What to Serve (and Ignore) at your Labor Day BBQ

We got drunk so you don't have to! But feel free to anyway

So you’ve emerged from your man cave to plot the perfect barbecue, but you don’t know the first thing about what to serve. Well, fret not, hairy reader, for your friends at the Man Cave get sent boxes of all kinds of crazy stuff! This time around we’re going to test out some barbecue fixings and see if they should or shouldn’t populate your picnic table. Yeeeee-haw! It’s a good, old-fashioned review roundup!

Ale’s Well that Ends Ale

Let’s begin where the BBQ does — when you show up, we put a beer in your hand.

Newcastle Bombshell

We still remember our first Newcastle. Ah, that tall, sweating glass of liquid goodness. Don’t listen to the haters, that’s a perfect beer to watch football with while eating a beef goulash or stew. Or hey, have it at happy hour. It’s a good lad’s beer. Now somebody went and made a blonde pale ale that thinks it’s up to the name.

Newcastle Bombshell isn’t nearly as satisfying as the classic brown ale, but it’s hard to pinpoint a criticism. You wouldn’t complain if someone stuck a neck of this in your hand–and hey, beachball and blonde make for a happy label–but all told this is otherwise a pretty basic pale ale you’d never think of again. We had similar results testing Newcastle’s Black Cabbie ale last year.

"Sweet! Today we drink our lunch!"

“Sweet! Today we drink our lunch!” Review: Newcastle Black Ale Cabbie

One reviewer said it had “great flavor” but was “a little hoppier than I expected, and brother, there’s no shortage of hoppy pale ales out there.

Get it for the BBQ?

Nah. Try it at the bar if you’re curious, but stock something else in the ice bucket. If you want Newkie but you’re going to depart from the brown, you’re probably best off trying their Werewolf red ale.

Lager In the Front


Despite craft trends to the contrary, here at Man Cave Daily we enjoy a good light-flavored lager. Of those, Sapporo is absolutely one of our favorites. It’s refreshing, it’s uncomplicated, and with a huge, hefty, pint glass-shaped can, it just feels like you’re drinking quality.

Get it for the BBQ?

If you want your party to look a little more upscale than a crate of Bud. Will it rock your world with crazy hops and exotic fruits? Nope. But it doesn’t aim to, either.

You’re So Radler

Sam Adams Porch Rocker

There’s nothing more refreshing than a cold beer on a summer day, unless it’s a lemonade. That’s why some genius figured out the actual solution is a drink that doesn’t make you choose between the two. Hooray for beer cocktails! And sure, you could grab a case of Bud Light and mix it with some seltzer and lemonade to make your own, but if you want to let the brewers do it for you, these are the ones we tried.

This shandy proved especially popular with our female taste testers, so bear in mind it might be a good drink to have on hand if you throw a party that’s especially well populated with womanhood. And that is the only kind of party you want to throw, so go back and read this advice again.

“As advertised, a great, refreshing summer beer that blends lemonade and a crisp beer that goes down smooth. Light & smooth. 9/10 rank!”

“10/10 — might take the place of Coors in my ranking system. Perfect summer beer!” [Note: Man Cave Daily can’t be held responsible if someone in the office considers Coors the perfect summer beer. That said, Coors is a Rocky Mountain mile above Coors Light, so we’ll give them the benefit of the assumption that it’s the former.]

“Much better alternative to Mike’s Hard Lemonade. Not too sugary, great lemon flavor.”

“Like a summer shandy but better.”

“Refreshing, great summertime drink. Would definitely buy as a substitute for cider.”

Get it for the BBQ?

Heck yeah — it’s overwhelmingly popular, and a nice relief from the cloying sweetness of malted liquor.

Amstel Radler

At this point, the difference between a radler and a shandy is nil — it’s just a regional thing, like how soda is called pop in the midwest and lemonade in New Mexico where nobody understands that would be a completely different beverage. Unlike New Mexican Pepsi, this actually does contain lemonade mixed in with beer. Plus, with a low 2% ABV you can actually knock back enough to quench your thirst without getting blitzed, but not so much you feel like you just paid $5 for a can of lemonade.

It puts the rad in radler.

It puts the rad in radler.

Although we didn’t get to pass this one around at the BBQ, we sampled it at on a hot summer rooftop and actually preferred it to many of our normal go-to drinks that were being served. In fact we probably knocked back enough to cover for everyone else at the Man Cave BBQ. Like the Sam, it’s refreshing, a pleasant buzz for your efforts, but not too cloying.

Get it for the BBQ?

To be honest, this was even better than the Porch Rocker, with a more lemony flavor, that doesn’t add much sugar to achieve it. That said, in a vacuum, we’ll take a Sam over an Amstel, but apparently all bets flip once you pour lemonade into the mix.

Next: IPAs, and the hard stuff

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