The 11 Best Beer & Food Pairings for Spring

Our Beer Sommelier, Maggie Cubbler, lists her 11 favourite beer and food pairings for spring guaranteed to make for a deliciously beautiful day!

The flowers are blooming, the sun is shining once again and the land is gifting us with the delicious gifts of spring. Optimistically, we all venture out to the shed to blow winter's gloom off the grill. Cracking open the door you peer in to see her standing there in all her glory, like a boat moored in the harbour which had been patiently waiting for the ice to retreat. Whispering to yourself "it is time", you step forward to pull up the lid--a ceremonial unveiling fit for the grandest works of art. And there it is: a dried up hot dog from last summer's final BBQ. 

To make sure your spring doesn't go on like a dried up hot dog, here are my 11 favourite beer and food pairings perfect for warm spring BBQs or a beautiful Sunday lunch. I could've stopped at 10 but here at Beer Hawk we like to go just that little bit more. Also, I had 11 great ideas.

Thornbridge Chiron with Spring Pea, Mint and Pecorino Risotto

 I love the zesty citrus notes in the Chiron and how it contrasts with the creamy saltiness from the pecorino cheese. A resiny character is a lovely complement to the mint and the sweetness from the in-season peas is great with the malty sweetness. Finally, the beer's balanced bitterness and refreshing dryness is fantastic for cleansing the palate of the risotto's richness.

Schlenkerla Rauchbier Weizen with Grilled Balsamic Carrots

 There's an interesting sweet quality to this otherwise smokey beer. A good bit of banana, caramel and citrus complement the sweet carrots while the balsamic vinegar's acidity and caramelly char from the BBQ provide a fantastic contrast with the bold ham-like smokiness from the Schlenkerla Rauchbier Weizen. The beer's delightfully light mouthfeel and creamy carbonation are a good match for the weight of the carrots.

Saison Dupont with White Asparagus Gratin

 Saison Dupont's creamy, medium body is a perfect pairing for anything that swims in béchamel and cheese (like I wish I could do, personally). Fresh, in-season white asparagus is a bit sweet which is contrasted nicely by the obviously spicy, peppery yeast character of the Saison. Finishing with a firm bitterness, it's hard to beat the Saison Dupont when looking for a great partner to a springtime gratin.

Wild Beer Co. Sleeping Lemons with Spinach and Sorrel Tarts

 'Tis the season for sorrel and its interesting acidic, almost lemony quality. Wild Beer Co.'s Sleeping Lemons gose has an equally as prominent lemon citrus profile which would pick up the sorrel's flavour. Combine the sorrel and some sweet baby spinach with a sharp goat's cheese and this tart has a BFF in the light, semi-dry beer.

Buxton Axe Edge with Grilled Five-Spice Lamb Chops

 I love IPAs with grilled meat. Buxton's Axe Edge has rather bold notes of grapefruit, mango and spicy resin which provide a complex contrast to lamb chops seasoned with an interesting five-spice mix. Its dry, bitter finish has a great cutting quality while its medium body can stand up to the intensity of BBQ'd lamb.

Anchor Steam with Crispy Cod Tacos

 Anchor Steam is a pleasant, easy-drinking beer that loves to cozy up next to fried food. Stuff a tortilla full of battered and fried fresh cod, chopped cabbage, pickled red onions and fresh coriander. You'll find no better beery partner than this one with its creamy mouthfeel, fruity, caramelly character and zingy bitter finish.

Birra del Borgo Cortigiana with Crab and Avocado Spring Rolls

 Crab season begins in April! A lovely light dinner of crab-stuffed spring rolls filled with in-season spinach and some avocado would be fantastic with a crisp and spritzy Golden Ale. Birra del Borgo's Cortigiana is delicate and balanced enough to make sure the crab takes centre stage.

Hitachino Amber Ale with BBQ Pork Sausages

 A classic pairing like BBQ'd sausages and a smooth, easy drinking Amber Ale like Hitachino's needs very little discussion. A caramel malt character clings right to BBQ grill marks and this medium-bodied beer matches perfectly in intensity. Never big, never intense feel free to enjoy sausages and Amber Ale all day.

Goose Island Sofie with Rhubarb Crumble

 What can I say? Goose Island Sofie is an exceptional ale perfect for a dessert made with seasonal local rhubarb. Its peppery notes provide an interesting contrast to the rhubarb's tartness which is conversely matched to the beer's wine-like acidity. Its creamy vanilla finish pulls the sweet crumble topping ever closer to it only letting it go thanks to its champagne-like carbonation.

Orval with BBQ Seafood and Chorizo Paella

 The Orval Trappist Ale has an intensely aromatic character that will stand up to boldest of dishes. It's hard to find more flavours than in a paella and all of Orval's spicy, peppery, bitter, yeasty, citrussy, wine-like, funky and fruity complexity finds a partner in the dish somewhere. Add a champagne-like effervescence to the mix and you'll have quite the party in your mouth.

Jolly Pumpkin Luciernaga and Prawn Pasta Primavera

 It's in the name: Pasta Primavera is the unrivaled springtime dish. Toss prawns in garlic with some of your favourite spring vegetables--asparagus, tomatoes, sweet peppers or carrots--and serve it on top of pasta alongside Jolly Pumpkin's Luciernaga. Crackery malts complement the pasta while its subtle funky tartness goes nicely with the tomatoes' acidity. A high carbonation and dry quality offer the perfect finish to each bite. 

If you get the chance to try any of these pairings please let me know what you thought or if you found something equally as delicious!