Pairing BBQ And Craft Beer For A Meal To Remember!

barbecue-party

Americans have a love of barbecue that is legendary. Whether it’s brats or burgers, Memphis style ribs, or pork shoulder mopped with traditional Eastern North Carolina vinegar sauce, there’s a cooking style to meet every taste.

Like barbecue, craft beers aren’t pigeon-holed into any one style or location. Craft beers pair with a variety of foods from grilled meats to desserts. Choosing the right beer for barbecue is an art. Eating delicious barbecue while sipping the perfect beer can make any meal memorable.

Let’s look at four outstanding craft beer and barbecue pairings that can take your next barbecue to a new level of deliciousness!

1.    Memphis BBQ paired with Santa Monica Brewery Surf Ninja Imperial Stout

Memphis barbecue is big on pork and piles on the dry rub which is typically sweet with just a little heat. “Memphis-style” sauces are usually thin, tomato-based, tangy and sweet

American stouts such as Santa Monica Brewery’s Surf Ninja Imperial Stout are the perfect beer for Memphis-style barbecue. They offer a malt-laden flavor that can clear the sugary tang and pair beautifully with the smokiness.

2.    Kansas City BBQ and Garage Project Ayinger Dunkle Weisse

Kansas City barbecue is cooked low and slow over hickory. The sauce is famous for “sticking to the ribs of both animal and man.” Tomato-based with brown sugar or molasses, Kansas City sauce is a complex layering of sweet and sometimes spicy flavor.

The beer for Kansas City-style barbecue is a strong roasted malt brew like Garage Project Ayinger Dunkle Weisse. It offers a nice balance between malt sweetness, complementing the molasses, and hop character which emphasizes the spice.

3.    Eastern NC Style BBQ and Waddell’s Scottish Ale

Famous for slow pit cooked whole hogs that spend a day over the coals, Eastern North Carolina barbecue uses a vinegar based sauce that lathers the hog, from first heat until it’s finished. This all day low-and-slow basting gives the meat a deep rich tanginess with layer after layer of earthy spice.

Scottish ales like Wadell’s are the perfect beer for barbecue cooked with a vinegar based mop sauce. It works great with slow-cooked proteins and offers a malty sweetness that pairs well with the sour tang of a vinegar-based sauce.

4.    The “Great American Burger” and New Holland Brewing Dragon’s Milk

Who doesn’t love a burger? It’s a grilling staple! A properly dressed burger gives you four of the five basic tastes: salt (cheese) sour (pickles) sweet (ketchup) and umami (meat). The taste that’s missing is bitterness and that’s where the beer comes in!

New Holland’s Dragon’s Milk is a dark stout that features a roasty malt bitterness that mingles with deep vanilla tones. Because it’s fermented in bourbon barrels, it also has a delicious oaky taste that compliments any burger.

As a basic rule, contracting flavors work exceptionally well to enhance each other. Much like wine, darker, more robust beers like stouts, porters and IPAs work well with grilled meats. Seafood or chicken often pairs well with light and crisp flavors like wheat or fruit beers.

No matter what grilled goody is your favorite, you can’t go wrong pairing it with a delicious craft beer!

 

 


Craft Beer Ingredients by Season

seasonal craft beer by Columbia Distributing

 

In the past few years, the rise of craft beer has been startling — in fact, the total number of breweries in the States rose by almost 20% from 2013 to 2014; signaling the growing popularity of the many types of flavor profiles. The market has been trying to meet the demand, and so marketing your craft brew has been easier if you do it by season.

What Does the Season Matter?

The reasoning is actually somewhat similar to the wines you should drink with different kinds of meat and chocolate; some tastes simply complement others better. As examples, it is generally acknowledged that you want to save your darker, more involved beers for the cold wintertime crowd, and your lighter beers for the spring and summer. Incorporating this into your plan will have a distinct difference in results when marketing your craft brew.

Summertime Examples

If you’ve been in business for an length of time, then you’ve probably already got a solid plan in place for marketing your craft brew; something that incorporates search marketing in your local region and even paid advertisements. The next step is to tailor the flavors such that the seasonal ones dominate. In spring and leading into the summer, you should opt for fruit beers because of the lightness they confer to the cocktail. A cool shandy — lemonade and beer mix — goes a long way on a warm summer day.

Wheat, classic pilsner and pale and hoppy beers also work for summer evenings. You’ll appreciate the citrus flavor and fleeting spiciness at a summer barbecue, for example. Make the correct measurements for the additives, though, because you do not want a heavy brew this season.

