While burgers and brats sizzle on the grill, load your plate with side salads and slip a beer in your koozie to match.
Macaroni salad + Scotch ale
A grown-up Scotch ale gives every kid’s favorite side some balance: Sweet malt smoothes out the tart mayo and relish, while a rich undercurrent of smoky, toasted notes brings fullness to the bite.
Fruit salad + American wheat beer
Watermelon is summer’s quiet headliner, and it needs a beer that won’t overwhelm its sweet, watery flesh. A simple wheat does the trick, playing up the fruit’s full texture without drowning out grapes, cantaloupe, kiwi and berries. Double the fruit factor with a (seedless!) watermelon wheat beer.
Potato salad + IPA
Potato salad’s a hallmark of summer, but not in a breezy, bikini way: This mighty bite begs for a beer with some heft. A zippy IPA with grapefruity, oniony hops melds easily with sweet mustard and celery zing, and the beer’s bitter kick cleans up the creamy potatoes.
Greek pasta salad + rye pale ale
Commingling cucumber, olives and feta with tart vinaigrette, this salad’s focus is fresh, vegetal flavor. A rye pale ale sports similar elements, from its crisp spice to bready malts that nod to pasta; bitterness in the beer connects with the same bitterness in the olives for a decisive finish.
Parmesan pasta salad + American wild ale
Olive oil and parm headline this pasta sophisticate; a tart American wild ale brings a little party to the bite. The beer’s mouth-puckering sourness foils the oil, while its loud, fruity burst is a perfect complement to the sharp, earthy cheese.