Responsible Pairings: Choosing Craft Beers for Spring Menus | Darling Magazine

If you love to host, and of course this goes without saying—are of age—you know that in the last ten years, craft and microbrews have become increasingly popular (hint: beer is the new wine). With 2,126 Breweries in the US alone, the task of selecting the right beer can certainly be daunting. Whether it’s for a housewarming, dinner party, or just Sunday brunch, beer can make a surprisingly strong pairing with many of your favorite recipes. While this list is not exhaustive, it should give you a nice place to start. So next time you are in the beverage aisle, skip over the Heineken and Corona, and reach for a one of these craft beers.

1. BROWN ALE (for the richer flavor seekers)
Named for it’s deep amber to brown color and dating all the way back to the 17th century, brown ales are produced in many regions including England, Belgium and the USA. Brews termed “Brown Ale” can range from sweet, low alcohol beers, to medium strength amber beers of moderate bitterness, to malty but hoppy beers. Ales from northeastern England tend to be strong, malty, even nutty, while those from southern England are usually darker, sweeter and lower in alcohol. North American brown ales are usually drier than their English counterparts, with a slight citrus accent and an aroma.

Our Recommendations and Pairings:
Peak Organic Brown Ale with any red meat coming off your BBQ

Samuel Smith Nut Brown Ale with a blue-brie cheese (we suggest Cambozola)

Lazy Magnolia Southern Pecan with a Tarragon Chicken Salad

2. PALE ALE (for bitter lovers)
Undoubtedly one of the world’s most popular beer styles, pale ale is a beer made by warm fermentation. The lighter color is derived from the higher number of pale malts, different brewing techniques and hop levels have given the beer-loving public a varied range of taste and strength within this category. Types of Pale Ale include: Amber Ale, American Pale Ale, Biere de Garde, Blonde, Burton Pale Ale, English Bitter, Irish Red Ale, and the India Pale Ale (also known as IPA).

Our Recommendations and Pairings:
Sierra Nevada’s Torpedo with a Spinach, Cranberry and Walnut Salad

Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA with Jerk Chicken. Or, make it into a float by adding a scoop of vanilla ice cream to your glass.

Flying Dog Pale Ale with Tacos or Fajitas

3. Wheat Beer (for the light and sunny beer enthusiasts)
Wheat Beer is brewed with a large proportion of wheat in addition to malted barley. The most popular varieties of this type of beer are wessbier, witbier (Dutch for “white beer”), and the sour varieties such as lambic, Berliner Weisse and gose. Hefeweizen (the prefix “Hefe” is German for yeast) is the name for unfiltered wheat beers, while Kristallweizen (“Kristall” being German for crystal) is the same beer, filtered. Sour beers such as Berliner Weisse, gose, and lambic are made with a significant proportion of wheat.

Our Recommendations and Pairings:
Blue Moon Honey Moon (don’t forget the slice of orange) with fresh seafood

Hitachi Nest White Ale with an Asparagus, Leek and Gruyere Quiche and Citrus Salad (perfect for a light dinner)

Lindeman’s Framboise as a refreshing summer dessert (this beer is ULTRA sweet and ULTRA fruity)

Paulaner Hefe-Weizen with Ricotta, Olive and Mint Crostini

With an early spring upon us, we thought we’d share just a few of our favorites with you to get you ready for warm-weather party season. Whether you find yourself hosting a family BBQ, riding bikes to the local taco joint, or enjoying a chili cook-off during March Madness, Darling encourages you to branch out and enjoy your gatherings responsibly.

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