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This sponsored column is written by Todd Himes, beermonger at Arrowine (4508 Lee Highway). Sign up for the email newsletter and receive exclusive discounts and offers. Order from Arrowine’s expanding online store for curbside pickup.

“Aroma of skunk, musty, can be similar to burned rubber or cat musk.”

That definition of the lightstruck off-flavors in beer comes directly out of the Cicerone study resources.

But what is lightstruck beer? When certain hop compounds react to UV light, they create 3-methyl-2-butene-1-thiol, or MBT, which you may know as the culprit behind that odorous character often found in some “top-shelf” imported lagers — or late nights on some dark country roads.

Brown glass bottles would filter out most of that UV light where green and clear bottles would let UV wavelengths pass through with greater ease and thus green and clear bottles received a reputation for “ruining” many a beer and changing the flavor of what its brewers would have intended.

For years I bought into that — it even became one of the tenets of my strong support for putting more beer into cans. If some light was bad why not eliminate all light? Somewhere along the way, though, I’ve been introduced to thinking those green bottles unfairly got a bad rap.

Many of my favorite Belgian breweries have been bottling their beers in green glass for longer than I’ve certainly been drinking them. Even after I’d learned the hardline “green is bad,” I longed to try the lambics of Cantillon, Drie Fonteinen and Boon, all of which were shipped across the sea in verdant vessels.

The first Belgian in green that crossed my lips was Saison Dupont. Upon uncorking that bottle, I was struck by the aromas that were decidedly “farmy” before farmhouse ales were truly on my radar. But nowhere was I thinking about skunks or tire fires, just-cut hay, horse stalls and dank grasses. Saison and lambics became some of my favorite styles, and I even saw a noble art in what I saw as the unknown and unpredictable effects of wild yeasts, spontaneous fermentation and wood aging.

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This sponsored column is written by Todd Himes, beermonger at Arrowine (4508 Lee Highway). Sign up for the email newsletter and receive exclusive discounts and offers. Order from Arrowine’s expanding online store for curbside pickup.

This weekend is going to be a snack food extravaganza with plenty of commercial breaks, a whole lot of Snoop Dogg (performing in a halftime show and hosting/coaching the Puppy Bowl!) and rumor has it there will also be a football game going on around all of this.

There’s also going to be plenty of beers to go around, both in those commercials and in many of our hands. The sort of light lagers you’ll mostly see advertised will certainly have their place at many parties and on bar tops but if you’re interested in stepping up a few of your pairings I’m here with a few suggestions for you. Now, I’ll say a great craft lager or your favorite IPA could just as easily go with any of these foods and you can feel free to mix and match any of these as well, but I’m going to throw out a few of my favorites and give what you’ll hopefully find to be inspired pairings.

Nachos and Witbier

This pairing works incredibly well because the Wit will introduce a bright and fresh element with some citrus and spice. If you’re loading up nachos with fresh guac, pico de gallo and lots of shredduce, a tasty witbier can compliment all those flavors. If you prefer your tortillas smothered in queso, refried beans or chorizo then the higher than average carbonation of the style can cut through those denser, rich flavors.

Beermonger’s Choice — Port City Optimal Wit

Chili Con Carne and Smoked Lager

I really love this pairing because the smoke flavor really incorporates well into chili but a crisp lagered finish can help keep your palate from getting overwhelmed. There’s lots of suggestions out there for porters and stouts here which I love, but in the interest of keeping this party going until at least when the halftime show is over I like the low ABV options.

Beermonger’s Choice — Aecht Schlenkerla Helles Lagerbier

Pepperoni Pizza and Brown Ale

Plan ahead if you’re looking to get delivery on this day since it is one of the busiest of the year for pizza shops or if you’re like me grab some of the Calabrese Salami from our deli and make your own spicy take at home. Brown ale is going to really pair well with the crust, cheese, sauce and meat without overpowering any of them. It can be tempting to grab an IPA or Pilsner here as well but when the cured meats start to join the party I really enjoy the toasty malty compliment here.

Beermonger’s Choice — Bingo Brown Ale

Wings and New England IPA

Hops are going to play up the spice here but a juicy IPA with low bitterness will keep you from burning your tongue off. I really enjoy the way the heat can play with some of the super tropical or citrusy hop varieties. The nice thing with this pairing is neither one of these are particularly known for their subtlety, the big flavors here can go up against each other for the entirety of four quarters.

