The week of the Fourth of July always carries a lot of fanfare (and rightly so), but after the final fireworks explode in the night sky there’s still a whole lot of summer left. In July, the “dog days” kick in, and we’re big fans of the dog days. These are the long, hot lazy days when the season finally starts to slow down a little. There are fewer holidays and more camping trips. Fewer parties and more cookouts. Fewer raging club nights and more bike and brewery days.
That is… until August, when we decide to turn the partying up to 11 again, in fear of the coming season change.
One of our favorite “dog days of summer”-staples is fried chicken. Those crispy, greasy, juicy, sometimes spicy morsels pulled straight from the frier. But this delectable — almost perfect — dish does tend to dry a person out. You’re going to have to wash down all that tasty chicken somehow, right? That’s why we asked some of our favorite brewers to share their favorite beers to pair with fried chicken.
Summit Extra Pale Ale
Christian Holbrook, production brewmaster at New Belgium Brewing
Summit Brewing Extra Pale Ale. I basically went to college on this beer, and it’s well deserving of this classic pairing. Fried chicken and pale ales are always a winning combination.
Miller High Life
Cheese Gelgand, Brewer at Blue Point Brewing Company
My go-to beer to pair with fried chicken? It has to be Miller High Life. And you know why? It’s the champagne of beer. Fried Chicken and champagne. That can’t be beaten.
Andy Ingram, brewmaster and co-founder at Four Peaks Brewing Company
Ice cold Bud Heavy! There’s just something uniquely American about that combo. And I like my fried chicken pretty spicy, so ice cold Bud makes a great fire extinguisher.
Sierra Nevada Pale Ale
Eric Warner, brewmaster at Karbach Brewing Company
The best beer to pair with fried chicken would probably be a pale ale or German-Style hefeweizen. They go well with fried foods in general and won’t overpower the chicken but have enough flavor to complement it. I’ll go with a classic Sierra Nevada Pale Ale.
Rhett Dougherty, head brewer at Veza Sur Brewing Co.
pFriem Family Brewers Pilsner is a wonderful accompaniment to some delicious fried chicken. I really enjoy how the light malty flavor washes the chicken down and the crisp hop bitterness leaves you with a nice herbal and floral aftertaste.
Hopewell Off Black
Cameron Compton, brewmaster at Midwest Coast Brewing
I’m not sure why, but I feel like a good lager should go with fried chicken. Hopewell’s “Off Black” is about my favorite beer right now… it’s a dark lager that’s still crisp with some toastiness from the darker malts.
I haven’t tested my theory yet, but I think it might complement the flavors of fried chicken nicely.
Brad Manske, beverage director at ViewHouse VH Beer
Ayinger Jahrhundert Bier pairs amazingly with fried chicken. It has a spicy hop blend and light body with a sweet malt.
Eel River California Blonde Ale
Scott Francis, co-founder of Santa Monica Brew Works
That’s a tough one because a local restaurant pairs it’s Smokey Fried Chicken sandwich with a beer float with vanilla ice cream topped on our PCH Golden Milk Porter. Which is spectacular.
As a great alternative, I’ll take a fried chicken sandwich from local favorite Love Bird Chicken truck paired with an organic Eel River California Blonde Ale. That beer cleanses the palate while its subtle sweetness cools the sting of the spicy chicken seasonings.
Bell’s Amber Ale
Shawn Steele, director of brewing operations at Coronado Brewing Company
I’m a midwesterner at heart, so I’d have to go with Bell’s Amber Ale. It’s a tried and true classic, and the toasted/caramel notes in the beer complement the fried chicken coating, while the herbal and citrus hop notes help cut through the richness of the dish.