Everyone’s different. That’s one of the reasons we have hundreds of brands to choose from at The Beer Store. And while we love beer, there’s more to explore out there — and sometimes we’re just in the mood for something other than our go-to ales or lagers.
In fact, lots of people prefer fruity drinks over hoppy sips with their favourite foods. That’s why we’re excited about the delicious array of malt-based drinks we have chilled and waiting at our stores. We’re talking tangy-sweet coolers, and hard iced teas, lemonades and seltzers, all of which are tasty partners to a good meal.
If you’ve never tried one of these sunny thirst-quenchers, you’re in for a treat. There are more flavoured malt beverages now than ever before, and with so many juicy varieties to choose from, they are wildly popular. Here’s what you need to know.
So what are flavoured malt beverages?
You may never have heard this term before, but the idea is simple. It’s just a catch-all name we use for coolers, and hard iced teas, lemonades and seltzers.
The word “malt” is the main clue here — it tells you what these drinks are made from. Just like beer, they start with malted grain, which is fermented to produce alcohol. From there, they’re flavoured, and that’s where the deliciousness begins.
Know your coolers from your seltzers
So what to try first? Hard seltzer, hard lemonade — it can be tough to decide! To help you figure it all out, here are the possibilities.
- Coolers: If you have a bit of a sweet tooth, coolers could be your new go-to for refreshment. They tend to be juicy — sample a few different kinds and you’ll catch a taste of everything from cranberry to grapefruit to fruit punch.
- Hard seltzers: Looking for a beverage that’s light, refreshing and perfect on a hot day? Seltzers are it. Carbonated (in other words, bubbly) and often pretty dry in terms of flavour, hard seltzers are super thirst-quenchers.
- Hard iced teas: What’s brewing here? As the name suggests, hard iced teas are drinks that give you the earthy yet palate-cleansing flavour of tea. Try serving them on ice in a tall glass with a slice of lemon — ideally on a sunny afternoon.
- Hard lemonades: Tangy and refreshing, these are the perfect marriage of lemonade and malt. Hard lemonades are great cool out of the fridge but can be even more thirst-beating when you add ice.
Food pairings that pop
Hard seltzers, hard lemonades, iced teas and coolers are all refreshing meal companions. What you eat with them depends on the flavour you’re choosing. Here’s a quick 101 on what works.
Lemon and lime: The zesty aromas of citrus fruit are some of the most versatile in terms of food pairing. The fresh zip of lemon and lime will enhance dishes involving fish and seafood, chicken, green vegetables and salads, and potatoes.
Watermelon: Is there a flavour that says “summer” with as much gusto as watermelon? It cheerfully complements dishes that feature basil, soft cheeses such as feta, and salty meats like ham. Caprese salad and prosciutto, anyone?
Peach: Here’s another classic summery fruit. It’s tasty alongside homemade jerk chicken with peach salsa or anything you’d slather barbecue sauce on — from chicken to ribs to pulled pork.
Iced tea: Take the tannic (which means slightly bitter) flavour of tea, add some sweetness and you have a balanced drink you can pair with a wide variety of foods. Iced tea works with everything from green, leafy vegetables to roasted chicken to pizza (where the herbs and tomato nicely complement the tannins).
Berry: Whatever your favourite berries might be, they’re all here, from straw- to rasp- to cran-. Berries taste great with both chocolate and cream, and a berry cooler makes a fine pairing with all kinds of desserts.
Tropical fruit: Explore our offerings and you’ll discover plenty of beverages that taste like pineapple, mango and other tropical fruits. They contrast deliciously with the chili pepper aromas in Thai and Mexican dishes. Try them with spicy curries or tacos.
Punch: So what exactly goes into this flavour? You’ll find all sorts of fruits, from strawberries to papayas. The one constant is that punch is juicy-tasting and refreshing. Whatever the exact flavour profile of your preferred beverage, it will punch up any dish that includes mint, cucumber or vanilla. (Sorry, we can’t resist a #dadjoke.)