Beermonger’s Choice — Commonwealth Big Papi

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This sponsored column is written by Todd Himes, beermonger at Arrowine (4508 Lee Highway). Sign up for the email newsletter and receive exclusive discounts and offers. Order from Arrowine’s expanding online store for curbside pickup.

January is always a strange time in the beer world.

You have a sizable portion of clientele who are participating in a Dry January (or at least taking a few weeks off) but we also see two of the years mostly anticipated releases in Troegs Nugget Nectar and Bell’s Hopslam (at least in years when the national supply chain issues don’t hold up its arrival in Virginia.) In years past this is a typical time to see many folks in the industry changing jobs and this year that’s meant seeing a few familiar friendly faces stopping in representing some of the bigger craft breweries in the market.

When we start back up our tastings you’ll be sure to see some veterans repping new brands. January is also a great time to take a look back at the previous year and make a few guesses as to what the upcoming year may hold.

Starting off, it was absolutely no surprise to me to see that no matter which way I sorted the numbers, our number one beer of 2021 was Bingo’s Classic Lager.  Dollars, units sold, cans crushed by our cheesemongers — this one led them all. Was it the clean, refreshing, quaff ability of this beer that propelled it to the top spot?  The fact that you get a six-pack of 16oz cans of craft lager at what has quickly become the starting price point for many 4 packs?  Maybe it is just the understated beauty of the blue and white cans.

I’m not one to complain whatever the cause was, this beer was one of my favorites. In fact, a couple of cans were among the first beers to go in the fridge at the new house when I moved this past week. A perfect beverage to sip on while unpacking. While I don’t think that craft beer prices are going to come back down, I do think that a number of brands with the ability to produce solid options at this price point will take hold.

Recently Asheville, North Carolina’s Hi-Wire brewing announced plans to move all of its core beers into the six pack 16oz format and their Hi-Pitch IPA is quickly staking its claim to a top spot for 2022’s numbers here.

In the world of IPAs the talk might be all about the Hazies, but whether it is the never ending quest for the new or maybe a shift in overall preferences the top spot belonged to a newcomer for 2021 — Vibrissa’s Gracious Living.

The dream of the nineties is alive in Front Royal with this flagship West Coast styled IPA nestled alongside a series of delicious lagers, English bitters, milds and *gasp* more West Coast IPAs. Many see West Coast IPAs making a clear comeback in 2022 and I’m already hearing from brewers and sales reps that there are going to be some of the same types of innovations coming to the style that helped drive the Haze Craze of the past few years.

Hops in all their forms and citrus additions have already played a big part in the West Coast style’s history but look for talk of thiols and terpenes to join the conversation. We probably won’t be seeing any Frankenberry Milkshake 100 IBU DIPAs quite yet though.

Rounding out our top three for the year and certainly the one that caused the most excitement in its immediate arrival was 3 Floyd’s Zombie Dust. We had our phones ringing off the hook when this first came into the shop, of course that was one of the only ways to reach us at the time since we had yet to re-open our doors at the time. The excitement of a long storied brand arriving really lit a fire for many of you. That excitement continued throughout the year as well and we were consistently moving through cases of the one time top rated brewery in the world.

What will be the next brewery to make its way to Virginia’s shelves?

There’s some STRONG contenders in the New England area that I know many of you are clamoring for and a number of California breweries that make the occasional appearance when some of the major beer festivals in the area are happening. If I had my druthers though we would finally see the return of some of my favorite Belgian breweries that have had their distribution rights in limbo for a few years.

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This sponsored column is written by Todd Himes, beermonger at Arrowine (4508 Lee Highway). Sign up for the email newsletter and receive exclusive discounts and offers. Order from Arrowine’s expanding online store for curbside pickup.

I’m going to skip all of the after repeated mass marketed retail propaganda about this being the most wonderful time of the year, but I will say this is definitely something I look forward to every year, and has quickly become a really important tradition in my house.

Somewhere each year between late November and December 25, I am personally on the hunt for a bottle of a very special barrel-age stout. There are many that come out this time of year, and many people have their personal favorites.

In fact there was one quite large release last Friday that you may or may not have noticed was absent from the shelves here at Arrowine, Goose Island’s Bourbon County stout. I was pretty surprised to see quite a few articles and reactions coming out about the allocations of Goose Island’s Bourbon County stouts. It’s long been something talked about among many of my industry colleagues, but rarely do the details of such come out in such plain view.

What seemed to kick off most of the discussion was this article from the Chicago Tribune which interviews a number of Chicago area stores, some of whom had longer relationships with Goose Island than others, and it made for a pretty interesting read covering quite a few perspectives.

