Whenever you’re sitting down for a delicious Gulf seafood dinner, you’ve already made one good decision. Now you have to figure out what kind of beverage to pair it with.
For those who like to imbibe on occasion, you could always pair your meal with a glass of wine or your favorite cocktail. But nothing hits the spot quite like an ice-cold craft beer—especially if it’s from one of Alabama’s local breweries.
“Craft beer in general lends itself to food pairings as much or more than wine does,” said Jason Wilson, Founder of Back Forty Beer Company, who beganpromoting the Alabama Gulf Seafood brand on their bottles back in 2013. “There are so many styles of beer, you can pair craft beer with seafood every day of the week. We just happen to make delicious beer that pairs well with the food Alabama Gulf Seafood provides.”
That’s the thing about our local breweries here in Alabama. Not only are these fine folks committed to making a great product, they love lifting up their neighbors whenever possible. (We make our living on the coastal waters, and it’s true what they say about rising tides lifting all ships, you know.)
“The southern food experience is unlike any other,” said Stefano Daneri, Sales Manager for Good People Brewing Company & Avondale Brewing Company. “We are really lucky to be in a brand that people look to when wanting to get a taste of what Alabama craft beer is all about, and having the chance to partner and collaborate with so many world-class chefs who call the South their home is a dream come true.”
Pairing craft beer with Alabama Gulf Seafood is about more than just local pride, though—it’s about taste.
Next time you’re at a beer-friendly seafood restaurant, or you’re looking to add some extra flavor to a home-cooked meal of Alabama Gulf Seafood, here are some pairing suggestions from Missy Roll, Brand Manager for Good People Brewing Co. & Avondale Brewing Co., and Brad Wilson, Sales & Marketing for Back Forty Beer Co.
Back Forty: “With a light, flaky fish, I would recommend our Cart Barn Light Cream Ale. It’s light in color, flavor, and in alcohol. What that means is it will not overpower the flavor of fish, which is easy to do with seafood.”
Good People: “For a classic fish & chips, my go-to would have to be Avondale Mosey Lager. This Amber Lager is extremely light with no hoppiness. Malty and clean, it’ll help cut through any oiliness and keep you quenched. If we’re working with something blackened or grilled, I’m leaning towards Good People Pale Ale. It’ll bring just the right amount of citrus and bitterness to the meal and help support a light, savory experience.”
Back Forty: “Gulf shrimp is a versatile food that needs a versatile beer to pair with. Whether we’re looking at cooling off the tongue after a bite of fiery boom boom fried shrimp or complementing that rich, creamy texture you get from Gulf shrimp sautéed in butter and garlic, we’d recommend our classic Southern IPA Freckle Belly. Freckle Belly is packed full of Citra hops. Citra is a very appropriately named hop, infusing Freckle Belly IPA with big, bold Grapefruit notes that will really bring out that salty sweetness in any Gulf shrimp dish.”
Good People: “We’re shrimp and beverage pairing professionals in our house. If we’re going with a classic and clean shrimp cocktail, my vote would be Avondale Spring Street Saison. This beer is not only going to bring in a champagne-like bubble, it’s also packed with big citrus flavors and dried spices. It’ll elevate the subtle sweetness of any shrimp. For something marinated and grilled, I’d go with Good People IPA. Our IPA will introduce a sense of acid with its big grapefruit notes but also compliment any char or smoke with its earthy pine qualities.”
Back Forty: “We recently experienced that mysterious phenomenon known as a jubilee! We were staying in Point Clear when those sweet Blue Crabs came crawling out of Mobile Bay, like a gift from the healing water itself. And the fine folks at The Grand Hotel had plenty of Truck Stop Honey Brown Ale on hand. The roasted biscuit notes from the Munich malt make the perfect secret ingredient in beer battered and fried Blue Crabs. The foaming agents and CO2 ensure your batter will come out light and crisp. The earthy aroma and hint of natural wildflowers in the local honey add the perfect complement to one of our favorite Southern dishes.”
Good People: “With crab’s subtle sweet and briny salt notes, I’d have to reach for Avondale’s Sour Pash. This passion fruit beer is tart and refreshing and will play well with all the savory flavors of a crab boil. For something like a crab cake, I’m bringing out the big guns with Good People Snake Handler. This double IPA packs orange and grapefruit notes with a bitter and malty earthiness. These flavors will cut through any oiliness and support the subtle sweet notes from the crab.”
Back Forty: “You would think that oysters would be tough to pair, but in fact it’s an easy one. Citrus/champagne and oysters go together very well. Salty notes from the oysters and the sweet and bright citrus notes from drinks like mimosas are a perfect match. In this case, I would recommend our Bama Mosa Brut Style Ale w/ Valencia Orange Juice. It’s a unique beer ‘mimosa’ that will really compliment the oysters.”
Good People: “Oysters probably remind you of your last beach vacation, so with that in mind, I’ve got to pair them with Avondale’s Vacation IPA, A-OK. The tropical notes of mango and pineapple are a perfect splash to a more briny oyster. And for someone who enjoys all the different flavors a dozen oysters will feature, I’d suggest the Good People’s Muchacho Mexican Lager. This super light, clean, and quenching beer brings no bitter, hoppy, malty notes to interfere with a medley of oysters, and it’s a great palate cleanser to help you capture all the flavors of your meal.”
Nothing goes better with fresh Alabama Gulf Seafood than a good beer—except for the right beer. So crack open a cold one, whether it comes in bottles, cans, or a hard shell, and please remember to drink responsibly.