Craft beer has always been about flavor and the unpredictable magic born from hops, grains, fruits and spices. Our favorite summer beers definitely lean toward the fruity, light and refreshing end of the spectrum, but can sometimes pack a punch and deliver a hoppy bite, too. (Check out Ballast Point’s Watermelon Dorado).
These refreshing brews and delicious recipes utilize three quintessentially summertime flavors – watermelon, blueberry and citrus – for outstanding pairings for any summertime gathering.
Ballast Point Watermelon Dorado
Ballast Point Watermelon Dorado is a fresh twist on a heavy hitter and doesn’t back down from big flavor. Mash, kettle, and dry hopping blend to create a huge hop profile that is balanced with a blast of watermelon. The result is a refreshing brew that is all summer and no seeds.
New Belgium Juicy Watermelon Ale
New Belgium’s Juicy Watermelon Ale is an approachable, fruit-infused ale brewed with watermelon and lime peel. The bright fruity watermelon flavor hints at both rind and candy, with touches of cucumber and fresh-cut grass, and traces of apricot, lime, and strawberry. Mildly sweet, sour and minimally bitter, it’s crisp, refreshing and juicy – the perfect choice for beating back the summer heat.
Watermelon and Grilled Shrimp Skewers
Prep Time: 1 hrs
Cook Time: 3 min
Total Time: 1 hr 3 min
- 1 lb Fresh jumbo shrimp (rinsed, peeled and deveined; if using frozen, thaw before marinating)
- 1/3 cup Olive oil + 1 Tbsp
- Juice from 2 limes (that’s about 3 tablespoons)
- Zest of 1 lime (use one of the limes you’re juicing)
- 2 Tbsp Fresh mint chopped
- 1 tsp Fresh thyme leaves
- ½ tsp Red pepper flakes
- 2 cloves Garlic minced
- ½ tsp Kosher salt
- ½ tsp Black pepper
- ½ Small watermelon, cubed (about 2 lbs)
- ¼ cup Mint leaves torn for garnish
- In a small bowl whisk together the 1/3 cup oil, lime zest and juice, chopped mint, thyme, red pepper flakes, garlic, salt and pepper. Pour half of marinade over shrimp in another small bowl. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour. Set remaining marinade aside.
- Peel and cube watermelon into 1 inch cubes.
- Heat the grill to very high, about 550°F.
- Thread the watermelon onto skewers and brush the watermelon with remaining one tablespoon of oil. Thread the shrimp onto skewers being sure to pierce through top and bottom to form a C-shape. This will secure the shrimp so they lay flat.
- Grill watermelon on one side for 1-2 minutes to form grill marks. Remove from grill and set on serving tray. Grill shrimp for 1 minute, turning once and baste with some of the marinade and cook for another minute. Set on serving tray with watermelon and drizzle remaining marinade over all. Serve with torn mint leaves.
Adapted from Sunset magazine’s August 2016 issue recipe by Romney Steele.
Saugatuck Blueberry Maple Stout
Saugatuck Blueberry Maple Stout is a sweet milk stout with all the malt characteristics you love but with a bold, unique twist – it tastes just like a glass full of blueberry pancakes smothered in maple syrup. Serve with – what else? – pancakes!
Wild Blue is a blueberry lager that fuses the juice of nature’s perfect fruit – blueberries – with premium Pacific Northwest and Bavarian Hallertau hops, two row and six-row barley malt, and cereal grains. “Wild Blue is such a great match for food,” says Jill Vaughn, a brewmaster from Anheuser-Busch, “because its hint of sweetness is balanced by a finishing tartness that cleanses the palate.” Try it with pork tenderloin, mixed-green salads, dried fruit, or these delicious baby back ribs:
Baby Back Ribs with Blueberry Balsamic Barbecue Sauce
Ingredients for the Ribs:
- 2 racks Baby back ribs
- 1 Tbsp Paprika
- 1 Tbsp Chili powder
- 1 Tbsp Onion powder
- 1 Tbsp Garlic powder
- 1 Tbsp Cumin
- 1 Tbsp Coriander
- 1 tsp Cayenne pepper
- 1½ Tbsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp Freshly ground black pepper
Ingredients for the Blueberry Balsamic Barbecue Sauce:
- 2 cups Blueberries (fresh or frozen works)
- 2/3 cup Balsamic vinegar
- ½ cup Honey
- ½ tsp Red pepper flakes
- ½ tsp Cayenne pepper, to taste
- 1/3 cup Diced shallots
- 2 cloves Garlic, minced
- 1 Tbsp Molasses
- ½ tsp Kosher salt
- ¼ tsp Ground pepper
- Preheat the oven to 300°F, with a rack placed in the center of the oven. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and set aside.
- Flip one rack of baby back ribs over and insert the tip of a butter knife under the membrane that covers the back of the rack. Wiggle the knife to loosen the membrane. Use a paper towel to hold one end and pull it off. Repeat with remaining rack.
- Combine the seasonings in a small bowl and mix well with a spoon or small whisk. Sprinkle the rub generously on both sides of the baby back ribs. Place the ribs bone-side down on the baking sheet and bake for about 2 hours, or until the ribs are slack when you lift them and the meat is almost ready to fall off the bone.
- While the ribs are in the oven, make the barbecue sauce. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, stir together the blueberries, honey and balsamic vinegar. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to a simmer, and cook until the blueberries have burst and released their juices, about 5 minutes. Add the red pepper flakes, cayenne pepper (add in increments if you are sensitive to spice), shallots and garlic and let it cook for about 5-7 minutes more. If you have an immersion blender, blend the sauce together to puree the sauce into a smoother consistency. You may also use a blender or a masher.
- Stir in the molasses, salt and pepper, and continue simmering the sauce until it has thickened, about 15-20 minutes. Adjust seasoning if necessary. Remove from heat and let it cool; it will thicken as it sits. The sauce may be used right away or stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator after cooling completely.
- Preheat the grill to medium-high heat.
- When the ribs are tender, remove from the oven. Brush the ribs with barbecue sauce on both sides. Reserve the remaining sauce for serving. Place the ribs on the grill, and cook for about 5 minutes, or until the ribs are caramelized, turning periodically. Transfer the ribs onto a cutting board and brush with more sauce. Let it sit for about 5-10 minutes, then cut the ribs. Serve immediately along with the reserved sauce.
Dry rub adapted from Dry Rib Rub by Bobby Flay via FoodNetwork.com.
Cheboygan Brewing Company Blood Orange Honey
Blood Orange Honey is a unique twist on a great American-style wheat beer, with the addition of fresh local wildflower honey mixed with blood orange zest and blood orange puree. The result is a medium bodied beer that is very smooth with a residual sweetness, creaminess from the honey, and an exhilarating nose of citrus from the orange
Perrin Grapefruit IPA
Perrin Grapefruit IPA was the first of its kind and has become a Michigan standard for a balanced and refreshing craft beer. Look for aromas of citrus and tropical fruits, a delicate grapefruit tartness and a sweet malty backbone ending in a clean finish.
Honey Orange Grilled Chicken
- ½ cup Orange juice
- ¼ cup Honey
- 1 (1oz pkg) Italian dressing mix
- 4 Boneless skinless chicken breasts
- Whisk together orange juice, honey and Italian dressing mix. Pour over chicken and refrigerate for an hour.
- Remove chicken from marinade and grill 12 to 15 minutes, until internal temperature reaches 165°F.