6 Beers and 6 Wines to Improve Your Fourth of July Cookout

June 29, 2018, 4:30 PM UTC

The odds are pretty good you’re going to have a beer or glass of wine in the next week.

Fourth of July is peak season for the beer, wine, and spirits industry, according to Nielsen. In fact, the four-week period surrounding the July 4 accounts for 8% of the beer industry’s overall annual sales. And during the two weeks around the holiday last year, domestic premium beer recorded sales of $648 million, while craft beers took in $248 million.

Wine? It’s doing well, too, as oenophiles flock to rosés and sparkling rosés, which hit their peak sales last year during the week of the Fourth of July.

With the Fourth falling in the middle of the week in 2018, it extends the holiday to two weekends — as well as a mid-week break — meaning lots of opportunities to spend the day with friends and family, not too many steps away from the grill or barbecue.

If that’s your plan and you’re looking for something different to put in the cooler this Fourth of July, here are a few suggestions — based around what you might be doing at the time.

Sipping by the pool or beach

You don’t want to drink something heavy as you soak in the sun’s rays this Fourth of July — especially if the day is just getting started. And there’s no reason to nuke your palate just yet.

Sour Wench Blackberry Ale (Ballast Point Brewing Company) – A tart blackberry-infused Berliner Weissse, but one with a very smooth, nice finish.

Hell or High Watermelon (21st Amendment Brewing) – Crisp, dry and not overly sweet. The watermelon notes blend wonderfully with the lighter wheat tastes and come on strong at the finish.

Atwater Vineyards Vidal Blanc – Hints of peach and pineapple ride the crest of this bright, acidic wine from New York’s Finger Lakes region. It pairs well with seafood and spicy foods, but it’s just as great on its own to cut the summer heat.

2016 Stags Leap Napa Valley Viognier – Wonderfully balanced, this varietal will bring peach and a lemongrass to mind. It’s an easy drinking wine that’s perfect for sunny days.

Beer and wine for when the food is ready

Food and beer pairings are as complex as food and wine pairings, so the perfect craft beer for your Fourth of July cookout really depends on what you’re cooking. Burgers, for instance, pair well with hoppy beer drinks, while chicken might go better with a white wine. Here are some other good go-tos:

Sam ’76 (Boston Beer Company) – Nice hoppy aromatics and a clean finish. A nice hybrid that’s tailor made for summer.

Breakside Wanderlust (Breakside Brewery) – Smooth, hoppy and loaded citrus. This is an incredibly well done IPA.

CasaSmith ViNO Rosé – Master Vintner Charles Smith hits another one out of the park with this rosé that’s bright with just the right level of acidity. It’s darker than some rosés, but it’s light with a very dry finish.

Provenance Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc – A crisp white with elements of white grapefruit and pear. It’s clean and acidic and has a nice big finish.

Nightcaps for the fireworks

As the evening wraps up, it’s nice to finish Fourth of July with something refreshing (assuming, of course, that you’ve got a designated driver). Kick back and watch the show with one of these in your hand.

Saison Dupont (Vieille Provision) – A good blend of tang and sour with enough effervescence that it brings champagne to mind. It’s an earthy beer that starts with lemon and pine, hints at tartness, then finishes extremely dry.

Beer To Drink Music To (Dogfish Head) – A very solid Belgian tripel with cardamon and clove. Best of all? It improves as it warms, so you can savor it in the evening heat.

Moet & Chandon Grand Vintage Rosé 2009 – What’s better than rosé to end the day? Sparkling rosé! Sweet at first, this bubbly take from the champagne masters evolves into a slightly spicy sip, which then finishes softly.

Bonterra Vineyards’ The McNab – A bold, dry red wine is a nice way to end the evening. The McNab is a blend that leans to black cherry and oak that has a velvety mouthfeel, which makes it the soothing ending to a great day.