We've all heard of pairing beer to foods, but what about to experiences? Whether the occasion involves porch lounging with a good book, midnight drinking with a few friends, campfire sipping with your better half, or beach bumming with the family, I've always felt that there is a beer tailored to life's many leisurely moments. Before venturing on your next outing with a sixer or growler of brew in hand, consider some of these beer-and-experience pairing ideas.
Unless otherwise disclosed, most parties these days are BYOB. It's enough that the hosts are opening their home to friends and whatever strangers they might drag along, but to expect them to shell out for enough alcohol to meet the particular tastes of a varied crowd is asking a lot. Be the hero of the party by bringing enough brew for yourself and the guy who forgot his etiquette at home. Mixed craft beer twelve-packs are great solutions for these situations, with most containing an eclectic mix of light, medium-bodied, hoppy, and dark styles that'll satisfy most beer drinkers. Style Suggestions: Upslope [Mix] Box, Odell Montage Mixer, New Belgium Folly Pack, Sierra Nevada Seasonal Sampler, any handpicked sixer.
Few things beat the thirst-quenching satisfaction of sipping a light brew after a sweaty display of athleticism. Across the worlds of mountain biking, ultimate Frisbee, rock climbing and snow sports, beer has found a place among classic recovery drinks as a superior hydration beverage to water thanks to its electrolyte, nutrient, and carb content. Though lifestyle aspects surely play a role in this popularity, there's no overlooking the relaxing effect of sipping a cold brew after performing at the redline. Style Suggestions: Pilsner, lager, Berliner Weisse, session IPA, gose.
Picnics and Day Trips
It's not a day trip without a picnic basket, a blanket, hors d'oeuvres and a few alcoholic beverages (and maybe a few ants). Forego the classic bottle of red wine for a good beer or two and watch your picnic unfold into a flavor adventure. With a few cheeses and an assortment of craft beers, you might be surprised by how easily the sights and sounds of nature harmonize with the flavors dancing on your palate. Since you'll likely be driving home from wherever your day trip takes you, low/mid-alcohol beers are the better fit for this occasion, but that doesn't mean you have to sacrifice flavor. Style Suggestions: Session IPA, wheat beers, saison, lambic, gose, Berliner Weisse
Nothing beats the smell of fresh mountain air, the sound of wind blowing through the trees and the warmth of good company around a fire (when it isn't wildfire season, that is). But without a fair serving of boozy nectar to keep the soul warm, camping is less of a departure from normalcy and more of a test of might. A toasty and reasonably strong brew will keep you straight through the night, and since you'll only have to crawl as far as your tent for bed, alcohol content needn't influence your selection too much. Just avoid bringing glass into the wilderness as a courtesy to future campsite occupants in the event of breakage. Style Suggestions: Brown ale, porter, oatmeal stout, coffee stout, imperial stout, smoked beer, scotch ale.
Though it's often easy to grab the first decent six-pack of beer that presents itself on the shelf before heading off to whatever outing calls us, taking just a few extra moments to consider how the beer matches the setting in which it will be consumed can make all the difference in how it is enjoyed. As we become more familiar with the flavors that suit our palates and the brands that embody those flavors best, the world of beer will grow with us, always expanding and ready to challenge our understanding of what it means to drink and enjoy craft beer.