Right now driving around Central PA the farm stands are all open and there is one piece of produce that is at peak: Strawberries.
Let us forget for a minute my last post about summer beer and their light and crisp flavor profile and instead focus on what pairs right with a fresh bowl of ripe red sweet and slightly tart strawberries. In my opinion these tend to be malty, heavier beers that contrast the natural flavors of the berries.
My fist pick is ¿Impending Descent? by Troegs. This gonzo Russian Imperial Stout gets released each November so I buy in bulk to enjoy it on occasion throughout the year and have been ageing a large number as a running vertical. If you have one tucked away, pairing it with some fresh local strawberries will work out perfectly. The copious amount of malts (six varieties) provide for various flavors of dark chocolate, vanilla, and coffee. The roasted malts work wonderfully with the sweet tart fruit. If this beer has been cellaring for a time the pine and resin hop notes will have muted and left a perfect pairing. If you can’t get a hand on ¿Impending Descent? I suggest picking up the always available Javahead Stout or racing out to the Hershey brewer right quick and picking up a growler of Scratch #192 a velvety smooth and decadent chocolate stout.
Palo Santo Marron by Dogfish Head Brewing will pair nicely. The caramel, vanilla, and wood flavors from this 12% ABV brown ale will marry wonderfully. The roasted notes along with molasses and a round mouth feel just work. This is a world class beer and would be right at home with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and some strawberries.
Samuel Smith Organic Strawberry Ale is a wonderfully crisp and tart fruit beer from the world famous English brewers. Smooth malts with a soft mouth feel and subtle strawberry finish will be intensified by local fresh berries. This beer is easy drinking at 5% ABV. I would pair this with a strawberry and baby spinach salad with a light poppy dressing for dinner.
After dinner consider opening a bottle of Southern Tier’s Crème Brulee Imperial Milk Stout. This beer is the pinnacle of Southern Tier’s very highly regarded Blackwater Series in my opinion. Remarkably this beer tastes exactly like its name sake. In fact, it is downright magical in likeness. Cream, vanilla, and burnt sugar come straight through with a long sweet lasting finish. This 9.6% ABV full bodied beer has an exceptional mouthfeel and would be a fine addition to a strawberry shortcake dessert.