The Beer Skipper: Cookouts Go Better With Craft Beer

Ah, summertime, sweet summertime! Baseball, vacations, and, of course, time to put on my Partyboy thong and prance barefoot in my plush backyard grass . . . Whoa! What did the Skipper step in?! Not good, shipmates: Not good!

(Note to self: No more dry food for the dog . . .)

Maybe prancing barefoot outdoors isn’t such a good idea, but a cookout featuring juicy steaks and hamburgers is a great one. Even better, enjoy your fare this year with one of a number of craft beers available from retailers throughout Rutherford County.

My personal choices to enjoy with a finely marbled steak are brown ales, such as a local favorite: Yazoo Brewery’s Dos Perros Ale (available at local Kroger and other stores for around $7.50 a six-pack).

Brewed by Linus Hall and the other hard-working folks at the old Marathon Auto Works building in Nashville, Dos Perros has smooth chocolate and caramel undertones that enhance the flavor of any meat which itself has roasted and caramelized over the high heat of coals or gas. It’s a double-whammy for a great grilled taste!

In fact, brown ales such as Dos Perros and Abita Turbo Dog (available at numerous groceries and beer retailers throughout Rutherford County) are a burgeoning segment of the craft brew scene right now, due to their “middle-of-the range” flavor profile. Simply put, brown ales have distinctive but milder flavors that won’t shock taste buds more used to the mass-produced domestic beers. Try one and see what you think.

Unfortunately, some misguided folk will sometimes disagree with the Beer Skipper’s recommendations, and I’ll humor them in this column (before calling the authorities). Today, one of Murfreesboro’s favorite bar owners, Mike LaMure, dissents (He also compares the Beer Skipper to what I originally stepped into, but I’ll spare the reader this drivel . . .).

I guess LaMure could be considered an expert. He does preside over Liquid Smoke, which?with 200-plus beers and 300 varieties of cigars?counts as one of Murfreesboro’s largest craft beer and cigar destinations. When cooking out, LaMure said he prefers a lighter beer, such as an ice-cold Moosehead or Appalachian Mt. Lager, to complement, not compete with, the taste of grilled meat.

That said, LaMure does like to marinate his steaks in darker beers, such as a Samuel Smith Taddy Porter. Another tip he passes along is that on rainy summer days when outdoor cooking can’t be done, he’ll marinate steak using a Rauchbier (literally “Smoke Beer”) from Germany’s Aecht Schlenkerla brewery. LaMure says the beer itself can give your best beef that smoke flavor without charcoal.

The Beer Skipper, a.k.a. John Cummins, is a Murfreesboro resident, a founder of the Middle Tennessee Home Brew club and captain of the Nashville Brews Cruise. He claims to be the ultimate authority on all things pertaining to beer, but generously tolerates the few readers that may disagree with him. In any case, feel free to email him at jwcummins3@gmail.com.


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