Bringing eats and libations to a picnic or cookout often requires some planning — unless you’re asked to bring a few bags of chips.
You’ll want to consider what others are bringing (Hint: Don’t assume. Check with organizers.), how many people are expected and whether a dish needs to be kept safely chilled.
Make sure a few classics will be on the table (mom’s baked beans? Your niece’s famous potato salad?), then change things up a bit.
We have a few suggestions, including a trio of easy-to-prepare, easy-to-tote flavorful foods that make good use of the season’s best. And we’ve paired them with an assortment of beers to complete the meal.
German pilsner: Crisp and dry with more bite than conventional American-style pilsners, German-style pilsners are ideal picnic beers for their clean, refreshing nature. But they also pair brilliantly with many foods, especially the light meatiness of baked herb chicken.
Two to try: Prima Pils from Victory Brewing, which may be the finest pilsner in American craft brewing, and the dependable Trumer Pils.
Saison: Widely considered the ultimate beer style in food pairing for its unique ability to be complexly zesty without being flashy. Rather than simply refresh like a German pilsner, a saison will add another layer of flavor to your meal.
Two to try: Saison Dupont, a longtime genre classic that cuts masterfully through the creaminess of the peas-and-farro salad, and the lightly tart Sofie, from Goose Island, which refreshes and elevates any meal
Fruit lambic: And for dessert, the cherry notes of Lindemans Kriek beautifully mimic the dessert’s sweet-tart dynamic while also cutting through and balancing the flaky, buttery crust.