Loving the idea of a ‘summer fun’ poolside wedding with burgers and beer! Use yellows, dusty blues, and browns for a retro mod vibe and of course, rubber duckies as escort cards could steal the show. For a cute DIY project for bridal party gifts, eBay has plenty of scrabble tiles for sale, and gluing them together to make coasters is a piece of cake!
Today I’ve got a super special, oh so perfect guest post for you from John, a dear friend of mine and beer connoisseur, here to tell us about the perfect beer pairings for your wedding!
John’s bio: John Newhouse is a beer enthusiast and sports fanatic living in Los Angeles. Last year, he interned at one of LA’s newest craft breweries, Golden Road Brewing. He drinks, eats, and sleeps beer (yes, it’s possible).
“How many beer styles are there in the known universe? If you said between 25 and 50, then you are wrong. There are at least 80 varieties of the world’s most widely imbibed alcoholic drink, not including meads, ciders, and other fermented concoctions. But in the US, adults are most familiar with the thin, yellow lagers brewed in large quantities by Anheuser-Busch and MillerCoors. Now there’s nothing wrong with the typical light beer, but I’m here to tell you that at your wedding, you can impress your guests by offering a varied selection of high quality beers that are perfect for the occasion. All of the brews discussed below are nationally distributed, and can be found almost anywhere in the states. It is true that good beers will typically be a little more expensive, but isn’t it worth it to bring a little more class to your special day? Due to each beer style’s unique qualities, you should choose carefully depending on the season and expected weather at the reception.
Spring & Summer
When it’s hot out, your palate tends to prefer a drink that is refreshing and bright. Your guests will find these styles relatively easy to drink, yet still packed with complex flavors and aromas. But don’t be fooled: even some light-colored beers can have high alcohol content and pack a punch.
Flavor Notes: Belgian Witbiers (“white beers” due to their unfiltered cloudiness) are refreshing, light, and flavorful. They display orange citrus notes, light honey sweetness, subtle hop bitterness, and a bit of coriander spiciness.
Food pairings: Light seafood, herbal cheeses, and orange sorbet
Tasty examples: Allagash White, Hoegaarden (pronounced “hoo-garten”)
Style: Blonde Ale
Flavor Notes: Clear, yellow-gold blonde ales are some of the most approachable beers around. They have a slight malty sweetness, low bitterness, and finish dry and crisp on the palate.
Food pairings: Chicken, salad, salmon, nutty cheeses, and lemon custard
Tasty examples: Widmer Blonde Ale, Redhook Blonde
Flavor Notes: Like blonde ales, Kolsch beers are crisp, refreshing, and well balanced. Their simple, Pilsener-like appearance hides complex fruit undertones, effervescent carbonation, and a slightly tart finish.
Food pairings: Chicken, fish, light cheeses, and apricots
Tasty examples: Alaska Summer Ale, Goose Island Summertime
Fall & Winter
As the leaves change and the elves start up the North Pole Sweatshop, the type of beer we crave shifts. For those of you who plan to wed in the more chilly seasons, you should look for beers that are a bit heartier and fulfilling.
Flavor Notes: Porters, one of my favorite styles, tend to be slightly roasty (like coffee or chocolate) with substantial caramel, nutty, and toffee qualities. The best ones are medium-bodied and not too bitter, so your guests can enjoy more than one without feeling bloated.
Food pairings: Roasted food, barbecue, blackened fish, Gruyere, and chocolate
Tasty examples: Samuel Smith’s Taddy Porter, Fuller’s London Porter
Flavor Notes: These beers get their name from the late-September/early-October festival in Munich. They are colored anywhere from gold to red, and are slightly sweet and finish dry. Toasted notes dance on the palate with a subtle bitterness for balance.
Food pairings: Mexican food, sausage, pork, and mangoes
Tasty examples: Paulaner Oktoberfest, Samuel Adams Oktoberfest
Style: English Brown Ale
Flavor Notes: The Brown Ales that originated in the northern part of England are classic, satisfying beers. Their chestnut color and caramel aroma perfectly previews the early malt sweetness and nutty finish. They are minimally bitter, and very drinkable.
Food pairings: Hearty foods: roast pork, grilled salmon, sausage, Gouda, maple-walnut cake
Tasty examples: Samuel Smith’s Nut Brown Ale, Goose Island Nut Brown Ale
Certain styles of beer are appropriate regardless of the season. These varieties are versatile in flavor, aroma, and capacity to refresh. Choose one or two from this list, and your guests will have no problem drinking the night away (responsibly, of course).
Style: IPA (India Pale Ale)
Flavor Notes: The fastest growing style in the US is the IPA. They are notable for their significant (and sometimes overwhelming) hop bitterness and aroma. But in my opinion, the best IPAs use their bitterness to balance the malty sweet backbone, and often contain citrusy undertones.
Food pairings: Curries, spicy food, Gorgonzola, caramel apple tart, and carrot cake
Tasty examples: Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA, Harpoon IPA
Style: Amber Ale
Flavor Notes: Ambers are often beautiful to look upon in the glass. Their deep amber or coppery brown color hints at the light caramel sweetness within. The best American varieties are balanced by floral hops and high carbonation, which keeps them drinkable.
Food pairings: Wide range of foods: chicken, seafood, beef, spicy food, pears, and banana pound cake
Tasty examples: Alaskan Amber, Big Sky Moose Drool
Style: Pale Ale
Flavor Notes: Like their IPA cousins, Pale Ales in the US tend to showcase the hop bitterness. However, the more crowd-pleasing brands are able to balance the hops with a hearty backbone of malt and toasty character. They also often contain subtle citrus aromas and flavors.
Food pairings: Also a wide range: burgers, chicken, fish, cheddar, and bread pudding
Tasty examples: Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, Firestone Walker Pale 31″