With the Fourth of July rapidly approaching, people across the nation are preparing to fire up their grills and celebrate our nation’s independence by cooking food over flame. The question is, what to grill? Perhaps the most obvious choice is to cook up some hot dogs. The good old fashioned tube steak is certainly easy to cook, beloved by all, and stands as an enduring food icon in American culture. But what if you’re looking to serve up something more refined this Independence Day without entirely abandoning the hot dog tradition?
I’ve got the answer. One word: sausage. And what goes better with a good sausage than a good beer?
I recently read an article at SFGate.com regarding beer and sausage pairings (read it here). While I found the article informative and entertaining, the beers mentioned were either world beers or California beers. I decided that we needed a similar list up here in Washington, fashioned to fit our local palate.
Here is our guide to Washington sausage and beer pairing.
Where to get your sausages
The grocery store: It’s easy to pick up a national brand of sausage like Johnsonville at any grocery store, but there are compelling reasons for you to consider choosing locally produced sausages. Because they must travel across the country, national brand sausages are usually frozen and thawed by the time you get them. Local sausages are fresher and likely have never been exposed to taste-sapping, subzero temperatures. In my experience, they usually contain considerably less salt and they simply taste better.
Isernio’s is a widely recognized local brand that is available in most grocery stores. The Seattle-based company is located in Georgetown and its products are delicious.
Some of the area’s better grocers carry a wider variety of local choices. At finer grocery stores, look for:
- Uli’s Famous Sausage. They also have a shop near Pike Street Market.
- Fischer Meats. They also have a shop in Issaquah (since 1910).
- Hempler’s. Award winning meats and sausages from Ferndale.
Your butcher: Looking for something as fresh and handmade as the Washington beers you love? Consider getting sausages from your local butcher shop, like Bill the Butcher, the Swinery, B & E Meats, or Don & Joe’s Meats. There are a number of other fine meat purveyors around the Seattle area. Also, some of the better grocery stores, such as the Metropolitan Market, actually make their own sausages.
Sausage type: Light, cream-colored, veal-based weisswurst and bockwurst; mild chicken sausage and turkey sausage.
Washington beer suggestions: Haystack Hefeweizen from Snoqualmie Falls Brewing, High Five Hefe from Iron Horse Brewing, 20:20 Blond Ale from Two Beers Brewing.
Sausage type: Frankfurters and hot dogs (assuming you don’t doctor them up with too much spicy mustard, relish, and so on).
Washington beer suggestions: Rope Swing Summer Pilsner from Redhook, Chuckanut Pilsner from Chuckanut Brewery, Roger’s Pilsner from Georgetown Brewing, delrio Light Lager from Skagit River Brewing, Gateway Golden Ale from Schooner Exact Brewing.
Sausage type: Medium intensity sausage—kielbasa, knockwurst, bratwurst, sweet Italian sausage.
Washington beer suggestions: Avatar IPA from Elysian Brewing, Hop Diggity from Port Townsend Brewing, Alemic Pale Ale from Elliott Bay Brewing.
Sausage type: Full-flavored sausage. Hearty, full-flavored duck, lamb and boar sausages
Washington beer suggestions: Tandem Double Ale from Pike Brewery, Malaprop 8 Abbey-style from Big Time Brewing, Wisdom Seeker Double IPA from Black Raven Brewing,
Sausage type: Hot and spicy. Chorizo, linguisa, merguez, hot Italian sausage, Louisiana/Cajun andouille.
Washington beer suggestions: Saison Elysee from Elysian Brewing, Bad Monkey from Yakima Craft Brewing, Lazy Boy IPA from Lazy Boy Brewing, Point Defiance IPA from Harmon Brewing, Country Boy IPA from Everybody’s Brewing.
Where to get the beer
Our beer suggestions should be used as a guide to help you select the right style. A few of the beers we suggest can be found at any grocery store that features a good beer selection. Many of the beers we suggest can be found at your local bottle shop (see our listing of bottle shops to find one near you). Some of the beers we suggest must come from the brewery (see our listing of Washington breweries).