I can now say with a bit of pride that I’ve never professionally spent money on any of the Bourbon County stouts. Sure for myself I’ve bought a bottle or two here and there when it’s not been a hunt to find it. But truthfully for the times that I would have really wanted it, it was not available here on the east coast. Then by the time it was more widely available, many of the demands for big barrel-aged stouts were being met by its many imitators.

Then of course 2015 happened. If you followed along with Bourbon County stout for a while, you may remember 2015 as the year of the infected bottle that made it out, the subsequent recall/buyback programs and the forever altering decision to begin pasteurizing the bottles before they left, which would increase the stability of the beer, but take away some of its aging potential as a living product. Some of you may remember from my little love letter to Orval that a bottle with the ability to completely change over time and become unpredictable is certainly not the worst thing in this beermonger’s book.

However, 2015 was the first time I got my hands on a bottle of Hardywood’s Kentucky Christmas morning, and I tell you the morning of December 25 has never been the same.

Hardywood’s Gingerbread Stout first was released in 2011, and shortly thereafter began collecting many well-deserved accolades (100 points from Beer Advocate Magazine for instance), and spun off a number of different gingerbread variants (Bourbon GBS came first in 2012). There continue to be new variants added each year with varying degrees of availability. Read More

This sponsored column is written by Arrowine (4508 Lee Highway). We take a break from our usual beer programming this week to tell you about a special event at the shop.

We welcome you to explore the new Arrowine and Cheese — your neighborhood store with a national reputation! Enjoy the grand reopening of the new Arrowine and Cheese now through Saturday, November 6.

What’s New

  • Authentic sweet and savory French Crêpes made to order while you wait
  • Twelve of the very best craft beers on tap for crawler and growler fills/refills
  • One of the region’s largest selections of natural, organic and biodynamic wines from producers like Jean-Francois Ganevat, Ariana Occhipinti, Domaine Cos and Herve Villemade
  • The region’s largest selection of artisan, seasonal, and specialty cheeses and charcuterie
  • An updated and expanded gourmet grocery section
  • A newly expanded Grower-Champagne selection filled with hard-to-find producers like Cedric Bouchard Roses de Jeanne, Jerome Prevost, Emmanuel Lassaigne and many more
  • A comprehensive selection of Virginia wines from Linden, Glen Manor, Chatham Vineyards and Michael Shaps to name a few
  • Timely online ordering through www.shoparrowine.com, usually ready in two hours or less

What’s Familiar

  • Our 4.8 of 5 stars Google satisfaction rate
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  • Our curated selection of world-class wines
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  • Your guaranteed satisfaction and our sincere appreciation of your business

The party is on! Please join us for the grand reopening festivities today, Friday, November 5.

Enjoy a 10% discount on any crêpes, free wine tasting of French favorites with Damien Lehoux of Elite Wines Imports from 4:30-6:30 p.m. and free beer tasting with Rocket Frog from 5-7 p.m.

Grand reopening festivities continue Saturday, November 6 with free samples as we slice into the world’s best 200lb Gotthelf Emmentaler Cheese with Gourmino Imports at 1 p.m., free beer tasting with Brouwerij Cornelissen from 1-4 p.m. and free Spanish wine tasting with Aurelio Cabestrero of Grapes of Spain from 1-4 p.m.

We look forward to seeing you!

Sign up for our email newsletter and receive exclusive discounts and offers. Order from Arrowine’s expanding online store for curbside pickup.

This sponsored column is written by Todd Himes, beermonger at Arrowine (4508 Lee Highway). Sign up for the email newsletter and receive exclusive discounts and offers. Order from Arrowine’s expanding online store for curbside pickup.

Combining two great things often yields excellent results. Think: Chocolate and peanut butter, Jordan and Pippen (been a while since da Bulls got a shoutout in this column), or Bernard Purdie and just about anyone.

For me, two of my favorites are beer (of course) and traveling. I love visiting some of my favorite breweries when I travel while also finding new ones. When you sit down at a brewery tasting room in a different city or country, it can be difficult to narrow down the choices, especially if you’re not familiar with what beers or styles the brewery is known for.

Asking your server/bartender what they are excited about is usually the easiest way to make this determination, but it can yield varying results if your tastes don’t align. Checking an app like Untappd can help you find what’s popular, but that’s certainly weighted toward extreme examples of some styles. Medals and awards are nice when they are recent or consistent, but there is always a lot that can change in a beer if a brewer leaves or recipes are changed. The one steadfast rule that has never let me down before is, when you see one, always order a Grodziskie.

