Wednesday, June 27, 2012

A "Swill Free" Independence Day

by Ryan

So, it's Independence Day, and you're thirsty — what do you do? If you aren't a teetotaler, you might be reaching for a beer in that cooler. Well, for starters, a simple question — why did you buy that beer? Refreshing? Drinkable? Water and lemonade are much cheaper, friends. If you're going to drink a beer, shouldn't it have ... how do I put it ... flavor?

If you've continued to read, I'm assuming that you are interested in some alternatives; perhaps I reach too far with that assumption. But, if you are, I hope the suggestions below are helpful. They will be organized by accessibility and will feature beers made or available widely at beer specialty retailers.

1. "I'm not too adventurous ... and I usually only drink beer on July Fourth, anyway."

Primary suggestion: Schlafly Kolsch

This beer will be more flavorful than your run-of-the-mill brands, but it shouldn't overpower even the most sensitive palate. Low bitterness, hay-like qualities and apple/pear notes make this a quenching, yet satisfying, choice.

Food pairing: chicken salad, salmon, bratwurst, lighter cheeses (monterey jack, etc.), lemon tart, transparent pie (for my homies in Mason County)

2. "I don't consider myself a beer expert, but I always enjoy a good beer with friends."

Primary suggestion: Ayinger Brau-Weisse

American alternative: Victory Sunrise Weissbier

An authentic German hefeweizen (wheat beer) with plenty of character, German hefeweizen typically carry some light tartness, making them ultra refreshing. This particular example starts with honey, gum and clove, continues with some slight pepper, and terminates with an herbal bouquet.

Food pairing: grilled chicken (especially with a lemony rub/marinade), burgers, salmon, sushi (for that international flair), weisswurst (the traditional pairing), goat/herbal cheeses, strawberry shortcake

I thoroughly enjoyed my bottle of Ayinger Brau-Weisse.

3. "One of my guests has completed the Beer Judge Certification Program. Help!"

Primary suggestion: Lindemans Gueuze Cuvee Rene

American alternative: Jolly Pumpkin Bam Biere (not a gueuze; most American "lambic" is produced and distributed in limited locales)

What on earth is gueuze, you say? Well, gueuze (usually pronounced "gooz" in the states) is a mixture of different ages of lambic, a beer style indigenous to Pajottenland, a region southwest of Brussels, Belgium. This mixture creates a secondary fermentation, producing a beer with different characteristics from the original two lambics. Still confused? Essentially, this beer is the true Champagne of beer — they have an interesting interplay of sour/tart flavors, various fruits and a very dry finish. In terms of wine, a Riesling is comparable.

Food pairing: mussels, duck, game, smoked salmon, crab cakes, bluefish, sardines, ceviche, smoked sausage, salad with raspberry vinaigrette


Some of these beers may be difficult to track down. If you wish to have further alternatives, just leave a comment, and I will do my best to find a comparable beer for you.

No comments:

Post a Comment