Fall Brews

The gathering clouds and markedly cooler days make way for pumpkin, maple and amber brews. Autumn is the perfect time for nutmeg, cinnamon and allspice cocktails to liven up the spirits (pun intended). The lightness of summer is gone, and American renditions of the great German beer festival known as Oktoberfest crop up in towns everywhere. Consider adding appropriately colored banners when marketing your craft brew in the online space — they will attract more attention because of the season.

Winter Brews

The season of the heavy beer, as it were. Winter is the right time to brew those thick Imperials and Stouts and Porters that were much too heavy as summertime fare. These beers are like the Old Norse meads from the time of Thor and the Asgardians — they WILL leave you full and warm — and drunk, if you have as many glasses of this as you did of the classic Pilsners last summer.

An American favorite is eggnog-inspired spirits, which are more of a dessert beer. Lastly, Winter is also a great time for bourbon and chocolate/coffee mixtures to your liquor. Market these variously-flavored brews at the right time and you should see your bottom line go up.


Five Great Craft Brews with Outstanding Flavor – Columbia Distributing

Glasses of beer and ale barrel on the wooden table. Craft brewery.

Over the past decade or so, there has been a surge in the numbers of craft beer created by smaller independent breweries. Located in almost every corner of the United States, they have created a veritable paradise of beer flavors for the discerning connoisseur. While we hesitate at Columbia Distributing to name any one particular brand as the very best, we do recognize true quality when we see – and taste – it. Here are five of our favorites:

  • Coffee Cinnamon B-Bomb – This strong ale was rated both the “Best Beer” in Washington state and the “Best Beer in the World in 2015. For an extra kick of flavor, the brew masters at the family-owned and -operated Fremont Brewery age this ale in whiskey barrels for up to 2 years. Try it with venison, lamb, duck or any food with a pronounced flavor.
  • North Coast Stellar IPA – It is rare to find a pale ale that really distinguishes itself from its peers but North Coast has a created a masterpiece with their Stellar IPA. It is not only mild on the bitterness scale – rated as a 59 IBUs – but also includes more than a hint of the pine flavors reminiscent of its roots amidst the forests of Northern California. We love it with seafood.
  • Lost Dune Summer Ale – The creator of this summer ale, the New Holland Brewing, has been “pouring its heart out” for over a century. This particular brew combines a variety of citrus notes overladen with a strong taste of coriander. It pairs well with tangier foods such as jalapeno jack cheese or Peking Duck.
  • Easy Day Kolsch Inspired by traditional German ales, this light but crisp brew is perfect on a hot summer day. It melds a toasty malt background with a spicy hop finish. There is a hint of orange that makes this beer perfect for mild dishes such as Chicken Paillard or mildly seasoned prime rib.
  • Rolling Thunder Imperial Stout – This thick and creamy stout from the Rogue Brewery has it all – a roasted malt background accentuated with a strong dose of hops as well as sweet overtones of vanilla, coconut and cherry. This beer pairs well with anything off the grill including smoked sausage or pulled pork.
  • BONUS !!! – Woodchuck Hard Cider – We know this is not technically a beer but it still is a great all-around great adult beverage. With a medium body and a fresh apple-infused finish, this cider is perfect when paired any strong cheese or chocolate-flavored dessert.

These five beers are just a small sampling of what is available our Portland, OR and Kent, WA distribution hubs. We stock over a thousand brands of domestic and imported beers. For more information on these particular brands and on dozens of other flavored craft brews, please contact us at Columbia Distributing. We can be found online at ColDist.com or reached directly at 800.949.5997.


3 Tips For Engaging Marketing For Your Craft Brewery

Craft Brewery Marketing Image

Upon entering an already crowded field, craft brewers often find themselves surrounded by brick walls when it comes time to market their brand. In order to climb out of the box and into the spotlight, your own cidery or distillery must be able to sell a compelling narrative, advertise efficiently and create effective marketing campaigns while scraping out a niche in the teeming marketplace. As overwhelming as it may seem, improving your marketing presence can be done in just a few simple steps. Consider the following tips to enhance your promotional efforts.

#1: Craft a Convincing Narrative Through Authenticity

According to the brewersassociation.org, there are over 5,300 breweries operating in the United States as of 2016. With a 16.6% increase in U.S. breweries from 2015 to 2016, your own craft brewery may be faced with the question: how do we stand out as the field expands and becomes increasingly competitive?

Authenticity is the key to promoting your business. Because the American craft brewery prides itself on three principles – limited production, independence and tradition – creating a narrative based on what makes your cidery or distillery unique will help give your brewery personality. And if what makes your craft brewery distinct is its ties to the local community, be sure to capitalize on sponsorships, donations and volunteerism to build equity and further enhance your brand’s story.

