Food & Drink

5 Beers to Pair with Your Favorite Summer Foods

Because Wine Shouldn't Have All the Fun

By Kevin Gray ·
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Image: Golden Road

There is a time and a place for beer.

That time: whenever.

That place: wherever.

Because beer is always a fine choice, whether you're basking by the pool, catching a baseball game or grilling on the deck. And even though wine gets more attention as a food-friendly drink, beer is an equally good accompaniment to many of your favorite foods.

"When choosing a beer to enjoy during the summer, I’m generally looking for a beer with a lighter body, lower level of alcohol, bright, oftentimes fruity flavors, and a crisp, dry finish," says Ryan Daley. He's one of only 19 Master Cicerones in the world and the Senior Educator at Brewers Collective. So, you should probably listen to him.

But since you don't need help pairing beer with burgers and hot dogs, here are Daley's five picks for serving beer alongside some of summer's other favorite foods. Use them wisely.

Steak Tacos
Pair with Golden Road Mango Cart

"Tacos and beer? Count me in!" says Daley. "The chili flavor of the steak tacos will find a nice counterpoint in the bright and sweet mango flavors of Golden Road Mango Cart, while the bread-like wheat flavors in the beer complement the tortilla. The pleasant carbonation of Mango Cart will help to cut through the richness of the steak and any cheese additions, like queso fresco."

lobster roll with allagash white beer
Allagash Brewing Company

Lobster Roll
Pair with Allagash White

"What grows together, goes together," says Daley. "If I’m enjoying a lobster roll, it immediately makes me think of Maine. And when thinking of delicious beers from Maine, especially one that pairs perfectly with a lobster roll, I’m thinking of Allagash White." He says that is has pleasant spice and citrus flavors that will help brighten up the lobster. And the lively carbonation of the beer will help cut through the rich taste and texture of the mayonnaise, keeping the palate fresh and ready for another bite.

Ceviche
Pair with Shock Top Zest

"The orange and lemon flavors of Shock Top Zest will find a fast friend in the lemon or lime citrus flavors of the ceviche, helping to further brighten the seafood selections in the dish," says Daley. "The subtle sweetness from the wheat in the beer will contrast the acidity in the ceviche to keep this pairing well balanced." It's a fine option if you find yourself on a sun-soaked patio, especially one situated on the water.  

goose island lemonade shandy in a cooler
Goose Island Beer Company

Goat Cheese Salad w/ Citrus Vinaigrette
Pair with Goose Island 312 Lemonade Shandy

Summer salads come in countless varieties, from standard lettuce salads to those featuring fruit. One of Daley's favorites is a fried goat cheese salad with a citrus vinaigrette. "The tart citrus flavor of the goat cheese and the dressing will complement the fresh lemon flavor of Goose Island 312 Lemonade Shandy. Those tart flavors will be contrasted by the light sweetness of the shandy to ensure harmony is maintained."

Peach Cobbler
Pair with Firestone Walker Mind Haze

If your summer hangout requires dessert, you can't go wrong with peach cobbler. "The fresh peach flavors of the cobbler will meld nicely with the tropical and citrus flavors of Firestone Walker Mind Haze," says Daley. "The beer’s moderate level of bitterness will contrast the sweetness of the sugars in the dish, while the smooth, creamy texture of the beer weaves seamlessly into the buttery, creamy taste and texture of the cobbler." Would you like a scoop of vanilla ice cream with that? Yes, yes you would.

Kevin Gray

Kevin Gray lives in Texas. He likes whiskey, weekends and hammocks, often at the same time.

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