I first read about Grodziskie in Randy Mosher’s book Radical Brewing. I cannot recommend this book enough if you’re interested in home-brewing or even want to learn the history of beer styles. Grodziskie stood out not only because famed beer author Michael Jackson mentions the version Mosher brewed for him in the introduction of the book, but also because it is such an obscure style and something very unique.

This is probably the time to explain to you what that style is. Grodziskie is a Polish smoked wheat beer that is low in alcohol and full of smoky flavor — but it’s also very refreshing. Typically, it’s produced with 100% oak-smoked wheat malt, which, over a decade ago when I first read about it, I couldn’t even find available to buy so I could brew up my own version of the recipe in the book. That, of course, led to the build up of this beer in my mind, a mythical creature I was always on the lookout for. At least for a little while, the scarcity of the raw materials meant no one was really brewing this stuff, and it slipped toward the back of my mind lingering in relative obscurity much as it had throughout much of the 20th century in its native Poland.

I’ll point out that this style still sits in obscurity, and I can count on my fingers how many examples I’ve tried over the years. But of those literal handful of examples I have tried, they all made an impression on me.

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This sponsored column is written by Todd Himes, beermonger at Arrowine (4508 Lee Highway). Sign up for the email newsletter and receive exclusive discounts and offers. Order from Arrowine’s expanding online store for curbside pickup.

This year, more than ever, I’ve been fielding questions about the difference between an Oktoberfest, Marzen and a Festbier. Short answer? Not much. OK, thanks! Short column this week — I am on vacation.

Wait, you’re still here? You say: “Todd, it’s not that simple. In those small differences, there are big details and centuries of history.” OK, that is true. I guess I can get a little more into what you’re getting in the bottle, can or on tap when you see these words on the label.

First off, Oktoberfest is a celebration, tied to a time and a place, and by association, has come to describe a type of beer. The original Oktoberfest took place in 1810 to celebrate the marriage of the crown prince of Bavaria and his bride and was a five-day festival. Over the years, fairs, horse races, and many booths selling food and drink were added.

The drink most associated with the festival? Beer. In Germany, the name Oktoberfest is protected, and there are only six breweries in Munich that are allowed to serve beer at the celebration and make use of the name on their label. That name is then tied much more to the time and place than to the style of beer itself.

A photo of my last Rothaus

Traditionally, the styles served would have been Marzen, named because the beer was brewed in March before the advent of refrigeration and brewing was put on hold during the warm summer months. Now, typically when we think of Marzen, the rich amber-colored lagers of the fall come to mind. A personal favorite of mine is Port City Oktoberfest. However, if you were one of the few lucky enough to pick up some of the Rothaus Eiszäpfle when it landed, you know that German Marzen can be quite clear and golden as well.

The modern Festbier style has much foggier origins. The most repeated story leads back to Paulaner’s introduction of their strong golden Weisn style, but there is further research out there tying the introduction of this lighter style to the change from ceramic steins to clear glass. The fact of the matter is that this style is the current beer of the moment at Oktoberfest and is growing in popularity with many American brewers as well. Our friends over at DCBeer recently did a taste test of many Oktoberfest offerings, and it was interesting to note that a modern Festbier from Union was the winner.

The confusion between names and styles is understandable in many cases, so feel free to keep asking your Beermonger. Do you prefer the more American take on the Marzen style, or are you a purist who wants the modern Festbier that will flow in Munich hopefully again in 2022?

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This sponsored column is written by Todd Himes, beermonger at Arrowine (4508 Lee Highway). Sign up for the email newsletter and receive exclusive discounts and offers. Order from Arrowine’s expanding online store for curbside pickup.

I, for one, welcome our pumpkin beer overlords. There it is, I’ve said it. Much like Kent Brockman or perhaps later Ken Jennings, I have accepted my fate.

You would think the beer calendar was only 51 weeks because, each year, the outrage comes earlier and earlier. Yes, outrage. There is no release that draws more ire than the arrival of pumpkin beer in the middle of the summer. There is something about a 10% imperial amber ale with nutmeg, cinnamon, vanilla, and what is most likely frozen or canned puree from last fall that brings out the hot takes from everyone — and I mean everyone. Customers, sales reps, shop owners, cheesemongers, delivery drivers… I smile through it (you can’t always tell under this mask, but yes, there is a smile) and offer up some placation like, “Yes, it is earlier than last year,” or “You’re right, it does need to be about 30 degrees cooler before I want to drink this, too.” But occasionally I do need to assure people that pumpkin beer is not “the devil” or “only for girls.”

