by Yvonne van Houtum Beer blogger 14 June 2020
Summer beers and bites
If, like me, you don’t want to spend too much time working in the kitchen on a warm summer evening, now’s your chance to try something simple.
So, you’ve purchased The SUB and have been enjoying freshly tapped beers in your back garden or patio. If you haven't, what are you waiting for?! Now you want to take things to the next level, perhaps you want to plan a fun date night or spend quality time with your flat mates. You want to show off without making too much effort. If, like me, you don't want to waste too much time in the kitchen on warm summer evenings, then I have some great suggestions for summery snacks that will pair very well with fresh pints.
The perfect staycation treat!
Dips and salads, warm baguettes, peanuts, olives, sundried tomatoes, crisps, cheeses and cold meats are excellent ideas for summer evenings. You can even throw some grapes, figs or crudités into the mix. This will all be even better if accompanied by tasty and delicious beers, whether that's draught or bottle and cans!
Make it fancy: the perfect board
When we think of recipes for the summer, among other things, we immediately think of a good mix of dips, crisps and cheeses. First you need to make sure you choose a good mix of different flavours and textures in order to be able to satisfy people's preferences. Each of us has a different taste and, as a good host, it is something you must always consider.
In addition to the variety, you must also consider the right match between the various products. A perfect board can include, for example, cheeses, vegetables and cold cuts. As for the latter, choose the ones you prefer. Or just stick to a big, varied cheese board with crackers, chutney and bread. You can also add mozzarella, cherry tomatoes and cucumbers, they are fresh products and combine with the vast majority of things.
Always remember that the goal of these dishes is to avoid spending too much time in the kitchen, don't over complicate anything. At most you can prepare some dips such as hummus, tzatziki, mackerel or an olive paté, but otherwise there is no shame in buying them from the supermarket.
A mix of cheeses will always go down well and for this reason it is necessary to write a separate paragraph, there are so many different tastes. Practically a world apart. There's a whole article on beer and goat's cheese alone. Blue cheese goes very well with IPA, so we have two simple and tasty blue cheese and IPA recipes that will go down a treat. Blue cheese is extremely delicious but be aware that it has a very particular taste, we recommend adding some more classic cheeses, such as sweet provolone, cheddar and brie in order to satisfy all tastes.
Blue cheese, beer caramelized onions and an IPA or double IPA
Blue cheese always features on my ideal snack board. Cook up some homemade caramalized onions using beer, take a sip of an IPA, and you have my perfect mix and match combination. Or, drink that same beer with the king prawns and a fruity mango salsa. Discover for yourself which flavours complement or reinforce each other, and which ones are an outright attack on your taste buds.
Roasted cauliflower with blue cheese dip
These are easy to make because the oven does most of the work. Serve the crispy cauliflower with the creamy blue cheese dip and for an extra spicy kick, you can also add some tabasco. You'll want an outspoken IPA for this, a playful combination that will cut through the fat.
Coat cauliflower florets (snack size) in oil and put in them in the oven for 25-30 mins. Meanwhile, make the dip by mixing crème fraîche and blue cheese. Place the blue cheese dip in the refrigerator so that it can set. Et voilé!
Summer snack boards
When you have a board full of interesting flavours, it’s the perfect opportunity to discover new beer pairing combinations: that’s how I found out that a black bean dip is a tasty in itself, but it has no influence whatsoever on the flavour of any of my chosen beers. Click on the recipes below and try creating an amazing board filled with any combination of cheese, ham, figs, rocket, kalamata olives, tomatoes, a mix of nuts, dips; feta dip with lemon, pea dip with goat cheese, and black bean dip. Don't forget things like caramelized onions, crisps, ciabatta bread, king prawn skewers and a summer mango salsa.
Try the recipes!
Beers: which ones to choose
And now let's move on to the juicier part: beers! There’s nothing quite like a refreshing beer in summer. Pilsner generally goes well with any snack, but in particular when you have salty crisps, nuts and charcuterie. A great beer for summer sipping is a German wheat beer, like Paulaner Hefeweizen Naturtrüb or Weihenstephan Hefe Weizen Alcoholarm. From the recipes above, the feta dip with fresh lemon and the lime from the pea dip will match the fresh character of this beer style. A white beer will go nicely with the king prawn skewers for a soft combination. Fresh white beer will also go down deliciously with a fig wrapped with a slice of ham and makes the pea dip and the feta dip a little sweeter.
IPA's should of course not be missed as part of your summer drinks. Start with a session IPA, this is perfect with the king prawns and even better with the blue cheese. Something like Brewdog Clockwork Tangerine 4.5% is a great option, but don’t drink it with the mango salsa: the flavour of the dish is totally lost in this bold beer. Try it with the blue cheese instead. My top mix and match on the snack board is still the double IPA Gulpener Spicy Roger 8% combined with a piece of ciabatta loaded with soft blue cheese and a healthy serving of caramelized beer onions. Those flavours are the best you’ll taste all day.
We also have some super low-key fail-safe rules for beer and snacking. Can't face making anything? No problem! As easy as it gets; straight-from-the-bag bar snacks; crisps, dips and nuts and the beer style to go with it.
- Peanuts: Amber and red ale
- Blue cheese: IPA
- Cold cuts and charcuterie, Jamon Iberico: IPA
- Cheddar cheese: Lager or German wheat beer depending on strength
- Salty bar snacks (crisps, nuts, popcorn, pretzels, wasabi peas): Pilsner
- Smokey nuts and BBQ flavoured crisps: Dark lager, porter, amber and red ale
- Tortilla chips and guacamole: White beer
- Sweet potato chips: Dubbel
- Potato chips with salt and vinegar: English styles, bitter, brown ales and pale ale
For IPA, salty snacks generally work really well, salt makes the beer less bitter, but also make the others flavours more pronounced. IPA with herbal and spicy snacks are also great but be careful not that they are not too spicy/hot snacks. Bitters and spicy food will make both the spicy and bitters stronger. This combination can be amazing, or you it can also taste mainly hot & bitter which is not so pleasant.