Our top recommendation for the pale ale is Gipsy Hill’s Beatnik. At 3.8% it’s super sessionable but it’s still packing a ton of favour, brim full as it is with US hops Citra, Ekuanot, Simcoe and Magnum. If you’re more of a lager drinker then we’d recommend reaching for Brick’s Peckham Pils. At 4.8%, it’s sessionable (by lager standards), but as a representation of the style, it’s one of the best being brewed (outside of the Czech Republic). If you want something lighter, give Small Beer’s lager a try – at under 3% it’s perfect for a long hot BBQ.
Ok, so you’re set for fridge fillers. Time to break the day into its different parts.
Part 1: Arrival
Looking to replicate that Prosecco fizz moment, there’s a couple of beers we’d highly recommend here. The first is Wild Beer Co.’s Ninkasi. This Belgian style saison has been brewed with bucket loads of tropical NZ hops, freshly harvested Somerset apple juice and has been fermented with a wild yeast. As if that isn’t enough, Ninkasi then undergoes a secondary fermentation with champagne yeast, giving it a brisk spritziness on the tongue. Light, refreshing and slightly tart, this tastes great served in a champagne flute and will definitely be more of a talking point that a boring old bottle of fizz. The other ‘opener’ is one of the Kernel’s Bière de Saisons. Not as widely available as the Ninkasi but if you can get your hands on, for example, the damson or sour cherry variant, we promise you will not be disappointed. The Bière de Saison is a blend of fresh and barrel aged beers which has then been aged for a few months with various fruits. It’s a bit tart, a bit funky, with a big fruit hit upfront! At less than 5% too, it’s a good starter for the day.
Part 2: The Main Course
That said, if you want to keep things a bit lighter, at least in terms of beer colour, then get your hands on a super bitter West Coast style IPA. Something like either Stone IPA or, from closer to home, Weird Beard Five O Clock Shadow. Both have the bitterness turned up to 11, which will be great amplifying any spice you might have on the food, but because they’re jam-packed with US hops there’s some lovely citrusy notes that will help cleanse and cut through the more fatty parts of the dish.
Part 3: Dessert
Given that most puddings are sweet, the first beer style we’d recommend going for is a fruit based sour such as a Boon Kriek or maybe even one of the Lindeman’s fruit range. This should complement nicely with that black forest gateau or Millionairre Shortbread someone kindly brought along.
If you’re looking for something that can contrast with some of the sweetness, why not grab yourself a bottle of Wild Beer’s Sleeping Lemons or a can of Magic Rock Salty Kiss, a gooseberry sour.
Part 4: The Sunsetter
If you’re a little bit overroasted however, reach for a barley wine and sip it slowly. Fuller’s Golden Pride is just the ticket for this, rich as it is and bursting with flavours of sweet orange oil and toasted grains.