Fishing For A Good Time

Party-Gyle by | Aug 2011 | Issue #55

Three Party Ideas For Seafood and Beer

I hear this question a lot: “What kind of beer goes best with fish?” But this time of year, when the water’s warm enough to splash around in and the sunsets are spectacular from a pier, I’m more inclined to wonder, “What kind of beer goes best with a fishing trip?”

My first forays into fishing sadly didn’t involve beer—they were more about tackling crabs in wire-basket traps on the Delaware shore. I was a toothless runt vacationing with my family and friends; these trips involved huge stockpots brimming with bubbling water that smelled of the sea, and gradually, of the sweet, reddening flesh of blue crabs in their shells. Once my baby teeth had been replaced with adult ones, I got to take a bite out of fishing in all sorts of ways. And, eventually, I was introduced to that indispensable bait and tackle-box buddy—the cooler of beers. What would goin’ fishing be without it? In my experience, it was no big deal if you didn’t catch any fish for an entire day, but there was all hell if you ran out of beer.

It might not seem like there’s much finesse to it—casting lines, knocking back beers—but once you pack it in for the day, there’s nothing like a well-planned summer party to celebrate your day’s catch.

Have a designated fish scaler and cleaner. Someone who’s not only experienced but enjoys rising to this task. There’s nothing like having a crap-ton of spots and bluegills that are still flapping once nighttime hits, and you’re wiped out and ready to eat.

Keep beer cool in a pool. No koozies? No matter—as long as cold water is near, you can create a little pool in an extra bucket or dugout to sink your cans or bottles in. Just make sure the water’s not too warm, as direct-contact temperature will have a more abrupt effect depending on the conductivity of your beer’s container.

Hydrate. Even if you’re barely moving a muscle, being out in the sun for long hours will drain your H2O—and so will beer. So bring a cooler of both!

Party Ideas and Pairing Suggestions

The Beer-Battered Fish & Chips Fry / London pub ales
Break out the old-newspaper stash to serve the Brit specialty in true style—and while you’re at it, line every surface of your kitchen with it, too. Make crispy, batter-dipped fish fillets and thick fries, with malt vinegar sprinkled on. Use any beer batter recipe to produce the joyful morsels for your guests, and fill pub glasses with Porters, Ryes and other English-style ales.
Samuel Smith’s Taddy Porter
Caledonian Brewery John Courage Amber
New Glarus Fat Squirrel Brown Ale

The Incredible Shellfish Paella Party / Citrusy wheat beers
If clam-digging’s your thing, there’s no better place to let their shells open than on a bed of seasoned rice and sausage. Paella’s not hard to make: Pick out any recipe that floats your boat, or improvise—it’s peasant food to begin with, anyway. (And that remaining flat beer that’s been baking in the sun can be tossed into the rice-cooking stock, too.) Spain is known more for incredible citrus fruits, like tangerines, than its beer; so for a Spanish theme, try pairing the seafood entrée with a Witbier brewed with orange peel or lemon zest, for a classic dash of citrus.
Dogfish Head Namaste
Barons Lemon Myrtle Witbier
Lost Coast Brewery Tangerine Wheat

Grillin’ Fish on a Stick, Munich Style / Oktoberfest lagers
Fire up the barby for your biggest catch of the day, grilled whole until the skin crackles like seaweed, and finished with lemon juice and specks of coarse salt. It’s about as simple as fish-cooking gets, and a common snack at Oktoberfest. Skewer smaller fish whole, in true “schtecklefish” fashion, and for easy turning on the grill like a shishkabob. Keep with the spirit by pouring a variety of Oktoberfest lagers. And since the grill’s hot, add a few brats for the less fish-inclined of your party guests.
Berkshire Oktoberfest Lager
Half Pints Oktoberfest Lager
Schonramer Festbier
Weihenstephaner Oktoberfest