I think fall beers have definitely caught a very bad reputation and drawn a lot of ire from many — including at one point even myself — because, in part, they show up earlier and earlier each year, cutting into the summer. They also draw in many non-craft beer drinkers. (I’m not afraid to admit the early arrival of the 30 cases of Pumking bombers that I preordered in 2012 showing up in the middle of August was greeted with a string of expletives that I am not typically known for spewing.)

Pumpkins at the Columbia Pike farmers market (Flickr pool photo by Alan Kotok)

For years, I really thought I was taking some moral high ground by never putting pumpkin beer out on the sales floor until Sept. 1 — that seemed like an at least somewhat appropriate fall date. But the truth is, it didn’t matter when I put them out. They kept showing up earlier and earlier each year, and I would talk to a number of customers who were looking for them earlier. I would grab them a bottle or two from the back and tell them when it was “officially” coming out in hopes they would come back for more. But I know that wasn’t always going to be the case — I’m sure the next store they stopped in, if the pumpkin beers were out, would sell them as much as they wanted. I also know the year before, in the small edge of the suburbs town I was living in at the time, the one store that stocked Pumking marked their bottles up about 300% and was still able to sell out of their stock in about a week.

Oktoberfest beers present their own unique problems in coming to market. Here is my obligated mention that Oktoberfest doesn’t always take place in October. But that doesn’t stop people from wanting to drink these beers well into November, though, and who can blame them? The amber-hued toastiness of a Marzen is welcome many, many times throughout the year. Say nothing of the golden, bready and more hop-present Festbier style, equally at home with pretzels and almonds as it is with pizza and football games.

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This sponsored column is written by Todd Himes, beermonger at Arrowine (4508 Lee Highway). Sign up for the email newsletter and receive exclusive discounts and offers. Order from Arrowine’s expanding online store for curbside pickup.

“Aroma of skunk, musty, can be similar to burned rubber or cat musk.”

That definition of the lightstruck off-flavors in beer comes directly out of the Cicerone study resources.

But what is lightstruck beer? When certain hop compounds react to UV light, they create 3-methyl-2-butene-1-thiol, or MBT, which you may know as the culprit behind that odorous character often found in some “top-shelf” imported lagers — or late nights on some dark country roads.

Brown glass bottles would filter out most of that UV light where green and clear bottles would let UV wavelengths pass through with greater ease and thus green and clear bottles received a reputation for “ruining” many a beer and changing the flavor of what its brewers would have intended. For years I bought into that — it even became one of the tenets of my strong support for putting more beer into cans. If some light was bad why not eliminate all light? Somewhere along the way, though, I’ve been introduced to thinking those green bottles unfairly got a bad rap.

Storage of green bottles at Cantillon Brewery, Belgium

Many of my favorite Belgian breweries have been bottling their beers in green glass for longer than I’ve certainly been drinking them. Even after I’d learned the hardline “green is bad,” I longed to try the lambics of Cantillon, Drie Fonteinen and Boon, all of which were shipped across the sea in verdant vessels.

The first Belgian in green that crossed my lips was Saison Dupont. Upon uncorking that bottle, I was struck by the aromas that were decidedly “farmy” before farmhouse ales were truly on my radar. But nowhere was I thinking about skunks or tire fires, just-cut hay, horse stalls, and dank grasses. Saison and lambics became some of my favorite styles, and I even saw a noble art in what I saw as the unknown and unpredictable effects of wild yeasts, spontaneous fermentation and wood aging.

Despite being a popular way of packaging these types of beers in Europe, here in the United States, the classic brown bottles prevailed even as more breweries were experimenting with old traditions in brewing. That changed and much of the credit is given to Jester King in Austin, Texas, when in 2016, they began packaging some of their mainstay beers in green glass bottles for sale in their tasting room. The bottles that were destined to leave their gorgeous property were still being packaged in brown glass. (Full disclosure: Jester King’s brewery is quite possibly my favorite place in the world and that was before I got married there in 2019.)

A selection of green beer bottles in stock at Arrowine

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This sponsored column is written by Todd Himes, beermonger at Arrowine (4508 Lee Highway). Sign up for the email newsletter and receive exclusive discounts and offers. Order from Arrowine’s expanding online store for curbside pickup.

Hey, everybody! It’s Your Beermonger here, Todd, from Arrowine.

