Bank Holiday Beers & BBQ
One thing we love talking about at Siren is the perfect symbiosis of beer and food. We take beer seriously, obsessing over things such as perfect glassware, atmosphere and even the adjoining can art to make the beer a true experience. As the bank holiday weekend is ahead of us and we’re all hoping for a sunny one, we thought we’d delve into one of our favourite beer pairings, Barbecue.
Nothing beats sitting around in the sun with friends and/or family, cooking outside and enjoying a cold beer. The variety that BBQ offers is amazing, and the chance to create some incredible beer pairings is exciting.
So let’s firstly look at the role that food plays. The way a beer tastes to us can be affected by our environments, our genetics and certainly, what we’ve had, or are having to eat. Sometimes, a good beer pairing is just because it’s a nice experience - you can’t beat a cold can of Lumina Session IPA with a BBQ, for example, simply because it’s delicious!
But we want to go a bit deeper, find those pairings that work scientifically. We use certain hops and malts to target certain flavours and profiles in a beer. These aren't always part of the main flavour, but go towards the overall end product. Think, if you will, of a chef using celery in a Ragu. Enjoying the final sauce, you’re not going to notice the celery, but as an aromat it will help enhance flavours within the dish. Hops, malts and various adjuncts can work similarly in beer.
When those beers are combined with certain foods, often elements like sugars/sweetness or perceived bitterness can be enhanced.
Melissa Cole, award winning author and beer writer, recently gave us a suggestion for Calypso Sour Beer and Chilli Marinated Prawns, which we think sounds amazing and is a lovely twist on beer and BBQ.
Our Events Manager, Matt, is an avid BBQ chef and has recently been making ‘beer can chicken’ using Lumina Session IPA, another weird and wonderful use for beer! He also regularly smokes his own brisket using old, oak staves straight from our barrel store which, with the smoked Paprika rub, lends itself perfectly to either a fruity and punch Soundwave IPA, or even Imperial Stout - Origin Story.
Beer Can Chicken
So whilst Matt's been enjoying this, it's a technique that can divide the crowd. Some people have commented that it doesn't actually add much to the overall flavour. Maybe it's just the theatre of it that people enjoy.
However, there is something else to look out for. Some cans contain BPA, which stops metal from contaminating food. It's a controversial topic. If the can you're using contains BPA, then you might want to consider using another can!
However, rest assured, Siren cans are BPA-NI, which means they are fine for this purpose. We suggest to make sure to do your reading and make sure your can is safe. If you're unsure, find another method or buy a purpose built up-right chicken roaster.
Choose any good (Siren!) beer, depending on what flavours you want to impart to your chicken - I used Lumina! You can use the same rub as mentioned below for the brisket, it works really well, but any rub would work well depending on how you like your chicken - think popular chicken restaurant!
Open a can of lumina with a tin opener, pour out half of the beer to drink, leaving half in the can. Put the can in the chickens cavity (butt) with its legs down and stand it up on the grill. There are gadgets you can get to help you do this and make it easier. Cook at around 180C for around 1hr20 or until the juices run clear. Enjoy!
Recipe for Brisket rub (for a brisket size of 1.5kg)
5 Tbsp of soft brown sugar
5 Tbsp of smoked paprika
Mix all the dry ingredients to create a rub and then massage your rub into the meat. Once covered in rub, cover in cling film and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. An overnight rest will help those flavours penetrate further. Remove your meat from the fridge 1 hour before cooking to allow it to come up to room temperature.
Cook at 230-250F for 1hr per lb, until the meat is 205F.
As far as pairing goes, we don’t think you can look past pale ales and IPAs as a pairing with BBQ food. The smokeyness of the BBQ balances with the fruity hops, whilst the salty food helps to bring out additional more complex notes in the beer. Stouts help to bring out umami and earthy notes, combining well with rich meats and smoke. We currently have Broken Dream our flagship stout and Origin Story available.
Sour beers also work really well. If you’re not marinating your prawns in it, then the sharpness of a Calypso also works perfectly with salty meats. However, it’s also a perfect match for cheeses, so get some Halloumi on the grill!
In the meantime, head to the Siren Tap Yard to pick up your beers for the bank holiday weekend. There’s a full selection of cans available to purchase on site and growlers will be back in stock for keg beer at home!