Ask A Boston Bar Manager: The July 4th Party-Themed Craft Beer Line-Up

June 21, 2014 6:00 AM

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(Photo from notch brewing/Facebook)

(Photo from notch brewing/Facebook)

CBS Boston has been reaching out to the people responsible for picking the beer that shows up at some of your favorite local watering holes – the stuff you actually drink. For this edition, Chris Sheridan, Beverage Manager of Wilcox Hospitality Group (Poe’s Kitchen at the Rattlesnake, The Tip Tap Room, Estelle’s, Bukowski’s (2), Lower Depths (2), Parish Café (2)) shares his thoughts on the best craft brews for 4th of July-themed events. Take it away, Chris!

Chris Sheridan - Wilcox Hospitality Group (Photo credit: DigBoston)

Chris Sheridan – Wilcox Hospitality Group (Photo credit: DigBoston)

My thoughts on an Independence Day-themed beer lineup would be a tribute to the American craft beer movement. I truly enjoy the varieties and styles available in the American market, especially when it is combined with good food, good friends and good times.

Favorite beer with a clam or lobster bake (or boil):
Dogfish Head Red & White Imperial Belgian Wit

Dogfish Head Red & White Imperial Belgian Wit (Pic from Dogfish Head)

Dogfish Head Red & White Imperial Belgian Wit (Pic from Dogfish Head)

My suggested beer for this summer favorite is Dogfish Head Red & White Imperial Belgian Wit, brewed with orange peel and coriander and fermented with pinot noir grape juice. Weighing in at 10 % ABV can be quite daunting on a summer day, however this beer loves to be consumed with food. Its velvety mouthfeel, soft spices and subtle pinot noir flavor help your palate navigate between the delicate lobster flavors and spicy flavors of sausage.

Favorite beer with a hamburger or hotdog:
Moylan’s Hopsickle Triple Hoppy IPA

Moylan’s Hopsickle Triple Hoppy IPA (Pic from Moylan's)

Moylan’s Hopsickle Triple Hoppy IPA (Pic from Moylan’s)

This is a great place to insert your favorite IPA. For me, to have a medium-rare hamburger with Stilton blue cheese and Applewood smoked bacon and a Moylan’s Hopsickle Triple Hoppy IPA would be a fine way to wind down a day at the beach. It is an obscene amount of tomahawk, centennial and cascade hops in a very well balanced and enjoyable beer. Pretty big beer at 9.2% ABV, and as the name suggests… you really need to enjoy hop-aggressive beers.

Favorite beer for watching the fireworks:
Oskar Blues – Dales Pale Ale or Mama’s Lil’ Yella Pil

(Photo from Oskar Blues)

(Photo from Oskar Blues)

With the evolution of the craft beer movement, and more and more breweries gravitating towards canning lines, this is simply becoming a matter of preference. When it comes to cans, I’ve always enjoyed the Oskar Blues Brewery product line. Their beers are always well balanced and flavorful. Either their Dales Pale Ale or Mama’s Lil’ Yella Pils would be perfect to enjoy atop a blanket and watching a fireworks display. Both are American interpretations of classic European styles and both are very drinkable. Neither have super-high ABVs to worry about.

Favorite beer for a day on the boat:
Notch – Pils, Left of the Dial IPA or Cerne Pivo

(Photo from notch brewing/Facebook)

(Photo from notch brewing/Facebook)

Think local here. Chris Lohring from Notch Brewing is brewing some great low ABV session beers in a can. Chris has been able to maximize flavors of many different styles and keep it sessionable at 4.5% ABV or less, which makes them perfect for a long day at sea. His Pils, Left of the Dial IPA and Cerne Pivo are some of my favorites.

Favorite beer for an Independence Day hangover:
Lost Abbey – Cuvee de Tomme

Lost Abbey - Cuvee de Tomme (Pic from Lost Abbey)

Lost Abbey – Cuvee de Tomme (Pic from Lost Abbey)

If you can find it, Cuvee de Tomme from Lost Abbey Brewing Company. It’s a Belgian-inspired sour brown ale aged in bourbon barrels with sour cherries and brettanomyces. What a wonderful breakfast beer to have with some nice cheese, eggs and sausage! A nice way to nurse away even the worst of hangovers.

Chris Sheridan, “The Minister of Foam,” has spent over 20 years in the beer and restaurant industry from the Florida Keys to New Orleans to New England. Chris’ love of beer was realized while working in a brew pub in Florida and he has never looked back. With the Wilcox Hospitality Group, Chris oversees the beverage programs at the nine properties by handling everything from the beer buys to in-house beer training.

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