The flavours of a barbecue extend beyond what’s on the grill. There are the salads, sides and, of course, dessert. Thankfully, Nova Scotia craft brewers make a kaleidoscope of flavours and styles that will pair with just about anything on the summer dinner table.
Try light, highly-carbonated pilsners and wheat ales, with their champagne-like effervescence and exotic flavours, matched to hors d’oeuvres and salads. Better yet, use the beer to make the vinaigrette. Partner rich, malty red ales, especially those made with a dark or smoked malt component, with grilled meats. You can even use the beer to make a marinade or a barbecue sauce to baste the meat.
The key when selecting a beer to cook with is to avoid astringent styles such as pale ale or India pale ales, as the bitterness of the beer will be enhanced during the cooking process. Rich red ales and brown ales typically offer the ideal sweet, malty profile ideal as a marinade or braising agent.
As for desserts, stouts and porters are classic pairings to chocolate. Try serving a light chocolate mousse adorned with fresh seasonal berries along with a chilled locally-made, coffee-scented porter. You might be surprised how refreshing a treat this combination of flavours is.
Crafty Red Ale Barbecue Sauce
This rich and smoky barbecue sauce is complemented by the rich, malty sweetness of a local red ale, such as Breton Red Coast Irish Red Ale, Tatamagouche Brewing Company’s Butcher Block Red Ale or Garrison Irish Red Ale. Use the barbecue sauce to brush over grilled steak.
1 tbsp canola oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, minced
3 chipotle chilies in adobe
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
2 jalapenos, seeded and finely diced
1 cup local red ale
1 cup crushed tomatoes
1. Place a pan over medium heat. Add canola and sauté onion until translucent.
2. Add garlic, garlic, jalapeno and chipotle. Continuing to sauté until fragrant (approximately 30 seconds).
3. Add tomatoes, local red ale, oregano and cayenne.
4. Continue to cook for another five minutes to let the flavours combine.
5. Take off the heat and allow to cool.
6. Transfer to a blender. Purée until smooth.
7. Brush sauce over ribs or grilled red meats.
Spinach with Raspberries, Toasted Almonds, Camembert and Local Wheat Ale Vinaigrette
Wheat ales made in the Weizen style provide both acidity and exotic flavours to a vinaigrette recipe. A number of local breweries make this style, including Uncle Leo’s award-winning Vohs Weizenbier (2014 gold medal winner at the Atlantic Canadian Beer Awards) and Propeller Hefeweizen Wheat Ale.
8 cups baby spinach, washed and dried
1 cup dried cranberries
3/4 cup wheat ale such as Uncle Leo’s Vohs Weizenbier
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 shallot, minced
1/2 tbsp Dijon mustard
1/3 cup olive oil
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
2 tsp sugar
2 tbsp fresh basil, shredded
1/4 cup toasted pecans
8 oz (225 grams) Camembert, cubed
Salt and pepper, to taste
1. Place wheat ale in saucepan and reduce over medium-high heat until it’s a third of its original volume.
2. Remove from heat and whisk in lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, shallots, Dijon mustard, sugar and basil.
3. Slowly whisk in olive oil.
4. Place baby spinach, cranberries and toasted pecans in a large bowl and toss with vinaigrette.
5. Season salad with salt and pepper to taste. Place in individual bowls and top with cubes of Camembert.