It’s officially summer, so that means we’ve reached peak barbecue season. Bros everywhere will (and should) be firing up their grills, slapping down some meat and cooking it up to a smoky, saucy deliciousness.
And of course, I know what you’re thinking of to wash down those burgers and brats: A vodka soda.
PSYCH. Juuuuuust kidding–it’s beer, of course! Sam Adams was a brewer and a patriot, and this is America, goddammit. You can’t just chant “USA! USA!” without the whoosh of a beer can being cracked to accompany the chorus.
In all seriousness, there’s something uniquely calm, simple and friendly about a cold beer. You know when you walk in the door and see that 24-pack chilling over a bucket of ice in cooler, you’re gonna have a good time. (Consider the same scenario with tequila: You know you’re probably gonna be arrested. Probably.)
But what if the girl you’re dating isn’t a “beer person?” What drinks can you get to keep her happy and still maintain the relaxed vibe?
Lucky for you, with the prevalence of microbreweries today, there is no shortage of delicious, flavorful, interesting beer that she’s guaranteed to love. Here’s a handy guide to introducing your lady to the world of beer:
If she likes: Cosmopolitans or daiquiris
You should serve her: A fruit lambic
Lambics are Belgian sour beers that are frequently mixed with fruits like raspberries, cherries, peaches and strawberries, so if she likes her cocktails girly and pink, this beer is a good bet. Try Lindemans Framboise or Pecheresse (that’s raspberry and peach, respectively) or Van Honsebrouck St. Louis Kriek (cherry).
If she likes: Margaritas
You should serve her: A summer shandy
Shandy beers have a distinctly lemon flavor, which should be a good beer complement to the lemon/lime flavor of a margarita. Most stores are fully stocked with Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy right now, so these beers should be relatively easy to procure.
If she likes: Mudslides
You should serve her: Russian imperial stouts
These beers are most frequently brewed with chocolate and coffee flavors, and they’re AWESOME. Some of my personal favorites are Stone Brewing Company Imperial Russian Stout, Founders Breakfast Stout and Oskar Blues Ted FIDY–and double bonus points if you can find this style of beer bourbon-barrel aged. (Note: If your only familiarity with stouts is Guinness, you have been missing out. Guinness is a dry Irish stout, and the beers I’m recommending are vastly different in flavor, alcohol content and consistency.)
If she likes: Mimosas
You should serve her: Wheat beers
These beers have a very citrusy aftertaste and are frequently served with an orange slice garnish, which should satisfy her craving for a little OJ. Obviously, Blue Moon is everywhere, but most breweries have pretty solid offerings in this style.
If she likes: Red wine
You should serve her: Belgian abbey ales
Red wine fans will appreciate the complexities of these beers, as they contain notes of chocolate, fruit and candied sugar. Also, your lady can use the word “notes” when describing the beers. Try the St. Bernardus Abt 12 or Ommengang Three Philosophers ale.
If she likes: Vodka sodas
You should serve her: the door.
There are some things I just can’t abide, and this is one of them. You’re on your own here.
So go get to cooking out and downing beers by the pool with your girl! You’re guaranteed to have a good time.
[Beer via Shutterstock]