When choosing a fermented beverage to enjoy with cuisine most people think of wine — which isn’t surprising since it’s been served at upscale dinner tables for centuries. Beer, the working man’s drink, has traditionally been associated with delicious, blue collar fare like wings, burgers, brats, and pizza. Only ten years ago, the thought of ordering a tasty brew to wash down a cut of prime beef from a high-end steakhouse would elicit snickers from the staff and a snooty recommendation from the pompous server.
Read more: Pairing beer and food: It’s not for just for wings anymore
Through chemical analysis of really old jars found near Iran we now know that beer is at least 7000 years old. A thousand years later, those rascally Sumerians in Mesopotamia left a tablet behind depicting peeps drinking from a communal bowl of brew through reed straws. This was also unintentionally recreated at my last drunken party. But today, Today, mad ale scientists have a plethora of bittering and flavoring agents available to experiment with.
Read more: The history, current state, and future of beer and brewing
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. 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.
Read more: Brew n ‘Cue: Independence Day grilling and brews
An infographic that comes to us from Frugaldad.com, who graciously gave us permission to use this since they borrowed some content from this website. Pretty righteous, huh? It outlines — in an informatively visual fashion – at what temperature should you drink beer, the health benefits of beer and what foods pair best with America’s favorite beverage.
Read more: The case for beer: What temperature to drink? What pairings? Health benefits? (infographic)
“In the summertime when the weather’s high” anything light, refreshing, and drinkable — with some flavor and character — makes an excellent choice. The aisles at the local beer mart are actually loaded with solid beach brews. Styles like the Belgian Wit, American Cream Ale, Pale Ale, Hefeweizen, Helles Bock, and American Pale Wheat Ale all make the grade when “School’s Out”. Many reach for a solstice-celebrating seasonal. And why not? There’s certainly an abundance of these on the shelves. Any brewery worth its salt releases a special offering, usually around the time when the “Boys of Summer” start playing for real. Traditionally a good percentage of these brews are garbage though. Thirst quenching and non-offensive perhaps, but they’re generally watery and lack any resemblance to quality. It can be a “Cruel Summer” when throwing hard-earned dough at mediocre hooch disguised as craft beer.
Read more: Three tasty craft beers for summer: Summerbright, Summer Love and Colette Farmhouse
The Strip’s always beautiful at sunset. Tall palms seductively sway from the cool evening breeze just like the gals down at the Go-Go. The large sign on the hill reminds me that this is the place where dreams come true, where fortunes are made, where stars are born. Fact is though, this town is merciless: It will break you down, chew you up, and send you back from where you came — penniless and broken. For every star that makes it, a thousand don’t and some of those end up with concrete boots and a tarry demise. Sometimes just wakin’ up with your dignity and a nickel in your pocket feels like an accomplishment. Sometimes, just wakin’ up does… I feel like I’ve been walking this boulevard of broken dreams for days. A sign reading “Craft Beer Here” draws me toward the door. I walk in. A friendly voice asks, “Hey stranger, you lookin’ for a Blonde tonight?” I tell him, “No Sam, I’m lookin’ for something with a little more personality. And make it a double.” He nods and says, “Well, in that case, I’ve got A Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’ just for you chief.”
Read more: Beer Noir reviews: Behind the 8 Ball Stout and A Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’ Ale
What was once dated and lowbrow is now new and trendy. Canned beer has traditionally gotten a bad rap. Childhood memories of tin-wrapped cheap swill still abound in my clouded head. Back in those days (the 70’s and 80’s) the shelves in the Midwest were lined with cans of Miller High Life, Schmidt (with the wildlife), PBR, Blatz, Schaefer (they actually still make that stuff), and of course the king himself — Budweiser. It was all relative though, beer was beer and it was mostly cheap swill. There was no Dogfish Head or Rogue — choices were limited. The upscale brew at that time was Michelob, and if you were suave and had the funds, the night could belong to Michelob in a bottle.
Read more: Retro brew is cool: Five canned craft beers for the patio
The mention of cider in the U.S. takes most Americans’ thoughts to the cloudy, amber, delicious, but decidedly non-alcoholic beverage found in groceries and farm stands in the fall. Ask for a cider in the U.K. and Ireland, however, and you will be presented with a very different drink. There, cider is most often clear, carbonated, and most definitely possessing alcohol. Many in the states still refer to this variety as hard cider.
Read more: The wonders of hard apple cider: A substitute for beer fatigue?
Gluttonous feasts and getting together with family and friends are part of this festive day. Of course, something needs to wash down all that grub, especially with family. Wine is served and is often the fermented beverage of choice, usually a box or three of Franzia Blush could be found at our family Easter gala growing up. But beer is a great addition to the dinner table as well…especially if Franzia Blush is the vino of choice (and they should be reading more TaylorEason.com).
Read more: The Easter Bunny grabs a few beers: Aprihop, Big Easy Imperial and Alpine Spring
Since March 17th approacheth, ’tis time to sport the Irish brogue and learn a wee bit about the best Irish brews available on these Yankee shores. Tis true that the best Guinness drought is the freshest, sent o’er the local pub after brewing in Dublin but that doesn’t mean we Americans are starved for options. Here’s a list of some brilliant links for beer lovers of all levels to celebrate the impending Irish holiday. Slainte!
Read more: Happy St. Patty’s Day: Irish Beer 101