Around these parts — and most parts, really — “Happy Fourth of July” is synonymous with “happy cookout.” So we nailed down CMBC’s Chief Operating Officer Chris “Hank” Henke on which of our brews you should be drinking with your favorite barbeque foods this holiday.
“Some people believe sweetness complements sweetness and bitterness complements bitterness,” Hank says. “But for the most part, I think flavors can get overpowering this way. I prefer to think of beer as a palette cleanser between bites — something that’s not building on top of, but washing away.”
To that end, we present your firecrackin’ good Independence Day Menu…
Hamburgers/hotdogs: If you’re going to wreck your diet, Fourth of July is the time to do it, and the Blonde is the beverage to wash it all down with. “It’s a crispy, hoppy beer that cuts through the fat,” Hank says.
Pasta salad/potato salad: These can be heavy on the vinegar, so it’s best to stick with something malty, like the ‘Jersey Fresh’-designated Honey Porter.
Watermelon: It’s the iconic summer fruit – pair it with the Tower 23 Berlier Weisse and you get some sour with your sweet.
Apple Pie: Arguably the most American of all desserts, this staple goes best with the Apple Bomb. “The apple flavor in the pie will bring out the apple flavor in the beer and vice versa,” says Hank.
Ribs with barbeque sauce: Honey Porter. ‘Nuff said.
Clam bakes/Lobster bakes: Because seafood has such a delicate flavor, stick with something that won’t overpower, like The Bog cranberry shandy. “Unless you’re the type of person who dumps a ton of Old Bay on your crabs,” Hank says. “In this case, your meal won’t be overwhelmed by a heavier beer, like Coastal Evacuation.”
Ice cream: Do as Mopman does and mix your Honey Porter or Stout with vanilla ice cream to make a beer float. “A fruity ice cream like strawberry will mix well with the Berliner,” Hank says. “That beer was originally served with syrup to add sweetness.”
The wild card: If you’re at kooky Great Aunt Bertha’s for the Fourth, and she’s serving less-than-traditional holiday fare that stumps you (Spam sushi, anyone?), fear not. “Cape May IPA goes well with anything,” Hank says.
Happy Independence Day, y’all.