Expert Picks for June 2017

There’s usually no better reason to try something new than the fact you’ve tried everything else. But the change in seasons always brings some exciting new choices to the craft beer aisle. Every brewery wants to wet your whistle as soon as the sun and fun arrive, hoping you’ll include them in all your summer […]

There’s usually no better reason to try something new than the fact you’ve tried everything else. But the change in seasons always brings some exciting new choices to the craft beer aisle. Every brewery wants to wet your whistle as soon as the sun and fun arrive, hoping you’ll include them in all your summer plans. And we think these are some of the best offerings that truly deserve to be in your cooler, your fridge, or chilling in a babbling brook while you wait for the fish to bite. Or not. Because if they don’t, you still have that beer, and that’s half the reason you’re there.

Sam Adams Summer Ale

Golden, hazy, and thirst-quenching, this American wheat ale balances bright citrus, Noble hops, and the peppery spice of Grains of Paradise for a lively brew that’s perfect on any summer day.



Crisp and tangy with a slight citrus hop note, malt sweetness, and a delicate lemon flavor with a subtle peppery spice, Sam Adams Summer Ale makes an excellent companion to fish and cool summer fare. Try it with these dishes or delicious recipes:

Lobster: Always a summer favorite, lobster’s rich sweet flavors are nicely balanced by the bright complexities of Summer Ale. The crisp wheat character balances out the buttery meat while the citrus and pepper add a fresh bite to the combination.

Grilled Salmon: Grilled salmon is often prepared in one of two classic preparations: sweeter with brown sugar or teriyaki, or spicy, herbal and citrusy. As salmon is a richer and oilier fish, it requires a beer that can stand up to those flavors without overpowering them. Summer Ale’s crisp wheat balances the fish’s richness while its citrus and pepper accent each of these preparations by contrasting the sweetness or complementing the herbal citrus.

Fish Tacos: With deep-fried fish you’ll want something that will help lift some of that heaviness without overpowering the fish. Samuel Adams Summer Ale, with its smooth wheat body and peppery spice will do just that, while its lemon citrus will complement the acidity of the taco’s toppings.

Guacamole: Guacamole’s blend of avocado, lime, and cilantro makes a perfect pairing with this crisp wheat beer. Summer Ale’s effervescence and wheat will cut through the richness of the avocado, while the citrus in Summer Ale complement the lime and fresh green cilantro flavors.

Caesar Salad: The creamy and tangy Caesar dressing can be contrasted by the beer’s with the crisp wheat malt in this beer while its citrus cuts through the creaminess and works perfectly with the slightly peppery salad.


Summer Ale Grilled Swordfish Steaks
with Avocado Butter

Serves 6

• 4 Tbsp Olive oil
• Zest of 1 lemon
• 2 Tbsp Ground cumin
• 2 cloves Garlic, minced
• 2 tsp Fresh ground pepper
• ½ cup Samuel Adams Summer Ale
• 6 (8-10oz each) Swordfish steaks


  1. Combine olive oil, zest, cumin, garlic, pepper and Samuel Adams Summer Ale. Generously coat swordfish and let marinate for at least one hour.
  2. Preheat grill to medium heat. Remove excess marinade from swordfish. Place swordfish on grill and cook 3-5 minutes on each side until fish becomes opaque, but not dry.
  3. Dollop fish with 2 tablespoons (or more) of avocado butter, and let it melt onto and into the fish.
  4. Serve immediately.

Avocado Butter Ingredients
• 2 Ripe avocados, skinned and pitted
• 2 Tbsp Salted butter
• 2 tsp Ground cumin
• 2 tsp Ground coriander
• 2 tsp Freshly ground pepper
• Springs of fresh coriander for garnish (optional)

In a blender, puree avocados and butter. Add cumin, coriander, salt and pepper.


