The Fourth of July is all about the red, white, and blue and beer should be no exception. Not only do red ales, white beers, and blue(berry) sours complement that sleeveless American flag tee you can only pull off one day of the year, they also pair perfectly with some of the best Independence Day eats.
Erika Goedrich, the “commander-in-beer” at Craft Beer Cellars D.C. (located in the heart of the nation’s capital), offers her favorite American-brewed red, white, and blue beers to toast America’s b-day.
Amber Ale – Bell’s Brewery
Goedrich is impressed by this red ale—literally amber waves of grain in a bottle—highlighting its “toasty and malty sweetness…balanced by herbal and citrus hop bitterness.”
While Goedrich enjoys serving Bell’s flagship beer with grill favorites such as ribs and chicken, she also likes to save a bottle to pair with a slice of apple pie. “The caramel notes in the beer will be pure yumminess with this classic American dessert.”
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G’Knight – Oskar Blues Brewery
Clocking in at 60 IBUs and nearly nine percent ABV, G’Knight is an Imperial Red IPA which offers the sweet malt backbone of a traditional red ale but with an extra wallop of hops. It’s no surprise that a beer with such a big, bold flavor profile requires equally hearty food companions. “We’ll pair G’Knight with our burger and potato salad,” says Goedrich. “The hop bitterness will help tame that juicy burger and fatty potato salad.”
Don’t forget to raise a glass to the inspiration behind G’Knight, award-winning brewer and Purple Heart recipient Gordon Knight, who died tragically while fighting a fire just outside of Oskar Blues’ hometown of Lyons, Colorado.
White – Allagash Brewing Company
Goedrich suggests kicking off the Fourth of July festivities with this textbook high-in-wheat, low-in-alcohol Belgian-style witbier (translation: “white beer”) from Portland, Maine.
While Goedrich notes that witbiers are versatile when it comes to food pairings, she singles out watermelon, feta cheese, and mint salad as the perfect dish to serve with Allagash White. “The beer’s citrus and coriander spice will enhance the salty and herbal flavors of the food without overwhelming it.”
Namaste White – Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
If you’re looking to add some extra fireworks to your Fourth, this witbier spiked with lemongrass and peppercorns, is bound to dazzle your tastebuds. “It’s perfect for a hot summer day,” says Goedrich. “You’ll get flavors of citrus with a subtle spicy finish.”
Keeping with the white theme, Goedrich suggests pairing Namaste with goat cheese. “The citrus notes in the beer will complement the lemony flavor of the cheese.”
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Petite Sour Blueberry – Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project
This tart and fruity favorite from Denver-based sour beer specialist Crooked Stave is sure to be a hit at any Independence Day celebration. “You’ll get more tart and sour blueberry rather than sweet blueberry, along with some oak notes from aging in oak barrels,” says Goedrich.
“Drink this with an arugula and fresh fruit salad with a citrusy vinaigrette,” she suggests. “The tartness plays well with the peppery notes in the arugula and can balance the acidity in the vinaigrette.”
B Is for Blueberry – Evil Twin Brewing
Evil Twin’s refreshing gose-style ale gets an “A” from Goedrich with the addition of blueberries providing the perfect foil for the “lively tartness and subtle saltiness” of the base beer.
Goedrich recommends saving this Brooklyn-brewed beer for last, and, keeping with the red, white, and blue theme, serving it alongside angel food cake with fresh berries or berry cheesecake bites. “The bright acidity in the beer will help balance the sweetness of the dessert.”
Header image courtesy of Oskar Blues Brewery.