The unofficial start of summer is here and, barring the weather, Memorial Day will be filled with lots of outdoor activities and backyard barbecues. What goes best with backyard cookouts? Beer, of course! This year serve your guests something a step above standard macro beers.
There is an endless supply of great craft beers for your summer celebrations. The trick is to find ones enjoyable for everyone, even those who have not had the fortune of trying craft beer. Here is a short list of delicious and flavorful beers perfect for cookouts.
Oskar Blues: Mama’s Little Yella Pils — This 5.3% ABV pilsner is perfect for friends or family who only drink macro beers. The light body and crisp malt characteristics are familiar, but this beer has an edge on the competition — flavor. This crisp pilsner has a subtle hop bite with a malt backbone that provides balances and a hint of sweetness. The low ABV makes this a great beer to enjoy while slaving over the grill and won’t effect your ability to grill a delicious burger.
Sam Adams: Boston Lager — Even those who are not craft beer drinkers know Sam Adams. The brewery is one of the largest craft brewers in the world, an they make some of the best. Boston Lager is its flagship and has been a top seller for them and remains so to this day. The perfect smooth mouthfeel and malty flavors are the perfect accompaniment to a juicy burger piled high with toppings and is also the perfect transition beer for those looking to get into craft beer.
Lagunitas Brewing Company: Daytime Ale — The IPA style is the most popular beer style in the craft beer market. However, it is a style that can be off-putting to those new to it. Many tend to be very hop forward and impart a strong bittering quality that takes time for anyone’s palate to adjust to. There are great lighter IPAs like Daytime. The light 4.6% ABV makes this a beer to enjoy in quantity and flavor is not sacrificed. The hops are present, but impart light citrus flavors with light sweet malts in perfect balance to keep the bitterness from dominating.
Boulevard Brewing Co.: 80 Acre Hoppy Wheat — Wheat beers are the perfect style of beers for summer. They have a light refreshing quality few other styles can match. Boulevard’s 80 Acre takes the light crisp wheat beer style and imparts a subtle hop forward quality. The above average hop addition makes this beer even more refreshing without giving a strong bittering quality. This is the perfect beer to bridge between hop forward IPAs and light, airy wheat beers.
Dogfish Head: Namaste — Dogfish Head is known for its world-class IPAs and has an extensive portfolio of world-class beers. Namaste is its ultra refreshing Witbier and one of its best beers. The 4.8% ABV is great for a day filled with cooking, cleaning or yard maintenance, but the flavors are deep and impactful. The beer is made with dried organic orange slices, fresh-cut lemongrass and coriander. It seems to not need repeating, but this Belgian-style white beer is a great thirst quencher.
No matter how you celebrate, do it with style. The craft beer market can be intimidating, but do not be afraid. Once you make the switch and expand your palate to the wide array of flavors you will never go back. No matter what you drink this holiday weekend be sure to be safe and enjoy responsibly.
Derek Warren is a beer fanatic, avid homebrewer and beer historian. Derek can be heard weekly on the Beer Geeks Radio Hour at noon on Sundays on WILK 103.1 FM with past episodes available on iTunes.