Grilled Summer Vegetables
with Samuel Adams Summer Ale Vinaigrette

• 1 bunch Asparagus
• 8-10 pieces Peeled baby carrots
• 1 Red pepper
• 1 Yellow pepper
• 1 Medium zucchini cut in 1/3 inch slices
• 1 Large red onion cut in ½ inch slices
• 1 cup Extra virgin olive oil
• Salt and pepper

Marinade Ingredients
• 1 tsp Fresh thyme
• 1 tsp Fresh oregano
• 1 tsp Chopped fresh chives
• 1 tsp Minced shallot
• 1 tsp Dijon mustard
• 1 Tbsp White balsamic vinegar
• 1 cup Canola oil

Vinaigrette Ingredients
• 2 cups Extra virgin olive oil
• 2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
• ½ cup White balsamic vinegar
• 2 Tbsp Samuel Adams Summer Ale
• 2 Tbsp Chopped fresh herbs (chives, tarragon, parsley)
• Salt and pepper


  1. Separately blanch asparagus and carrots in boiling salted water. Cut carrots in half lengthwise.
  2. Whisk together all ingredients for marinade and coat zucchini, yellow squash and red onion.
  3. Lightly coat peppers in olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill turning frequently until pepper is charred all around. Wrap each pepper in paper towel and set aside.
  4. Season vegetables with salt and pepper and grill on both sides until warmed through.
  5. When peppers cool slightly, remove paper, carefully remove stem and seeds. Using the back of a paring knife, carefully remove skin.
  6. Whisk together all vinaigrette ingredients and lightly dress vegetables.


Lobster Boiled in Samuel Adams Summer Ale & Spices

Serves 6-8

• 2 Live lobsters, about 1lb each
• 2 cups Water
• 2 12-oz bottles Samuel Adams Summer Ale
• 2 Bay leaves
• 1 tsp Cayenne
• 3 Tbsp Pickling spice
• 6 drops Tabasco
• 1 head Garlic, left whole

Bring everything but the lobsters to a boil in a 6-quart stockpot. Boil for 10 minutes, then add the lobsters. After the liquid returns to a boil, boil for an additional 5-7 minutes until the lobsters are bright red and cooked. Remove the lobsters and let them cool to room temperature or refrigerate. Serve on platters and enjoy!

Bell’s Pooltime

Pooltime Ale is a refreshing Belgian-inspired Wheat Ale with light clove notes. The truly distinguishing feature is the use of 100% Montmorency tart cherries grown in the Traverse City region of Michigan. These cherries add a subtle tartness and bright counterpoint to the other flavors, enhancing Pooltime’s fruity character and making it the perfect beer for summer.

The subtle cherry tartness of Pooltime makes it an ideal partner with other cherry-inspired fare, such as chicken and cherry stuffed meatballs, BBQ salmon with cherry compote, or crispy duck with cherry sauce. But we think you’ll agree that Pooltime really shines with (and in) these delicious, unique recipes that blend beautifully with Pooltime’s Michigan cherry notes.


Pooltime Cake Pops

• 1 box (15.25oz) Betty Crocker Delights Super Moist Cherry Chip Cake Mix
• 1 pkg (2.68oz) Meijer Instant Vanilla Pudding & Pie Filling Mix
• ¾ cup Sour cream
• ¾ cup Milk
• 4 oz Bell’s Pooltime Ale (drink the remainder!)
• ¼ cup Canola oil
• 3 large Eggs
• 1/3 cup Vanilla frosting
• 1 jar (16oz) Meijer Red Maraschino Cherries
• 18-22 oz Melted and tempered white morsels/chips
• Lollipop sticks