#2: Use Thoughtful Marketing To Get Your Brand Out There

At the end of the day, you want people to feel at home with your marketing presence – like they can sit down and drink a pint with you. Sounding like a corporate drone and using unfit advertising strategies, like television commercials and direct mail, will only make your craft brewery seem out of touch with consumers.

Traditional marketing techniques, such as placing ads in local newspapers and magazines, are a great way to weave your brewery into the fabric of the surrounding community. However, in the digital age, outreach opportunities will mostly present themselves in the form of social media. Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are all great platforms to communicate directly with your fans. Capture fun, candid moments on Snapchat or make food pairing videos on YouTube featuring your brews to leave a genuine impression on your audience.

#3: Create An Effective Marketing Campaign

In addition to staying up-to-date on your social media platforms, it’s crucial to develop a marketing campaign. Whether through a link on Twitter or a weekly newsletter, driving people to your website is essential. Once they arrive, your site has to be easy to navigate, simple and polished to increase conversion. When looking to send out e-mails, pick a time and stick with it. Maybe consider publishing a newsletter right before the weekend or during the midweek slump. Just remember: be authentic, consistent and social, and people will follow.


Wheat’s The Deal? – A Rundown Of Wheat Beers

Light wheat beer and a bunch of wheat

You’ve just left your nine-to-five. Before heading home for the day, you decide to hit up your favorite watering hole. As you peruse the menu during happy hour, you notice the classification under your preferred brew reads, “Wheat Beer,” but what exactly does that label mean?

Cracking The Code: Wheat Beer Defined

Wheat beer, otherwise known as a weizenbier, is a brew that’s derived of at least 50% malted wheat. From American pale wheat to Hefeweizen to Berliner Weisse, wheat beer is highly effervescent with a light, refreshing flavor that’s perfect for spring get-togethers and summer barbecues. Many wheat beers also feature fruity notes, such as vanilla, clove and classic banana flavors. Because of the traditional yeast strains, this type of beer retains a remarkable head, creating an enjoyable, distinctive drinking experience.

Explore Your Palate

If you’re new to the world of craft beer, odds are you don’t know all that much about the different types of wheat beer. Whether you enjoy a fruity, refreshing brew paired with a rich dessert or prefer a dark, heavy beer made for sipping, the spectrum of wheat beer offers various flavors, carbonation levels and acidities to suit your palate. Here are some common types of wheat beer:

Lambic – The beer born wild. Top-fermented by multiple wild yeast strains in a process known as spontaneous fermentation, Lambic features unusual, unique flavors and is often brewed with fruits, such as raspberries, apricots and grapes, toning down the tartness.

Berliner Weisse – The refreshingly tart beer. With a sour, acidic taste and almost no hop bitterness, Berliner Weisse is pale in color and low in alcohol content, making for a smooth, light drinking experience.

Hefeweizen – The original wheat beer. Hefeweizen is unfiltered and contains a small amount of hops, high carbonation and a signature banana flavor.

Dunkelweizen – The darker version of Hefeweizen. Delectably creamy with notes of vanilla, banana, clove, bubblegum and/or nutmeg, Dunkelweizen is brewed with caramelized or roasted malts, contributing to its dark, sometimes chocolaty nature.

Bockbier – The beer made for sipping. Because of its high alcohol content of 6% or more, Bockbier has a distinct, rich malt flavor that balances sweetness with nut-like notes.

Weizenbock – The middle ground between Bockbier and Hefeweizen. Generally made with bold fruit and complex malt flavors, Weizenbock tends to taste spicy due to its high ABV. It’s creamy and refreshing – but comes with a kick.

Thirsting for more? Contact Columbia Distributing to learn more about the domestic and imported beers, craft beers and other alcoholic beverages we distribute.


Education Spotlight: The Jack Joyce Scholarship Program

The pursuit of perfection in the fermentation of beer is more than just a noble endeavor; it is the lifetime passion of career fermentation scientists and craft brewers. The Jack Joyce Scholarship honors the founder of Rogue Brewery, now Rogue Ales & Spirits, who embodied this professional devotion to craft beer.

The History

Jack Joyce’s vision and creativity led the pioneer American microbrewery, Rogue Brewery, from humble Portland, OR beginnings to international distribution and industry leadership. American craft breweries today owe much to Jack Joyce, who also actively supported the Portland community as Rogue’s CEO from its founding in 1988 until his death in 2014. Jack Joyce’s dedication to clean, sustainable agri-fermentation is the standard that Rogue Ales & Spirits bears today in his honor. By growing its own supplies since 2008, Rogue Ales & Spirits has worked to conserve the land used by craft breweries in Oregon when they grow their hops, barley, rye, and wheat. Rogue Ales also locally cultivates other delectables for brewing purposes such as honey, jalapeños, and pumpkins.

