Memorial Day weekend is a perfect chance to put a few six-packs on ice, light up the charcoal and relax.
But what beers go best with grilled or smoked meat? The easy answer is whatever you like, of course. A light treat like a Pacifico will go great while you're sweating over a fire. But is it the best choice for the burgers you're cooking up or the brisket you're smoking?
My thought is always to have some fun, go for something new, something that adds to the party. Here are three choices to bear in mind when you're at the store.
With burgers, one option would be Shiner's new Wild Hare Pale Ale, which is floral and nicely hoppy, certainly bold enough to stand up to the beef. Or pork. Or even rabbit, as Jeff Balfour of Citrus demonstrated recently when he was drinking the Wild Hare while making cheese-stuffed rabbit burgers.
I asked Mark McDavid of Ranger Creek Brewing & Distilling for a recommendation from his lineup. "Our Mesquite Smoked Porter is perfect for a barbecue," he says. "It's not the beer you'll drink while
you're grilling. It really shines as an ingredient/marinade, so you can drizzle some on your burgers while grilling or marinate your sausages in it. It's also a great beer to drink with your food. The roasty, smokey, dark chocolate flavors from the beer pair well with grilled red meats and can bring out new dimensions of flavor in food. Plus, our Mesquite Smoked Porter is a beer made for Texans, and grilling is also made for Texans, so enjoying both together can make you feel like a very proud Texan!"
A third choice would be the Samuel Smith's Oatmeal Stout, which I like to pair with a big slab of blue cheese or aged cheddar on that burger. The beer has a certain creaminess that matches the cheese, while the bitterness, with flavors of coffee and chocolate, provides a rewarding contrast.
All three would add life and more than a little flavor to your weekend.