts. Since this beer already has notes of smoke, it pairs perfectly with steak.
Since we are talking about grilling and smoking meat, we have to talk about ribs. There are many different rib styles. Baby back ribs, spare ribs, and country ribs are a few that can be named after cities or states, such as Memphis, Kansas City, and Texas. All of them are delicious. A perfect rib makes me think of falling off the bone tastiness. I have a mean baby back rib sauce that is different every time because I don’t write down all the ingredients or in what proportion. Who else has a great recipe that turns out different each time because you never write down the recipe? My sauce has a base of regular BBQ sauce with about15 more ingredients added, including bourbon, sauerkraut, and marshmallows. My family loves it. We used to make soup for my dad for his lunches every December 26. While making the soup, I would make baby back ribs and we would all enjoy them after the soup making was completed. Bloody Mary’s were involved as well.
Back to beer. The beer I would recommend for ribs would be Oberon from Bell’s.
• Oberon: This slightly sweet beer with hints of orange and coriander make a perfect side to ribs.
Next up is chicken, one of America’s favorite proteins. While chicken has a milder flavor, when we grill we add smokiness and we usually sauce during or after grilling. The sauce is where variety in beer pairings is required.
For sweeter style sauces my beer recommendation would be Soft Parade from Short’s Brewing in Bellaire, Michigan.
• Soft Parade: Made with blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, and raspberries. This beer is delicious and would be perfect to sip while grilling chicken. Short’s is making a great Soft Parade Shandy with local Michigan lemonade added. We sold out of all the Soft Parade Shandy last year. So get it while you can.
If the sauce you like on your chicken is spicy, I would recommend the Short’s Huma Lupa Licious.
• Huma Lupa Licious: The Huma is one of our best-selling IPAs and is a best seller for Short’s as well. The crispiness and the bitterness of this IPA work perfect with the spiciness of the sauce.
Lastly, let’s talk about grilling with vegetables. One of our favorite grilling recipes is combining grilled portabellas, with grilled onion, and grilled colored peppers with goat cheese and romaine on a grilled deli round. Put balsamic vinegar and Worcestershire sauce in the portabella when you are grilling the mushrooms. Put a dab of olive oil and a drop of balsamic on the onion and peppers as well. All you have to do is slice the onion into rounds and quarter the peppers. Olive oil the deli rounds and grill them as well. It is our most delicious summer dinner ever. Pair with:
Founders Green Zebra.
• Green Zebra: It is a watermelon gose with salt, making it an amazing beer for this vegetarian meal.
The second beer recommendation would be the M43 New England style IPA from Old Nation.
• M43: A beer that has hit it out of the park for sales. It is still on fire. It has a perfect balance of malt and hoppiness. If you are on the fence about hops, you will still love this beer.
Now it’s time for you to enjoy the weather, get to grilling and don’t forget the beer!