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F
  2. Spray a 13X9 inch cake pan with nonstick spray.
  3. Mix cake mix, pudding mix, Pooltime, sour cream, milk, oil, and eggs in a large mixing bowl. Use an electric beater on low for 30 seconds to combine and for two minutes on medium to mix.
  4. Pour mixture into pan and bake for 28-32 minutes.
  5. Remove cake and allow to cool.
  6. Crumble cake into a clean bowl and add vanilla frosting to combine crumbles so that you can scoop the mixture. Use a little more Poolside if needed to moisten.
  7. Use a tablespoon and scoop mixture. Take one cherry and wrap mixture around cherry. Insert lollipop stick into cherry and place pop down on a tray with parchment paper. Repeat until all mixture is used.
  8. Refrigerate pops for 2 hours until firm.
  9. Melt morsels over a double saucepan until smooth.
  10. Dip each pop into warm mixture, coat and place back on parchment paper. Sprinkle with red sugar for decoration.
  11. Dip all pops, decorate and let the pops sit until the chocolate hardens.
  12. Serve with more Bell’s Pooltime Ale.


Poolside Cherry Glazed Ribs

• 3 racks of Ribs
• Dry rib rub
• 16 oz Tart cherry juice
• 2 cans of Bell’s Pooltime Ale
• 3 Tbsp Dijon mustard
• 3 Tbsp honey
• Apple cider vinegar


  1. Rub the ribs and either bake, smoke or grill until tender.
  2. In a medium pot, whisk together Pooltime, cherry juice, honey and mustard. Gently bring to the boil, turn heat down and simmer until the sauce has reduced to a thickness that coats the back of a spoon. Put the sauce into a clean bowl and refrigerate until cool. Adjust acidity of sauce to taste with apple cider vinegar.
  3. Brush ribs with sauce and broil or finish on your grill, continue to turn and baste ribs until glossy and sticky. Use remainder of sauce for dipping.
  4. Enjoy with a delicious Bell’s Pooltime Ale.

Hoegaarden Original Belgian Wheat Beer

The original Belgian Witbier beer has been brewed in the Village of Hoegaarden (pronounced Who-garden) since 1445 when the Begaarden monks were flavoring it with orange peel, coriander and herbs that they imported from Curacao.

Winner of 9 World Beer Cup Awards, Hoegaarden is made with barley malt, unmalted wheat, and is still seasoned with coriander and Curacao orange zest, resulting in a soft taste that’s light and slightly sweet and sour with subtle citrus notes and a spicy dry finish.

Below some quick pairing ideas that make it easy to highlight a meal with Hoegaarden. We also recommend you try one the delicious recipes that come recommended by Hoegaarden brewmasters.

Meat: Roasted Pork with Hoegaarden Marinade
Poultry: Grilled Chicken with Lemon Marinade
Cheese: Chèvre Salad with Goat Cheese and Honey
Fish: Poached White Fish with Cream/Butter Sauce
Seafood: Steamed Mussels with Hoegaarden
Ethnic: Steamed Thai Crab Legs   with Cilantro
Fruit: Lemon Tart with Crème fraîche
Vegetables: Steamed Spinach with Garlic
Dessert: Crepes with Apple Filling


Hoegaarden Chicken Zucchini and Lemon Zest Pasta

Serves 2

• 16 oz Penne pasta
• 2 Cooked boneless skinless chicken breast (sliced into 1 inch dice)
• 2 Zucchini (sliced)
• 2 cloves Garlic (minced)
• 2 Tbsp Capers
• 6 Tbsp Olive oil
• 2 Tbsp Hoegaarden
• 1 Lemon (rind finely grated and then juiced)
• Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese


  1. Cook pasta until al dente. Drain and set aside.
  2. Heat the olive oil over medium heat. Sauté the garlic. Add the sliced zucchini and sauté until slightly tender.
  3. Add all remaining ingredients into a large serving bowl. Add pasta and toss. Sprinkle with grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and serve immediately


Mussels Hoegaarden

• 4 lb Prince Edward Island Mussels, Scrubbed and beards removed
• 1 Onion, finely chopped
• 1 Carrot, finely chopped
• 1 Celery stalk, finely chopped
• 3½ oz Hoegaarden beer
• 3 oz Unsalted butter
• 2 Tbsp Chopped Italian parsley
• Pinch of salt and pepper


  1. Make sure you discard any mussels open prior to cooking, it is a sign of a bad mussel.
  2. Place a large pot over moderate heat. When hot, melt a small amount of butter in the pan and cook the onion, carrots and celery for five or six minutes until tender.
  3. Add the mussels, salt, pepper and Hoegaarden beer. Cook covered over medium heat until all the mussel shells are open. Discard any mussels that do not open. Add the butter in small cubes and let cook for another two minutes. Add chopped parsley and serve.


