written by Jeremy Storton
Although the dog days are behind us, visions of summer’s splendor flash across our memories like a late-night highlight reel. Lulled by warm days, many of us continue to push the outdoor barbecues in the evenings. But the chilly nights confirm that summer is indeed over. The days of summer salads and lagers may linger behind us, but a change of season invites a different, equally splendid experience. In fall, I find myself sitting fireside, wrapped in a blanket and tending to the various meats, veggies or paella grilling over the coals. Sometimes there is wine, but there is always beer. For me, there is something that excites my palate about pairing dark and brooding malty beers with the crackle of fire and the sizzle of steak. My goal is to curate the perfect beer “set list” for such occasions. Many beers will perform well, but which ones will strike the right chord when paired with grilled food, good tunes and the crisp night air? For me, the best beers will strike a balance between bitter hops, complex malt and quaff-ability. Thee beers below are a part of my revolving “set list” for such occasions.
Pelican Brewing’s Sea’ N Red Irish Style Red Ale (Pacific City): Malt forward, toasted biscuits and toffee with a slightly dry finish.
Wild Ride Brewing’s Brenna A Amber Lager (Redmond): Complex dark malts with a balanced but spicy hop flavor filling in the back end, with a clean and crisp finish you’d expect from a lager.
Ordnance Brewing’s FMJ IPA (Board- man): The complex maltiness of a British ale combined with the hops of a NW IPA with a dash of herbal note for good measure.
Fort George Brewing’s Vortex IPA (Astoria): A very malt-centric tropical and citrus IPA that will pair with most food a fire can dish out.
Feckin Brewery’s Top O’ The Feckin Mornin (Oregon City): Vanilla beans? Cold-brew coffee? Bourbon barrels? Steel-cut oats? Honestly, this Imperial milk porter is feckin’ perfect.
Base Camp Brewing’s S’more Stout (Portland): Chocolate, coffee, sweet dried fruit and a hint of smoke. This beer is complex, boozy and delicious. Try it with a toasted marshmallow in your glass.