by Yvonne van Houtum Beer blogger
Summer beers and bites Seasonal snacks and sharing plates
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.
Dips and salads, warm baguettes from the oven, nuts, olives, crisps, cheeses and meats are all ideal for grazing - and they go great with fresh summer beers. It’s natural to want to graze more in hot weather rather than eat a big meal, so snack food is ideal for keeping everyone happy.
Making the perfect snack board
Firstly, always make sure that you choose a good mix of different flavours and textures. Everyone has different tastes, so especially if you’re entertaining, it’s best to give lots of options. Make sure each of the individual flavours fit well together, too. But remember that this board shouldn’t be too huge a task: you can make the dips and salads and a few extras yourself, but just fill in the rest with products from the supermarket, cheese shop, butcher or wherever you do your shopping.
Blue cheese, beer caramalized onions and a double IPA
Blue cheese always features on my ideal snack board. Cook up some homemade caramalized onions using beer, take a sip of a double IPA, such as Gulpener Spicy Roger 8%, 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.
Summer snack boards and beer combinations
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 soft blue cheese, raw ham, figs, rocket, kalamata olives, tomatoes, a mix of nuts, feta dip with lemon, pea dip with goat cheese, black bean dip, caramalized onions, natural crisps, ciabatta bread, king prawn skewers and a summer mango salsa.
Try the recipes!
8 fresh summer beers
There’s nothing quite like a refreshing beer in summer. Pilsener generally goes well with any snack, but in particular when you have salty crisps, nuts and raw ham, a perfect match is Jever Fun 0.3%. And if you want to stay with the low-alcohol beer, you can open a Weihenstephaner Hefe Weizen 0.5%. The feta dip with fresh lemon and the lime from the pea dip also match the fresh character of this beer. If you choose Gin Weizen 6% from Gebrouwen door Vrouwen, you’ll have a powerful combination together with the king prawns and mango salsa. If you combine that same snack with Pineapple Weizen 5% from Het Uiltje, then the mango takes a completely different form in this fruit bomb of a beer. Try a piece of blue cheese with this weizen - the cheese accentuates the sweet taste of pineapple.
Just like the Gin Weizen, the 4.4% white beer Walhalla Minerva also goes nicely with the king prawn skewers for a soft combination. The fresh white beer goes 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 like Life's A Beach 4.5% from Jopen. This is perfect with the king prawns and even better with the blue cheese. Brewdog Clockwork Tangerine 4.5% is also 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.