Beer is one of the most versatile drinks out there. There is a beer for every occasion, and there’s a huge variety of fresh produce that is available at your local grocery store that can be paired up with a nice, cold beer.
We’ve put together a list of some of our favorite seasonal foods and paired them up with a beer that we think would be a fantastic flavor combination.
Mushrooms and light ales
Mushrooms are a great food because they taste great on almost everything. It doesn’t matter if you slice them up raw and add them to a fresh green salad or if you stuff them and serve them hot and overflowing with flavor. In fact, some breweries are using mushrooms as their beers’ base. With all of the things you can do with them, you just can’t go wrong with a handful of fresh mushrooms.
With grilling season just around the corner, serve up a juicy kebab of grilled steak and mushrooms and follow it up with a clean sip of a crisp-tasting light ale. Fire up the grill, throw some skewers on and take in the smooth taste of your light ale and the savory aroma of the kebabs.
Sweet potatoes and dark porters
Sweet potatoes are oftentimes associated with fall because they are commonly served during Thanksgiving. But actually, sweet potatoes are in season during April, so don’t let their deep orange color have you thinking about autumn leaves. Instead, let it have you thinking about a dark porter and a plate of steaming sweet potatoes.
Porters are known for their deep brown color and their bitter taste. Some people even catch a hint of dark chocolate or coffee here and there because of the roasted malt that’s used in brewing the beer.
If you ask us, a plate of sweet potatoes covered in melted butter and pecans with a porter to wash it all down sounds delicious.
Asparagus and wheat beers
The charm in the flavor of asparagus mostly comes from its texture and its earthy flavor. Like most green vegetables, they taste best when they’re steamed with salt, pepper and other spices. The vegetable offers two different textures — one from the thick, stringy stalk and another from the crunchy buds at the top.
Asparagus spears look a lot like a thicker, greener version of a strand of wheat and taste delicious when they’re paired with a smooth-tasting wheat beer. While the wheat doesn’t necessarily add to the flavor of the beer, it does add to the body of the drink, giving it a thicker, fluffier head than other beers may have.
Try mixing in a bit of cloves into your wheat beer to give it a little bit of a warm and sweet flavor, and then pair it with a steamed bundle of peppered asparagus and a lemon pepper salmon.
Citrus fruits and dark lagers
After a long winter, it’s nice to welcome spring with the zippy flavors of citrus fruits. Oranges, grapefruits, lemons and tangerines reach their peak ripeness in April. These sweet-and-sour juices can liven up any meal as a topping on a salad or as a salsa on fish or chicken.
When pairing beer and fruit, a lot of people suggest avoiding the combination of sweet fruits and dark lagers because the flavors may clash a little too much. Instead of opting for a sweet fruit, pick one with a tart flavor and contrast the tangy flavor of a tangerine with the malty flavor of a dark lager. The dark lagers have a bitter, yet creamy taste — they’re the Yin to the Yang of citrus fruits.
Radishes and Indian Pale Ales
Indian Pale Ales (IPAs) are known for their bitter, hoppy flavor that gets rounded out by a touch of citrus. The flavor is undeniably strong, so if you’re wanting to pair a strong beer with a strong vegetable, pick up a couple of radishes.
Radishes are known to have an extremely strong flavor. Only the brave will bite into a whole radish without shedding a tear. Typically, radishes are sliced and put into salads to add a bit of zip or are soaked in vinegar to increase their bitter taste.
One great way to serve up some fresh radishes with a six pack of IPAs is with a thick and juicy beef frank. Leave the ketchup in the fridge, and garnish your hot dog with mustard, tomatoes and radish slices tucked between the frank and the bun. The acidity of the radish will bring some zing to your hot dog, and chasing it down with a smooth-flavored IPA will give a second kick to your meal.
Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen knows the importance of a great beer, so we’ve got some delicious options for you to enjoy. Pair up a pint with a made-from-scratch meal and tip your glass to goodness. Come visit us and create a beer pairing of your own!