A barbeque is not a barbeque without great summer beers! When I sit down and brainstorm Backyard BBQ Party Ideas, I start with a great menu. Whether it’s my dad’s famous ribs, steaks on the grill, or barbeque chicken and pizza, there is always that perfect summer beer to pair with my favorite summer food. Just remember, don’t overlook choosing beers for your event; alcohol often makes or breaks the perfect party. I listed my favorite beers and then polled my family (who all fancy themselves beer connoisseurs) and came up with a list of delicious brews for your summer bash. After choosing your drink menu, make sure to display your beers in an eye-catching inflatable cooler - a perfect decorations for a summer get-together!
1. Leinenkugel Summer Shandy: An all-purpose, lemonade-infused beer, Summer Shandy breaks away from more conventional beers. This beer has broken out in the past few years and seems to be very popular with those who are tired of Bud Light. Taking that into account, Summer Shandy will appeal to most beer drinkers and, when served cold, can be paired with almost any barbeque food. It also comes in either bottles or cans, and because it has become more popular in recent years, it can be found in most grocery stores.
2. Sam Adams Summer Ale: This wheat ale has sharp citrus flavors that pair well with other tangy summer foods like potato or Caesar salads, seasoned steaks, and key lime pie. Also noted for its gold color, this summer ale will go well with a more formal, sit-down barbeque.
3. Guinness: What what what?! Guinness in the summer? Absolutely. Despite its dark flavors, it is actually a lighter beer in calories than other regular beers. Guinness pairs well with smoky grilled meats like beef brisket, barbeque pork ribs, and steaks. Want to impress your guests? Check out this video on how to pour the perfect Guinness from a can.
4. Land Shark Lager: This widely available lager will be easy to find in any grocery store and is a great choice for those who are just beginning to explore beyond their boring, safe light beer. It goes great with burgers and hotdogs for the classic American cookout. Don’t be surprised if you’re making many trips to restock the cooler with this thirst quencher!
5. Sierra Nevada Pale Ale: A summer must have. This is my husband’s summer beer choice, which is always in our fridge. This stronger beer has a hoppier taste than more commercial beers. While my husband finds it pairs well with many things, its versatility goes well with burgers. Feel free to pile them high with all of sorts of toppings, like grilled onions and pepper jack cheese. Sierra Nevada Pale Ale out of the can is pure summer time, but just a heads up; like many pale ales and IPAs, this beer is “can conditioned,” meaning there will be a fine dusting of yeast that is added to the beer after it is canned. True connoisseurs appreciate the extra boost of yeast, but if you are serving to the more timid party guest, you may want to poor slowly from the can, leaving the bottom half an inch of beer in the can.
6. Bell Oberon: This Michigan favorite is a great choice for a summer time picnic when it is just too hot to fire up the grill. If you are serving your guests cold cut sandwiches and salads on a hot day, this beer will compliment both nicely with its smooth, slightly sweet finish. Since this is a wheat ale, it will appear a bit “cloudy” because of the mixture of yeast suspended in the beer. Definitely a thirst quencher!
7. Fat Head’s Head Hunter IPA: As its name suggests, this beer is not for the faint of heart! IPA fans will appreciate the sharp and refreshing zing of this Cleveland, Ohio powerhouse. Its strong hoppiness will make it a match worthy of spicy Mexican food like grilled flank steak fajitas and pork carnitas tacos. While it may be a difficult to “hunt” down outside the Midwest, Head Hunter will not disappoint those who like their beer with a kick. As with all IPAs, a fine dusting of yeast is added to the bottle to give it that final oomph.
8. Kona Longboard Island Lager: Recommended by my mother-in-law, this beer, like many island lagers, goes well with pizza. Given that this surfer’s refreshment is brewed in (you guessed it) Hawaii, pairing this with a Hawaiian pizza (ham and pineapple) is a definite winner.
9. Great Lakes Wright Pilsner: A Cleveland, Ohio area classic, this beer is a big-time upgrade on your average mass-marketed pilsner. Crisp and refined, this beer goes well with pizza, or for the more daring, grilled pizza! Go ahead and add your favorite toppings; this beer can handle it.
Enjoy your summer brews!