Summertime And The Living Is Easy
By Brandon Chaplin, Specialty Manager
O.K. so it’s finally here, summer, and if you haven’t already, you probably are planning to break out the grill and enjoy some backyard gourmet cooking otherwise known as barbeque. Cooking outdoors is a favorite pastime for many folks in these summer months and what goes better with grilling on a hot summer day than ice cold beer?
I have found that unlike wine, beer offers much more flexibility when pairing with your outdoor cuisine. Considering the time of year, you may want to indulge more in the I.P.A., 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 times of the year. A couple of selections that I would suggest for making your barbeque even more enjoyable are 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 in the slightest as it boasts a hefty 72.41 International Bitterness Unit (IBU) rating. It has all you would expect from a double I.P.A. with a beautiful, floral, hoppy nose and a crisp, clean finish, as well as 9.03 percent Alcohol By Volume (ABV). 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 summer wheat ale is one of my favorites. It embodies the essence of a sunny afternoon with its creamy citrus goodness. I really can’t say enough good things about this beer—yes this is the beer that puts Blue Moon and Shock Top to shame. I have enjoyed this beer with all manner of dishes including several barbequed meats, but recently I had it with grilled salmon and found that pairing to be a match made in heaven.
Whatever beer you choose to have with your backyard feast, I think that you will find that grilling at home is a fun and economical alternative to eating out. So fire up the barbie, pop open a cold one, relax and soak up the season.