In 2014, Rogue Ales & Spirits collaborated with Columbia Distributing, a leading national distributor of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages also based in Portland, to launch the Jack Joyce Scholarship Program. The scholarship pays homage to the legacy of Jack Joyce and invokes the model for excellence that Rogue helped set forth for subsequent generations of craft breweries and fermentation scientists.

The Success

Through its awards, the Jack Joyce Scholarship aims to encourage the study and mastery of the art of brewing and to support scientific and professional excellence in the industry. Five awards, totaling $70,000, were conferred in 2016. To date, the three-year-old program has awarded $185,000 in scholarship funds to budding fermentation scientists at Oregon State University—one of the nation’s top brewing programs. This year, the number of awards increased thanks to donations from new partner donors, including the Beer Institute, Crux Fermentation Project, Coleman Agriculture, National Beer Wholesalers Association, Great Western Malting Co., Fremont Brewing Company, Gilgamesh Brewing, Indie Hops, plus other craft breweries and industry leaders.

Apply Today!

All aspiring fermentation science majors at OSU are eligible to apply for annual scholarship awards, some as high as $20,000. To learn more about the program or to apply, please visit our Jack Joyce scholarship page or email JackJoyceScholarship@coldist.com.


6 Scrumptious Pizza and Beer Pairings

Nothing goes better with a slice of pizza than a cold beer. Before making the usual purchase from the local beer distributor, discover the ideal brew to pair with pepperoni and other favorite toppings.

Pepperoni Pizza

Margarita and Pale Ale

Those who like to keep it simple with sweet tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, and savory basil should opt to wash their pizza down with a pale ale like Sierra Nevada. The light taste will balance the acidity and brightness of the sauce without overshadowing the delicate flavor of the cheese.

Pepperoni and Black IPA

Since pepperoni is a spicier meat, it needs a strong beer to stand up to the taste. The dark, bitter roast of an IPA pairs perfectly, cleansing the palate for the big flavors of the slice without overwhelming the senses.

Hawaiian Pizza and Fruity Ale

While this pineapple and ham-topped pie might be a more exotic choice, this pairing can make it anyone’s favorite. Choosing a beer or cider with a fruity flavor, such as Redd’s Apple Ale, contrasts the salty meat while providing a harmonious note with the sweet, juicy fruit profiles.

Mushroom Pizza and Earthy Ale

Pair this pizza with an earthy, hoppy beer. English ales are an excellent choice since their earthiness is tinged with a sweetness that helps brighten up the mushroom flavor. Similarly, the rich sweetness of a milk or chocolate stout is another good pairing choice to grab from the beer distributor, as it is both bold and delicate like the mushrooms themselves.

Meat Lovers and Scotch Ale

An indulgent pizza deserves an indulgent beer. The caramel in this powerful beer plays well with the natural sweetness of smoked meats like sausage. Meanwhile, the herbal flavors from the pizza bring out the peaty notes in the beer, offering a nice balance.

Classic Cheese and Wheat Beer

Some may think that any beer matches well with the classic cheese pizza. However, a wheat beer like Blue Moon is light enough to not overshadow the flavors of the pizza, allowing this favorite meal to shine.

Stock the fridge with one of these selections from a local beer distributor next time Friday night rolls around. These pairings are ideal for a date or a night out with friends.

 

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Launch Your Craft Brewery With These 4 Tips

Interior Photo Of A Craft Brewery - Columbia DistributingCraft breweries continue to open at a rapid pace, and for a good reason. They hit on a number of modern trends in the industry such as local ingredients, unique drink and food options, and great service. Explore these spot-on tips for how to get a craft brewery running with a successful start.

1) Hit the Ground Running

Craft breweries have exploded in popularity, which is good for the customer but creates a crowded field for owners. This means that there is little time for a transitional period. It’s important to determine what beers will be sold, what foods will be available, and to hire the qualified staff needed to get things running right away. Consider a soft opening for friends and family before the doors become open to the public to ensure everything is in place.

2) Personalize Appearances

Many customers choose to go to craft breweries primarily because of the local, inviting atmosphere. This environment includes the building type, the seating area, and even the outfits of the waiters or bartenders. A small stone pub can get away with muted lighting and crowded pool tables, while a brewery on the outskirts of town next to a natural setting should capitalize on the natural light and offer amenities like open patios. Make sure that the bar’s appearance fits with its location, and highlights what the spot has to offer that makes it unique.

