Bored with Crappy Light Beer? Add a Pickle
It's a Midwest thing, y'all.
BY Nate Erickson | Jul 10, 2017 | Food & Drink
Summer is long, it's literally hotter than ever, and we could all use a cold drink. While we love our ciders, IPAs, and stouts, it's a fact that on a scorching July day, nothing beats a good, shitty lager. (And we mean that in the best way possible.) It's light, it's refreshing, and it goes with everything: A greasy burger and a basket of salty french fries (hungry yet?) are just better with an ice cold pint of Bud or Miller Lite, and anyone who disagrees can find us at the bar.
But as with many things in life, even the most loyal drinkers may find their taste buds wandering. What happens when the champagne of beers goes flat; when the Rockies leave us low? Even a King (of beers) depends on the harvest. What to do then, when you've lost that lager feeling?
As it turns out, beer lovers in the Midwest found one simple way to spice up their lag' life, and now we're sharing it with you: add a pickle.
The process of fermenting cukes in a vinegar or salt brine is nothing new—the very first pickles date back over 4,000 years, and New Yorkers have been making the kosher dills that we know and love since the 1800s. But even for us, this pairing was a first.
We reached out to Joe McClure of McClure's Pickles (a man who carries a jar of pickle juice when he runs) for his take. "Pickles are the perfect snack: cucumbers soaked in evil," says McClure. "It complements the lager because of the slight vinegar and salt notes that get picked up."
Cheslyn Dilbeck works behind the bar at Legends in Minneapolis and won't drink her pint without a pickle. However, the type of beer is paramount: "I would avoid a pickle spear in any IPAs or craft beers," says Dilbeck. And as for the perfect pickle? "At home, I typically use large dill spears from Costco. There is something about the classic light beer taste added with something salty that does it. But, there is such a thing as too many pickles."
And according to Liz Welle, a Minnesota writer who swears by the technique, beer lovers don't have to stop at the pickle—green olives or pepperoncinis make tasty alternatives with the same savoury goodness. "They all work," she insists.
Whichever way you choose, chances are you'll be the most interesting drinker at the bar. And the best part? A crunchy, boozy pickle to snack on between pints.