The long weekend is almost here! And that means relaxing with good company, and enjoying some time off in the summer heat. For those of you BBQing or getting together with friends and family this holiday weekend, we’ve put together a list of simple wine and beer pairings that will make it easy to please a crowd. So, load up the grill, pop some corks or caps, and enjoy the sunshine!
Eat: Beer Can Chicken (photo, above, from Food52)
Drink: Amber Lager or IPA / Pinot Noir or Merlot / Oaked Chardonnay
Why? A nice strong beer will hold up nicely and add great flavour to the chicken during cooking, as well as complement the end result when you’re ready to eat (and you only need one can for the chicken, so the rest of the case is for you, right?). For wine, you want to choose something relatively light that will still hold up well against the strong spices of your dry rub. Merlot and Pinot Noir are good choices, since they’re lighter reds with softer tannins. If you opt for a white wine, choose something robust like an oaked Chardonnay.
Eat: Classic Burgers (try The Haven Burger, from Food & Wine magazine, shown above) (photo from Food & Wine)
Drink: IPA, Ale or Stout / Zinfandel or Shiraz / Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc
Why? Choose a drink that complements your burger’s flavours (spicy, cheesy, etc.). For spicier burgers, Shiraz and Zinfandel make great choices because they’re equally robust and spicy with great big fruity flavours. If you prefer white, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc provide a good amount of acidity and crisp flavours to cut through the fat. Stronger ales and IPA or stout make good choices for beer because they have the body to stand up against rich beefy burgers of all types.
Eat: BBQ Salmon Skewers (photo by Sprouted Kitchen)
Drink: Ale or Lager / Riesling or Sauvignon Blanc / Pinot Noir or Shiraz
Why? Hoppy beers, or those with full-bodied malt flavours work well with richer fish like salmon, especially when the fish is grilled. The suggested white wines also make strong choices because of their well-balanced acidity and citrusy flavours. As for reds, choose something lighter, like the Pinot Noir, or with spicy notes, like the Shiraz, to complement the char from the grill.
Eat: Grilled Corn on the Cob (try it with seasoned salt, as in the recipe from Food & Drink magazine pictured here) (photo from Food & Wine)
Drink: Lager or Wheat Beer / Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc / Pinot Noir or Merlot
Why? You can’t go wrong with a rich Chardonnay that’s as buttery as the corn, but has the acidity you want to balance things out. Sauvignon Blanc is also a strong choice because it has nice vegetal flavours and equally well-balanced acidity. For red, choose something lighter like Pinot Noir or Merlot, for the same reasons noted above for the beer can chicken. For beer, feel free to go lighter with vegetables; wheat beers and lagers would be great choices here.
As you can see, most anything you throw on the grill would pair well with a Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Merlot, as well as with a Lager or Ale, so keeping bottles of those on-hand will cover all of your bases with minimal investment. As with anything else, though, your palate is your best guide; choose the wines and beers that you like best, and experiment with different combinations to decide for yourself!
Have a great long weekend, and remember to drink responsibly (and plan ahead for a designated driver)!