Ladies and gentlemen, we are just about a month and a half away from one of our favorite days of the year! Peace, Love & Hoppy-ness is just around the corner, and we can’t wait for an entire evening filled with hop-forward beers and delicious charred meats. While we are still working on the menu for this event, we know you’re all chomping at the bit! Whether this is your first time coming to PLH, or you’ve been a loyal, eight-year attendee, we know that the sheer volume of beer and barbecue to choose from can be overwhelming. With that in mind, we want to get you started on the right foot. While beer and food can almost always go well, optimal pairings can help you get the most out of your experience. Today, we’ll give you some basic guidelines and ideas when it comes to pairing your beer with your barbecue to make this year’s Peace, Love, and Hoppy-ness your best yet! If you can’t wait until April, stop by Big Dog’s Brewing and grab a growler to enjoy in the meantime!
The most important part of any decent barbecue event is the barbecue itself. Like wine, pairing a craft beer with your meat is the basis of any pairing. Every meat has different elements that will lend themselves to certain beers, while other microbrews could wash out the delicate nature of other cuts. The fat content of the meat will also be a critical factor in pairing your beers. You will want something that will highlight the natural flavors without masking them or blowing out your palate. With something like grilled chicken or seafood, for example, a hoppy IPA with notes of citrus would be ideal. A refreshing touch to a meat that absorbs the flavor is great, while a double IPA or strong IPA with balanced malt can be great for more intense meats like pork. Don’t shy away from any meat, just know what you’re drinking!
Barbecue in the United States has evolved from sauce and no sauce to something bigger and more involved. From the vinegary, tangy, mustard-based sauces of the Carolinas to the ketchup-based, brown-sugar sweet sauces of Kansas City, to the newcomers like mayonnaise-and-vinegar-based Alabama barbecue sauces, there are so many styles of barbecue sauce that it’s hard to keep track. When it comes to indulging in your barbecue and beer, the sauce can take a great microbrew and meat pairing and blow it up. For the saucy and tomato-based barbecue, opting for an IPA with good balance can ensure the hops cut through the sauce, while the malt accents it and ensures you don’t lose it entirely. For a Texas-style barbecue that opts for more smoke than sauce, a lighter IPA, verging on the session end of the spectrum, can ensure you taste the smoke and slow cookery of the meat.
Hops, hops, and more hops are the name of the game at Peace, Love, and Hoppy-ness (as if the name didn’t give it away). With that being the case, it’s obvious Big Dog’s Brewing Company loves pairing bold craft beer with bold food. However, there are times a microbrew or a cut of meat could overpower its partner, causing one flavor to be lost on your palate. When you grab your favorite double IPA, you should avoid eating a plate made with white barbecue sauce, for example. The sharpness of the hops will clash with the creaminess of the mayonnaise base, causing a conflict on your palate. If you find yourself indulging in a mustard or vinegar-based barbecue, though, an IPA high on the IBUs could help counteract the tangy nature of that plate.
We are more than excited for the eighth annual Peace, Love, and Hoppy-ness festival here at Big Dog’s Brewing Company. We know that you may not be intimidated or even concerned with pairing your beers and your barbecue, but we want to help you out in case you decide to go for it. Be sure to get your earlybird package for PHL and reap the rewards of planning ahead! If you just can’t wait and need to get your hands on some of Big Dog’s craft beer, stop by the taproom and get a growler fill or a case of cans today! For more information and to purchase your token package, please visit www.peacelovehoppyness.com.