Slideshow: Ask a Cicerone: The Best Beers for July 4th

Go Red, White, and Blue
Go Red, White, and Blue

"I like the idea of incorporating a red, white and blue theme. Beginning with white, I’ll go for a witbier to whet the palate with refreshing citrus and spice. The traditional witbier’s relatively light body and moderate alcohol make it compatible with afternoon relaxation without overpowering the senses. There are many American craft brewed examples of this style.

An American Amber/Red Ale-style beer makes for a great palate change-up, and it'll work well with popular July 4th barbecued foods, including red meats and poultry, and all the accompaniments. And a nice, post-fireworks sipping beer is Chimay Grand Reserve Blue. In a nod to Belgium, where they celebrate their Independence Day July 21st, Chimay Blue is a Strong Dark Ale offering a night-capping 9% ABV with a rich dark malt and spicy pepper and nutmeg complexity from yeast esters." — Rob Hill (Total Wine & More & Total Guide to Beer)

Gonna Get Piggy
Gonna Get Piggy
"Pork and Lambic! Pork is easily my favorite food group and big bold sour lambics are long lost kin to the noble swine. Whole roast suckling pig done "kalua style" or over a wood fire smoker are the only way to fly. There is something so primitive about cooking a whole pig. The sights, sounds, and smells are very powerful. Pairing them with the tart, funky personality of true Belgian Lambic is just fun! Remember, get a cheek, best bite!" — Jensen Cummings (Slotted Spoon)
Sausage and Weissbier
Sausage and Weissbier
"Two things I don't indulge in often enough: grilled sausage and weissbier. I know it's simple, but barbecue days are about simple pleasures, enjoying the outdoors with friends. Nothing says that to me like this traditional biergarten pairing. A good white bratwurst, or (if you can find it) Thueringer sausage, go great with a bright, foamy weissbier. Among my favorites is Brooklyn's Brooklyner Weisse, which I feel is more authentic to the flavor of a fresh German wheat ale than what we can normally get on import." — Robert Johnson (Standard Market)
All American
All American

"In a symbolic gesture, I’ll drink all-American craft beer on Fourth of July. If I’m grilling or picnicking with friends and family, I’ll drink Alesmith X’ (extra Pale Ale) and maybe move up to something a bit more aggressive at night, like a double IPA. One of my favorite little breweries in town, Alpine, makes the best IP’s around and I’ll definitely make the trip to pick up some fresh bottles to share." — Jay Rose (Urge American Gastropub)

American Brown Ale
American Brown Ale

"I always pour Half Acre Over Ale at 4th of July parties. Besides being my wife’s absolute favorite beer, it is a crowd pleaser in the summer. I can’t always serve 20 different styles at a party, so I have to find something that I’m proud to pour and still appeases my guests. Over Ale is an American Brown Ale that is malty and has a great hop presence; it is light and crisp enough for summer, yet big enough to stand up to most 4th of July grilling." — Drew Larson (HOPLEAF)

Go Local
Go Local
"I'll likely be drinking a Billy 18 Watt 'session IPA' from SingleCut Beersmiths here in Astoria, Queens." — James Tai (Pinch, Yonkers)