by Arvid Bergström Beer sommelier and author
What's on my summer menuTop recipes and beer pairings to try out this summer
Summertime is fantastic for cooking with fresh produce. Right now the supermarkets are filled with all the best summer foods: strawberries, pears, lemons, lettuces, cucumbers, beetroot and succulent tomatoes.
Because it’s warmer outside, you might have a lighter appetite in the summertime; you might also be a little less active. This is why lower alcohol beers and slightly lighter meals are usually good options for summer evenings. I also tend to prefer dishes that contain more moisture in summer, such as lightly cooked fish, which can be really delicious this time of year.
For an incredibly tasty and easy dish, fill a small bowl with balsamic glaze and take a plate of strawberries that you can dip into it. You’ll get sweet and sour flavours here, and a deliciously deep taste. This snack is perfect when served with a cold Samuel Smith Taddy Porter or the Anchor Brewing Porter.
Beetroot stew with goat’s cheese
If you want a summery meal with a bit more sustenance, a beetroot stew is the perfect solution. You can even serve it vegetarian! This goat’s cheese combination goes well with a saison, such as the Saison Dupont, Mannenliefde or Bird Brewery's Ditisandere Koekoek also work well. A good tip is not to serve the beer too cold, though. At 8 or 9 degrees you can taste just a bit more of its beautiful flavour.
Get the recipe here.
Sometimes you just get the urge to try something new. Tomatoes, seaweed and Parmesan cheese are packed with umami. So I came up with the idea to pair a black beer, such as Kompaan Jimmy Skimmed or Jopen Extra Stout, where you can taste umami, with fish or shellfish. I chose scallops, which taste divine baked in butter!
Get the recipe here.
The traditional Dutch favourite, Hangop, is a fresh and creamy dessert that’s a bit like a thick cream. It’s a bit of work but fun to make yourself if you’re looking for a new challenge. Hangop is made from buttermilk or yoghurt which is left hanging over a colander to drain.
Spread a cheesecloth of a lint-free towel in the colander and pour your buttermilk or yoghurt into it. Over the next four hours or so the whey will run away, leaving curds in the cloth that will be thick and creamy - this is the hangop. It can be eaten purely as it is, or you can add your own flavour.
If you are going to eat hangop with a bit of cinnamon and black pepper you can taste the Rodenbach Grand Cru. Or, add your choice of red fruit to the hangop and open a bottle of Lindemans Faro or Bacchus Raspberry.
Got a feeling another heatwave is on the way? Time to get the blender out! Splash a little bit of water into it alongside a peeled pear, a whole cucumber and a few mint leaves. Blend this mixture up and, once it’s liquidized, take an ice cube mould and fill the cubes with the pear cucumber juice and freeze the whole thing.
The next day, take it out of the freezer and put the blocks back into the blender. Add a squeeze of honey or beer syrup to taste and drink slowly to avoid brain freeze! Enjoy this refreshing drink alongside a Welde Badisch Gose or Brlo Berliner Weisse.
Summer doesn’t get much better than that.