3) An Educated Staff

It’s important to know that some customers will be craft beer experts, while others will have very little knowledge about the field. The staff needs to be able to walk all customer types through their decision and help them find a beer within their taste range. In some cases, experts may want the exact details on each beer, and the staff has to be prepared to give a comprehensive and articulate description of the selection. This also applies to food pairings, describing the brewing process, and making it an outstanding experience with a connection to the community.

4) Market Smart

The market only has so much room for craft breweries. Each new one has to find a niche in the market and balance it with the current demand in their city. They then have to be able to pivot in the marketplace by bringing in new specials to keep the market growing and to build a loyal customer base. It’s important to play into what your clientele likes. Distribution patterns need to be established right away and details as small as beer names need to be unique and make a splash.

With our broad range of brands and beverage types, Columbia Distributing has been helping businesses succeed for years. Contact us today to find out how we can help your local businesses thrive.


Keep Your Line Long At the Next Beer Fest

Photo Of Beer Being Served At A Beer Festival  -Columbia DistributingBoth craft beer distributors and beer festivals are on the rise as the appreciation of good beer spreads. However, it’s easy to get lost in the shuffle of these large-scale events. Here are tried-and-true steps to stand out and attract customers.

Don’t Use Tickets

Tickets can slow down festival operations and frustrate customers. Tickets frequently get lost and restrict how much people are willing to try, which may prevent guests from spending their precious tickets on a particular beer or trying a more adventurous flavor. Selecting festivals that follow a one-time fee to enter creates a more positive and relaxed fest vibe for both staff and festival attendees.

Sample a Big Variety

Particularly for breweries expanding to a new region, festival customers may be trying out a brand for the first time and need a lot of guidance for their sample. Others will be stopping by to grab a taste of an old favorite, or to taste the newest product from a company they respect. In any situation, craft beer distributors need to aggressively advertise their selection and share unique talking points to stand out in the crowd.

Bring Engaging Staff

Craft beer distributors should send their highest-quality, tenured staff to represent them at a festival. Customers will want to know the history of the company, ingredients in the beer, and suggestions based on a wide variety of tastes. A confident and well-trained employee can also keep people entertained in long lines and encourage social media interactions to make a lasting impression.

Provide Water & Goodies

Water is a must to stay hydrated throughout the day, and every customer will be forever grateful to the vendors that provide it. It also cleans out their glass between samples and stops residue from building up. Other freebies like stickers and buttons will help make a brewery’s brand stand out among the other booths.

There’s no shortage of popular beer festivals happening, especially across the West Coast. With these tips in mind, strategic breweries can gain exposure in new markets and ensure a happy crowd at the next fest.

Photo Credit: Hans Splinter


Six Drinks to Ring in the New Year

Photo Of New Year's Eve Drinks - Columbia DistributingA glass of champagne is tradition, but everyone needs something to sip on leading up to that special moment. Get the party started with these drinks from a local beverage distributor that are sure to be the next party favorite when the ball drops.

2 Towns Cider Ginja Ninja

This is a great option for starting off the night with a crisp, easy-to-drink cider. The strong ginger flavor compliments the apple undertones and leaves the palate feeling refreshed. Plus, 2 Towns sources all of their apples from the Northwest for a truly local flavor.

Fremont Brewing Barrel Aged Abominable Winter Ale

This barrel-aged winter ale is nice for those scotch drinkers who want a beer to sip on. The spicy aroma is undercut by a roasted chocolate flavor along with notes of vanilla and caramel. This is a good drink to savor, although the high alcohol content will still produce a buzz.

Pike Brewing Company Octopus Ink Black IPA

A celebration of citrus and pine hops with a dark roasted malt character, this brew packs a complex flavor combination. A little bit sweet, a little bit bitter, it’s the perfect beer to sit back and reflect on the year before the ball drops and confetti flies.

Unibroue La Fin de Monde

No better way to ring in the new year than with a beer that translates to “the end of the world” in French. On a less dark note, this beer will pair perfectly with that post-midnight snack later in the night. It’s a medium body beer with a refreshing hint of orange. This beer keeps a cult following, so order it early from the local beverage distributor before the year ends.

Backwoods Brewing Company Pecan Pie Porter

Finish the night off with a sweet treat from this festive porter. Notes of caramel and chocolate are balanced with a light roasted pecan finish. A truly seasonal brew that’s perfect for a toast to “Auld Lang Syne.”

Be sure to load up on a wide variety of beverages before the holidays, as these are sure to go fast. If hosting a party, be sure to reach out to a local beverage distributor to get the order in!