The Holiday: Independence Day celebrates the official adoption of the Declaration of Independence way back in 1776. To most Americans, this national holiday conjures up memories of fireworks, parties, and backyard cookouts with friends. Many of us patriotic citizens open up a cold one and unknowingly pay homage to our country’s ale loving and homebrewing forefathers — George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Ben Franklin, and of course Sam Adams.
This is a busy holiday for many. Quick and simple patio fare allows more time to visit with friends, light off some fireworks (in certain states), and sip more suds. This 4th, we’re putting a gourmet and patriotic spin on basic grilled grub and washing it down with some fabulous American craft beers. Our own John Hancock, if you will.
This is the second annual Independence Day Brew n ‘Cue. Last year Red White and Blue Burgers were the star, this year some tasty kabobs earn their dinner-table stripes.
The Meal: Today’s brew-n-cue will include three courses: an appetizer, a skewered main course, and a boozy dessert. We chose a craft beer to complement each course, all from American breweries of course. The festivities kick off with a good old American Blue Cheese paired with a West Coast IPA. The main course is heaps of meat and vegetables loaded on bamboo sticks with an accompaniment from Bluepoint Brewing Company’s Toasted Lager. A couple of strong American White Beers make for a memorable finish.
The Appetizer: AmaBlu Blue Cheese- a puckering, rich, spicy, and slightly creamy cheese full of character from the caves of Faribault, MN.
- The Beer: Redhook Long Hammer IPA— an everyman’s new world IPA out of Washington State, full of pine and grapefruit hop goodness.
- The Pairing: The bitterness of the blue cheese counterbalances the bitterness of the American India Pale Ale bringing out its sweet malt flavors, while the distinctive pine and citrus hop notes of the beer contrast with the spicy, sharp flavors of the blue.
Appetizer Directions: Open the Amablu container and serve the cheese on a plate. Pop the Long Hammer’s top and enjoy. Not much easier than that!
The Main Course: Independence Day Kabobs- Flavorful red and white meats and similarly colored vegetables cover the grill and plate. Healthy, and full of flavor with a few innovative US twists.
- The Beer: Blue Point Brewing Company’s Toasted Lager— a food friendly lager with some complexity out of New York with a bread-y finish.
- The Pairing: The toasty notes of the brew complement the smoky meats while the complex, but laid back, malts let the myriad of flavors shine through. A crowd-pleasing match made in backyard BBQ heaven.
Kabob Directions: Cut 1 lb. of bottom sirloin or high quality beef and 1 lb. of chicken breast into 2 inch cubes. Marinade beef cubes in Jamaican Jerk marinade and chicken in Teriyaki marinade for 3 hours (find those in most grocery stores). Chop a white onion into 1/6’s and a red pepper into 2-inch squares. Skewer each ingredient separately — this will help cook each evenly. There’s nothing worse than having a skewer with charred peppers and undercooked chicken. Spray/toss vegetables with olive oil and season with cracked black pepper and sea salt. Keep the fire low, use oak, pecan and hickory wood if smoking. Place meat and veggies over fire, move periodically to utilize both indirect and direct cooking. Cook to appropriate temperature and enjoy!
Advanced Grilling: To add a smoky flavor, cook meat over indirect heat with a tinfoil smoker pouch or smoker box filled with oak, pecan and hickory chips. Move over to direct heat after about 15-20 minutes. If using a kettle type charcoal grill, just rotate the grill grate, but not, of course, with your bare hands.
The Dessert: A couple of high-powered U.S. Wit beers that please the palate and get the party started!
- The Beer: Southampton Publick House Double White— A thirst-quenching and upscale 6.6% ABV Wit from New York, full of tart lemon and citrus flavors.
- The Beer: Sam Adams Imperial White- This potent 10.3% ABV behemoth Wit is over-the-top and sweet. In fact, this offering from the brewer patriot is nearly cordial-like.
- The Pairing: Two completely different takes on the Belgian Wit that work harmoniously together. The zesty fruit and sour yeast notes of Southampton‘s refreshing Wit contrast beautifully with the pepper, rich toasted malts, and syrupy butterscotch flavors of the orange liqueur like Sam Adams Imperial White.
Dessert Directions: Pour each beer into a small cordial or scotch glass. Sip the Southampton first then the Sam Adams Imperial White next, then repeat.