American Craft Beer Week falls in May, and we look forward to it every year—nearly as much as we look forward to dusting off our grills and throwing a thick Porterhouse down over the flames!
As butchers who have practiced and honed our craft for five generations, we can appreciate the expertise, skill, and care that go into making a fine craft brew. We are passionate about cutting meat, sourcing the very best meat, and providing our customers with a peak dining experience. We feel that craft brewers are just as passionate about providing a delicious, high-quality, refreshing brew with every frothy glass.
Also, as cookbook authors and devoted home-cooks, we also love a great entrée and beverage pairing. We know how a fantastic meal can be elevated to new heights by a perfect pairing with a delicious microbrew—and vice versa.
So in honor of America’s craft brewers, grilling season, and great cuts of meat, we’ve taste-tested some great craft brews that are perfect for the season and put them together with some tantalizing pairings for American Craft Beer Week 2016!
Craft Brews for Spring 2016
One of the things beer aficionados love is the change in seasons. Now that it’s springtime, we’ve put away our heavy stouts, porters, and spiced ales. Here is a sampling of what we’ve been tasting this spring and what we’re pairing it with from our Butcher Shop.
Nooner Pilsner, Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. (Chico, CA)
This German-style pilsner features “floral and spicy hop flavor.” We found it to be light and crisp with a clean, dry finish. This easy-drinking beer is great for warmer weather. Pair it with king crab legs or grilled shrimp kabobs.
Strawberry Harvest Lager, Abita Brewing (Abita Springs, LA)
This fruity lager is made with pilsner and wheat malts, so the body and mouthfeel are somewhere between the two—not quite as dry and bubbly as a pilsner, but lighter than a typical wheat beer. The result is a not-too-heavy, refreshing beer. The strawberry flavor is lightly sweet but not overpowering. It’s a great for spring or summertime. Since this is a fruit beer, with true strawberry flavor, it pairs well with meats that have an affinity for fruit. Therefore, try it with grilled pork chops, pork kabobs, chicken breasts, or chicken kabobs.
Electric Peel Grapefruit IPA, Magic Hat (South Burlington, VT)
Green Line Pale Ale, Goose Island Beer Co. (Chicago, IL)
This is an easy-drinking pale ale with dry, clean flavor and a smooth—not bitter—aftertaste. It has a pleasant, not overly bubbly, effervescence. Pair it with your favorite meat slathered in a spicy BBQ sauce, such as BBQ pork ribs, pulled pork, or a BBQ chicken sandwich.
Genesee Brew House Scotch Ale, Genesee Brewing Co. (Rochester, NY)
This ale features roasty, malty flavor with a smooth body—not too heavy as some Scotch ales can be. Pair this brew with robust low-and-slow barbecue such as brisket or short ribs. And use a spicy seasoning or dry rub to stand up to the strong flavor and alcohol content (7.5%) of the beer.
Troegenator Doublebock Beer, Tröegs Independent Brewing (Hershey, PA)
Tröegs says this beer was developed as an alternative to food for fasting monks. Therefore, it has a thick, chewy body (liquid bread, they call it) and a deep malty flavor. The strong flavor and alcohol content (8.2%) of this brew call for an equally strongly flavored dish for pairing, but nothing too heavy since the beer itself is rather heavy. Try it with a spicy Jamaican jerk chicken, blackened fish, or a spicy jambalaya.
What are you drinking this spring? What are your favorite springtime food and beer pairings? Share your favorite craft beer, brewery, or style with us—we’d love to hear about it!