Just because it's summer and you're outside doesn't mean you have to revert to drinking boring, mass-produced, flavorless lagers. Craft beer is still the way to go. I fired up the grill and cooked some Samuel Adams Boston Lager Cuts, a steak designed by Dickson's Farmstead Meats in New York City.
It's officially summer, and now it's time to partake in the annual summer tradition: the grilling of the meat.
What's better than sitting outside on a warm day with a few friends, the smell of meat wafting through the air while you enjoy a few cold beverages?
But just because it's summer and you're outside doesn't mean you have to revert to drinking boring, mass-produced, flavorless lagers. Craft beer is still the way to go.
I'm new to grilling –– I bought my first grill this year –– and one of my favorite things to do is find the perfect beer to go with what I have on the barbecue. I've discovered there's a beer for every conceivable meat you can grill.
This past weekend, I fired up the grill (charcoal or wood is the way to go, by the way) and cooked some Samuel Adams Boston Lager Cuts, a steak designed by Dickson's Farmstead Meats in New York City. It was created to pair perfectly with the Samuel Adams Boston Lager.
They really do go well together. I don't know if this was a perfect pairing, but a glass of the Boston Lager and an 8-ounce steak with potatoes and corn made for a great dinner.
There are so many options for a great summertime beer pairing. Brown ales are the classic pairing for grilled beef. A nice steak cooked on the grill will get some nice caramelization from the hot coals and create some nice grill marks.
It is that caramelization that the brown ale, with its sweet, malty base, will latch onto. The flavors come together in perfect harmony.
Another beer to try with a grilled steak is the Chimay Premiere (also known as the Red). Of the three beers from this Belgian monastery, this is the maltiest of the beers. Like a brown ale, it tastes great with beef.
The beer is also heftier, coming in at 7 percent alcohol by volume, compared with around 5 percent ABV for the average brown ale. Many people prefer heavier beers to go with steak.
A brown ale also goes well with a burger, but another option is a good, hoppy pilsner. Pilsners are the styles most mass-produced beers are based on, but they're so watered down that there are not a lot of similarities.
A good pilsner, such as Victory's Prima Pils or Stoudts' Pils, is a fantastic beer. Have one with a good burger, and you’ll have a perfect meal.
If you're the kind of person who likes spicy marinades, barbecue sauces or rubs, there are two ways to go. Many people like an India pale ale with spicy foods. The hops can cut through the spices, but I like to go the other way with a malty beer. The mishmash of spicy hotness and a sweetness from the malts is a perfect balance. A good German-style bock, such as Lakefront's Bock Beer or Anchor's Bock, is a good choice.
Scotch ales, which are typically malt bombs, can be another option for a spicy dish. Oskar Blue's Old Chub or Founder's Backwoods Bastard are two of the best Scotch ales you can get your hands on.
Another style of beer that is just perfect for pairing with grilled or smoked meats is the German-style rauchbier. A rauchbier is brewed with smoked malts and has strong smokey flavors, and it smells like it was just on the grill. So imagine spending the day smoking a brisket and then eating it while enjoying a perfectly smoked beer.
The premiere beers of the style all come from the Aecht Schlenkerla brewery in Germany. All three rauchbiers –– the Marzen, the Urbock and the Weizen –– are all worthy.
Another smoky option can be Stone Brewing Company's Smoked Porter. It's not quite as smoky as a rauchbier, but it still has enough smokiness to go well with grilled meat.
For lighter foods, such as chicken and fish, a wheat-based beer is the way to go. A German-style hefeweizen or a Belgian-style witbier are lighter beers that won't overwhelm a delicate fish. If you have a heavier grilled chicken, a hoppy wheat beer like Peak Organic's Summer Session Ale would be awesome.
These are just a few options. There are many other grilled foods that can go great with these beers or other beers. Leave a comment on my blog (address below) to let me know your favorite grilling beer or beer marinade recipe.
Norman Miller is a Daily News staff writer in Massachusetts. For questions, comments, suggestions or recommendations, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 508-626-3823. Check out The Beer Nut blog at http://blogs.wickedlocal.com/beernut/ or follow the Beer Nut at his Twitter page at www.twitter.com/realbeernut.