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Barley + Rye: Six beers for 4th of July festivities
Brews for before, during, and after the fireworks
Nothing says Independence Day quite like grilling, beer, and taking it easy. Break out these brews with your backyard cookout, or head to the pub/brewery. Either way this short list will guide you through the weekend.
Three Taverns’ White Hops and Quasimodo
Just about everyone can get behind nicely executed white IPA (6.5 percent ABV), this one with refreshing notes of grapefruit and spice. Count on its bright, hoppy finish to cut the fattiness of all that barbecued meat. On the other end of the spectrum, I also like the delightful Belgian quad (it’s never too hot for a quad). This full-bodied classic may come in at 10 percent ABV, but it’s totally drinkable; enjoy its round, aromatic fruitiness and dry finish. Available at H& F Bottle Shop, Whole Foods Market, Kroger
Twain’s/Terrapin Azaccattack! Rye Session IPA
Chase Medlin (head brewer at Twain’s) collaborated with Terrapin co-founder Spike Buchowski to make this bright session brew. Rye malts and Azacca hops yield fruity, tropical notes with a subtle bitterness. At 5.6 percent ABV you can enjoy it all day, all night. Available at Twain’s, Ale Yeah! Decatur (keg will be on this weekend)
Wild Heaven’s White Blackbird
This Belgian-style saison (6 percent ABV) was delicious even when it was in-progress—I scored a taste straight off the tank just before the brewery’s grand opening last month. Now finished and pouring steadily, the combination of pink peppercorns with Chardonnay soaked Korean pears gives you a spicy way to close out the long weekend. Available at the brewery, open Saturday (2-5 p.m.) and Sunday (2-4 p.m.)
Orpheus’ Saison Calliope
As if there weren’t already plenty of great choices on Orpheus’ year-round line-up, the seasonal Calliope (6.4 percent ABV) is another exceptional offering from brewer Jason Pellett. Strong notes of fruit on the top will mellow while you drink. I like the slight sweet flavor and a bit of acidity that’ll goes nicely with any meat between two buns. Available at Orpheus tasting room, Midway Pub, Beer Growler Nation
Back Forty Beer’s Truck Stop Honey Brown Ale
The founders of this Gadsden, Alabama, brewery focus on local ingredients in their quest to create “liquid folk art.” Wildflower honey from neighboring beekeepers gives this brown ale (ABV 6 percent) a smooth balance without being too sweet, a perfect pairing for barbecued chicken or even a chocolaty dessert. Available at Green’s Beverages, Mac’s Beer & Wine, Hop City; assorted bars