Warm Kale Salad

Serves 8

• 2½ lb Kale bunches, de-stemmed and torn into bite-sized pieces
• ¼ lb Bacon (preferably Black Forest)
• ¼ tsp Salt
• 1½ Tbsp Balsamic vinegar
• ½ cup Marcona almonds
• ½ cup Parmigiano curls
• Freshly ground black pepper


  1. For the kale, to remove the stems, hold the base of the stem with one hand, and then run your hand down the stem to separate the leaf from the stem.
  2. Tear the kale into bite-sized pieces and set aside.
  3. Cut bacon into ½-inch pieces.
  4. In a cast-iron skillet set over medium-low heat, cook bacon until crisp, stirring occasionally
  5. Transfer bacon to a cooling rack placed over a baking sheet to drain excess fat.
  6. Increase heat to medium-high, heating up remaining bacon grease. Add dry kale (in two batches) and ¼ teaspoon salt to skillet.
  7. Cook, flipping once or twice for about 4 minutes, or until kale brightens in color and looks vibrant.
  8. Transfer kale to a platter.
  9. Drizzle balsamic vinegar on top of the salad.
  10. Add cooked bacon pieces, and a few grinds of pepper, toss to combine.
  11. To finish the dish, sprinkle with almonds and Parmigiano curls

Tip: Create Parmigiano curls using a vegetable peeler

Upland Dragonfly IPA

Named after a creature that does not bite, Dragonfly India Pale Ale has a balance not often found in this style. A solid malt base tempers powerful American hops, resulting in a well-balanced, malty beer with the crisp taste of spicy, piney hops and an exceptionally floral nose.

Try Dragonfly IPA with strong spicy foods (curry), mild blue cheese (gorgonzola), or sweet desserts (carrot cake, caramel apple tart, ginger spice cake, persimmon rice pudding). We think it makes an excellent partner in (and with) this Marinated Grilled Chicken:


Upland Dragonfly Marinated Grilled Chicken

• 1 lb Free range chicken thighs
• 1 12-oz bottle Upland Dragonfly IPA
• 4 cloves Garlic, minced
• 1 tsp Cumin, ground
• 1 tsp Dried thyme, ground
• 1 tsp Smoked paprika
• 1 tsp Onion powder
• ¼ tsp Cayenne pepper
• 1 tsp Black pepper, ground
• 1 tsp Sea salt, ground
• Zest of a lime
• Juice of a lime
• Bunch of fresh parsley, chopped


  1. Begin by placing the chicken thighs in a reclosable food storage bag.
  2. Pour the 12oz bottle of Dragonfly into a bowl.
  3. Add remaining ingredients to the bowl and give them a good mix to make the marinade.
  4. Pour the marinade over the chicken in the food storage bag, seal and refrigerate for 4-8 hours, overnight if you wish.


Black Goat

Perrin doubled the ingredients for their Black Lager, put it in stainless for two weeks and laid it down in fresh bourbon barrels for six months. A bold sweet vanilla bean aroma rises from the nose which is followed closely by flavors of complex dark chocolate and ripened stone fruit. This lively lager finishes with a unique charred oak character and a smooth, warm caramel bourbon flavor that’s sure to please the harshest of critics.

Caution: this billy kicks!

Black Goat is available in 22oz bottles at select Meijer stores in Michigan and Northern Indiana for a limited time.