As I write this, I sit in front of possibly one of my favorite parts of our store. You might think I, as a former cheesemonger, would gravitate toward the cheese case here, though my heart really lies toward the end of the case with all the cured meats. (If you don’t already know from our Weekly Whey-In emails, the Olympia Provisions Landrauchschinken is back in stock and still as fun to pronounce as ever!) Or, you might find me browsing the Spanish wine section and occasionally hovering around the Txakoli, dreaming about a trip to San Sebastian and eating tinned fish and Iberico ham. However, where you are most likely to find me in the store at any given moment would be here in front of our 12 taps of beer that are available to go in the familiar form of growlers and the, as I am finding out, slightly less familiar form of “crowlers.”

The crowler is a 32-ounce can we are able to fill and seal here in-store. This makes the crowler a single-use carrier and, with no way to reseal, you’ve got to enjoy all 32 ounces in one sitting. They will last a little bit longer than a resealable glass growler will before opening.

The crowler technology was first introduced by Oskar Blues back in 2013, which as you may remember, laid claim as the first craft brewery to release beer exclusively in cans. The format spread fairly quickly throughout brewery taprooms but less so into retailers. Crowlers carry many of the advantages that cans have — they are lighter weight, airtight when sealed properly, don’t allow light to reach the beer and are much less susceptible to damage. That unbreakable factor also allows a Crowler to go with you poolside, to the beach or on a hike in the woods. It does take a little bit more effort to crush a 32-ounce can, but it’s worth it to not lug an empty glass jug around with you.

The crowler is designed to be a one-time-use vessel, as opposed to the near-infinite use of glass growlers (you know, provided that they don’t fall over in your trunk and get banged all around). That also means you won’t, like me, end up with a large collection of glass growlers taking up space and collecting dust. Sure, they do make great souvenirs from breweries far away, and they can also be a great way to show support for your favorite locals. But, in many cases, you end up with way more than you can conceivably use at any time.

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This sponsored column is written by Todd Himes, beermonger at Arrowine (4508 Lee Highway). Sign up for the email newsletter and receive exclusive discounts and offers. Order from Arrowine’s expanding online store for curbside pickup.

Happy upcoming Fourth of July weekend, everybody! We’ve got a lot to celebrate this week, and for many of you, this will be a great chance to get together a little like old times. For me in the summer, that means breaking out the grill and having a few brews. In the spirit of that celebration and to toast the incredible fireworks show put on down the street by my neighbors, I’ve put together some beer and food pairings based on what might be on your menu this Fourth.

The classic all-American hot dog calls for another classic with the American lager. I like to keep it fairly simple and avoid anything too hoppy or complex. The Bingo Lager is an overwhelming favorite around here and would excel in this application. Based on the Helles style, you’ve got your balance and high drinkability here. Bonus points are rewarded for being a great value for a six pack of tall cans.

I love, love, love a porter with cheeseburgers off the grill. Especially if you’re cooking over charcoal, the roasty flavor of a porter pairs perfectly with the slight char of meat. The trick to this pairing is to not go too heavy and skip anything too adjunct laden. (Sorry coffee or coconut, you’re delicious sometimes, but I’m staying unburdened here.) My choice happens to come right from our backyard in the way of Port City’s Porter. Even at 7.2%, this dark ale won’t put you down for an early bedtime as long as you sip — not chug.

If veggie burgers are on the menu, it can be tough to give one recommendation that fits all the styles. If you’ve got something that looks and tastes more like meat, then I’d suggest the above porter or perhaps a dark lager. If you’re going with something that’s not hiding the fact that it’s full of veggies, a slightly more flavorful ale like a saison is a good choice. In the summertime heat, a grisette is a fantastic option, and we happen to have one that I thoroughly enjoy from Elder Pine. The Grizzette is going to be very similar in style to a saison but with generally a lower amount of alcohol for a much more sessionable choice.

Bingo Brewing’s Dry Crispy

Grilled chicken is another fantastic Fourth of July option. It also lends itself to a number of different preparations. If you’ve got a simple grilled chicken breast, I like an American wheat beer, particularly with a little citrus to brighten things up, and I’d recommend grabbing the Lost Coast Tangerine Wheat. Maybe you’re thinking of adding a sweet barbecue sauce to some grilled thighs in which case I’d switch over to a classic California Common or Steam beer. When in doubt, I say go for the classic Anchor Steam (now in cans with the divisive new labels as well!). If wings or any other liberal use of the Buffalo-style sauce is in the plans a West Coast IPA is going to help accentuate that heat, and I couldn’t recommend the Front Royal Gracious Living any more highly.

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