By Brandon Chaplin, Specialty Manager
Summer is definitely here, you are probably planning to break out the grill and enjoy some barbecue deliciousness. Cooking outdoors is a favorite pastime everywhere during these summer months and what goes better with grilling on a hot summer day than ice-cold beer?
Beer offers significant flexibility when pairing with your outdoor cuisine. Considering the time of year though, you may want to indulge more in the India Pale Ale (IPA). or summer ale styles. These are typically lighter bodied and more refreshing than some of the heavier Imperial stouts or winter ales that many of us enjoy in the colder climates. This year there are some notable offerings. The most surprising of these is the Shiner Ruby Red Bird. This beer is light bodied with a pleasing hint of ruby red grapefruit and a twist of ginger, an amazing combination that is so refreshing that you will become an instant fan. There is also the similarly named Ruby Red from Great Divide. This one is a different beer all together. Great Divide has taken their wonderfully light bodied ale and added fresh red raspberries to it creating a pleasing slightly fruited beer that dances beautifully on the palate.
In the realm of IPA’s we have some excellent new selections. Misery Bay IPA, Peak Organic IPA, and Sea Hag to name a few. There is also Joker IPA, Latitude 48 Deconstructed, Shipyard’s Pugsley’s XXXX IPA and many others. In short, we have enough IPA selections to keep even the most fickle of Hop Heads busy all summer long.
There are also the older favorites such as Lagunitas’ Undercover Investigation Shut-Down Ale and Bell’s Oberon Summer Ale. The Undercover Investigation Shut-Down is one of the “Limited Release” offerings from Lagunitas Brewing Company and is only available seasonally. This beer is pretty incredible and if you are a true fan of hops you won’t be let down. It boasts a hefty 72.41 International Bittering Units (I.B.U.) rating and has all you would expect from a double IPA with a beautiful floral hoppy nose, a crisp clean finish and 9.03% Alcohol By Volume. All of this adds up to a beer that means serious business. You will have no trouble pairing this beer with chicken, ribs, steak and even the modest burger or hot dog.
For those who would like to drink something not so bitter and strong there is the wonderful Bell’s Oberon. This wheat ale is one of my favorites. In the past Oberon was only available in the summer but is now available year round. It embodies the essence of a sunny afternoon with its creamy citrus goodness. Yes, this is the beer that puts Blue Moon and Shocktop to shame. I have found that this beer pairs best with grilled salmon or chicken dishes, but has no problem standing on its own.