When the sun is shining and you feel like a beer, your first instinct for something pale
But wait — don’t pick up that pilsner just yet! If you prefer dark beers in the cooler months, there’s no reason you can’t stick with your favourites year-round. Dark beers actually shine when matched up with some classic summer foods. If a friend tells you dark beer is too heavy for summer, suggest they try a cold one with their favourite BBQ grub and watch them enjoy its surprisingly refreshing taste. Try these pairings to see what we mean..
Burgers and brown ale
Hamburgers may be the perfect summer backyard meal, and they go nicely with lots of beer styles. Brown ale’s soft nuttiness complements the beef and the bun, and its malty sweetness plays well with a wide range of condiments. It’s a fun choice whether you like to pile on the works or you’re more of a just-lettuce-tomato-and-ketchup person.
Like burgers, sausages are great with beers of all shades. But for something deliciously different, serve grilled sausage on a bun with dark lager (sometimes called “dunkel,” if it’s German-style). Its roasty flavours will enhance the mild smokiness from the barbecue, and it’s crisp enough to be refreshing on a hot day.
A true Texas-style brisket is rubbed with spices and then cooked for up to 12 hours over smouldering chunks of oak, where it picks up its signature deep, smoky flavour. You need a powerful beer to stand up to that, and the sweet, toasted malt of a dark India pale ale (IPA) is a perfect match. Its strong hop aromas will enhance the flavours of the spices in the rub.
Don’t forget the side dishes! The malt flavours of many dark beers complement the sweetness of corn, and the roasted taste of a dark or brown ale goes perfectly with the charred bits on those barbecued kernels. Bonus: If you soak your corn before grilling, try using beer instead of water for a flavour boost.
Dark beer is an ideal partner to just about any meat that’s been cooked slowly over low heat (like the Texas brisket above). If you’re digging in to slow-cooked ribs, you’re likely to pour on plenty of barbecue sauce — and a stout or porter is full-bodied, with a deep sweetness that pairs well with that saucy meat.
A classic Mexican sauce, mole poblano contains both chili peppers and chocolate, and it’s delicious over chicken (or pork). You can’t go wrong serving chicken topped with mole with your favourite stout or porter. These beers are made with malted barley that’s toasted until it tastes like chocolate (brewers actually call it “chocolate malt”). Stout is also a super match for spicy food, so add it to your lineup whenever there’s a little heat on the menu.