12 Apr The 15 Best Crawfish Beers: Pairing Houston Beer with a Crawfish Boil
15 Best Crawfish Beers
There are 2 good months left of 2017’s crawfish season, and if you know your way around the boil, you might wait ’til later in the season to get the bigger bugs. If your crawfish boil planning is under way, here are 15 of the best crawfish beers you can have on deck to make sure the beer is just as good as the food.
Crawfish boils, much like big holidays and Super Bowl parties, offer beer nerds like us the opportunity to share something special with our friends and possibly convert them from being macro-drinkers. There’s nothing wrong with drinking what your dad drank when you were a kid, but there’s so much more out there. Here are a few approachable crawfish beers you might want to offer.
Sipping Houston Haze and pairing it with Honey Hole ESB, our friend Garrison from SpindleTap said, “Dude, screw pairing beer with food. Why not pair beer with beer!?” While it’s hard to disagree with that thought process, we like to pair all of the above.
Approachable Crawfish Beers
These crawfish beers are going to be best for your Bud drinking buddies. Be careful with these folks, as one bad (in their opinion) beer could turn them off from craft for life.
Anybody that likes crawfish knows that beer and mudbugs go hand in hand. It’s pretty common to want something light, crisp and refreshing to put out the fire.
Kadigan Blonde has a little bit more flavor than the rest of the blondes I’ve had in recent years. It starts off light and crisp, and then there’s a very light, grassy hop aftertaste. It’s really refreshing and clean drinking. This is for everybody.
13th Can has a fresh bread aroma that fills your nostrils as you drink, which combines quite nicely with that crisp finish. In terms of light beers this is among the higher in ABV, but I could see why it would go well with a tailgating function; it doesn’t overwhelm your collegiate food of choice. This is for your Bud Light drinking friend.
Dome Faux’m is a little stronger in flavor than the average ale, but it’s easy drinking. Overall, it’s smooth and a little sweet. For the average bud-light drinker, it’ll be a little bit strong maybe. Dome Faux’m’s very crisp, refreshing and balanced on the tongue with a mildly floral hop bitterness on the finish. This is for your Budweiser drinking friend.
5 O’Clock Pils pours a smooth hay color with a fresh cut grass scent that touches at hints of spice. The mouthfeel is refreshing and pays respect to Czech style of beer making. The subtle lemon aftertaste surprised me and blended well with the mild-bitter hop residue left on my tongue. This is for your Miller Lite drinking friend, although it’s a bit more potent in flavor, ABV and bitterness.
Boomtown Blonde was perfect for my current weekend plans, for at that very moment I was in a fierce battle of Cornhole and smoking pork belly on my charcoal grill. The crisp light and refreshing taste proved perfect while soaking in some Texas sun.
Sweeter Crawfish Beers
These crawfish beers are going to be best for your Shiner Bock drinking buddies. This person has likely tried a few more beers and may be better equipped to articulate what they like and don’t in a beer. Maybe not. While Shiner’s definitely still craft by definition, maybe you want to open their palettes a bit further.
Lots of folks enjoy the sweeter, malty notes to balance well with the heat. In doing quite a bit of research to write this post, I found this was my favorite.
10. 11 Below Oso Bueno
The Oso Bueno has a great mixture of Malts and Hops. It hits your lips strong but then finishes sweet. It is the kind of beer you could drink all day. It isn’t overpowering with Hops and bitterness, and it isn’t overly Malty where you wouldn’t want to eat a meal with it.
Saint Arnold Spring Bock has a gentle floral scent when poured. The taste was what I expected of a St. Arnold – delicious, creamy, and dare I say almost velvety with its caramel notes as well as bread like after tastes. I found a pleasant crispness to this German style brew that leaves you refreshed and eager for another.
8. Back Pew Satyr’s Swill
Satyr’s Swill doesn’t have it’s own write up on the site yet, but it will one of these days. It’s a mighty fine bock with a creamy, refreshing drinkability that has a bit more ABV than those that came before it on the list. There are sweet, malty, caramel notes and a bready, smooth finish.
Honey Hole ESB starts off clean and mildly fruity, then the sweet-malt flavor comes in, and it’s finished off by a very light hop bitterness. Honey Hole is a very balanced beer with a good amount of flavor, good amount of malty sweetness, and not too heavy on bitterness (despite the name).
Ale Wagger is goo-ood. It’s distinctly bodied, a very smooth drink that could accompany a nice ribeye at dinner or a weenie by the pool for the summertime cookouts – a super versatile beer. Ale Wagger has a malty sweetness to it, and is pretty mild on the hop bitterness, but it’s still a little more crisp than some of the others on this section of the list.
Fruity Crawfish Beers
These crawfish beers are going to be best for your adventurous friends. This is the person that you’ve already handed a few, and nailed it. They’re working on trying bigger beers or maybe they text you when they’re in the beer aisle.
Most foodies and chefs will tell you that a fruity, floral IPA or a crisp, balanced APA will pair well with spicy food. They’re definitely not wrong.
Hop Gusher starts off light on the palette, despite an aggressive, bready, fruity, hoppy nose. The bark is louder than the bite, in other words. The after taste has some mildly fruity, citrusy, hop characteristics that linger well.
SMaSH IPA (Mosaic)
Yellow Rose met my nose with a full blitz of citrus and fruit aromas that helped lay the foundation for the perfect blend of acidic flavors with just the right amount of hoppiness. This is by far the smoothest IPA I’ve experienced yet.
Mama Tried IPA starts off with a malty, floral nose fit for a workin’ man. The flavor starts off crisp and smooth, and it makes way for a definitive malt backbone to mild things out before the bright hop flavor and bitterness comes through on the aftertaste. That aftertaste is really where it’s at – the floral, fruity notes shine brighter than the stage lights on ol’ Merle.
Saint Arnold Art Car IPA smells of fruity hops, and the taste holds the same notes. It starts off pleasantly crisp, has a nice malt backbone to stand up to the bitterness, and it ends with a satisfying fruity, almost tropical hop flavor.
Half Nelson IPA is light bodied with plenty of that citrus flavor I got from the aroma. The dominant flavors I get are grapefruit and orange. I also get a small amount of grape in the profile, as well as some bittering hop at the very end. I think what makes this beer so nice for me is that it’s not overpowering and the flavor doesn’t bulldog you onto the mat.
Houston’s boiling over with great beer, and all of them have at least 1-2 light, sessionable offerings for things just like this. A rule of thumb for food/beer pairing with spicy food is floral, fruity beer, as those notes accentuate the spice. However, that’d make for a boring list, huh?
What are your favorite crawfish beers, if they’re not listed here? Let us know in the comments below. Beers to you, Houston.