5 summer seasonals to check out at the Hilton Head Island craft beer festival

Not a whole lot sounds better than beer and a picnic on a warm day. As it so happens, that's pretty much what's happening May 19 on Hilton Head Island.

The inaugural Hilton Head Island Taste of Summer Craft Beer Festival takes place from 2 to 6 p.m. May 19 at Shelter Cove Harbour.

Look for about 60 craft beers along with about a half dozen restaurants serving up wings, barbecue, pizza and other treats.

"We'll have a lot of different beer," said organizer Mark Weisner of Bare Foot Sports. "We'll have the beers people are familiar with, but we'll have some good, new stuff as well."

Craft beers are those brews that might not be well known but are arguably better than what comes from the major brewers of the world.

Many produce special brews to cater to the season. In the summer that means plenty of lighter, citrusy beers.

Even though summer is still officially a few weeks off, the craft beer festival will feature plenty of seasonal brews.

To help navigate the new beer fest, we've suggested five summer seasonals to keep an eye out for, along with what food might go well with them.


* Taste: Inspired by a swing of ginger ale, the Charleston brewer came up with Ginger Slap as a crisp, refreshing summer sipper. A mix of ginger and cardamom gives it a spicy, floral taste.

* Pairing: It balances the heat of spicy foods such as pad thai or sushi with wasabi. It also goes well with a beef or lamb dish.


  • Taste: This wheat ale has a slight sweet and citrus flavor. The Wisconsin brew come in second two years in a row in the wheat ale category of the World Beer Championships. Fun Fact: It's the official beer of the American Association of Nude Recreation annual conference.
  • * Pairing: It pairs well with grilled salmon, duck a l'orange or cornish hen. Cheese lovers should try it with brie or asiago


    * Taste: The Philadelphia-area brew is a golden ale with a dry, hoppy taste and a burst of lemon flavor. Philadelphia magazine named it Best Local Beer last year.

  • Pairing: Try it with fish such as salmon or tilapia.

  • Taste: The world's largest craft brewer combines malted wheat, lemon peel and a rare African pepper for a spicy flavor.
  • Pairing: It's a good match with seafood -- crab cakes, tuna, salmon, lobster and shrimp. Match it with a key lime pie for dessert -- the tart flavor of the key lime goes well with the citrus notes.

  • Taste: The straw-colored ale has some similarities with a heavier lager but is light with a mild flavor and a dry finish.
  • Pairing: It's a good fit for the festival. Try it with seafood, pasta salad or a big hamburger.
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