I consider myself something of a lobster roll aficionado.
I'm not talking about the cold, mayo-laden lobster salad BS that you get in northern New England.
I mean Connecticut-style lobster rolls: Chunks of meaty lobster flesh drenched in melted butter, stuffed into a toasted hot dog bun and served with a side of cole slaw and fries (or boiled red potatoes, if you go to Lenny & Joe's).
My love for seafood began at an early age, when my Aunt Susan and Uncle Paul would take my siblings and I for a trip up the shoreline to Lenny & Joe's Fish Tale in Madison.
They introduced us to lobster rolls, and we couldn't get enough. The trips became a regular fixture every summer. My aunt would joke that it was much cheaper to take my seafood-hating cousins to McDonald's, but hey, we knew what we liked.
Jason and I started our own tradition of sorts a few summers ago, when we lived in Fairfield County and there wasn't really anywhere to get a good lobster roll. We'd take a weekend drive up the coast and make sure we hit a different place for lobster rolls every couple of weekends. We've done this every summer since.
Inspired by the beautiful weather we've been having, we kicked off the tradition early this year with a trip last weekend to an old favorite, Bill's Seafood in Westbrook. (Well, I kicked off the tradition. Jason refused to order a lobster roll before it was officially summer. He got scallops instead).
Anyway, we both agreed that there's really only one beer we pair with our lobster rolls, and that's Sam Adams Summer Ale.
We were in luck because Bill's had already moved from Cold Snap (Sam Adams' spring beer) to Sam Summer. There's something about Summer that makes it the perfect complement to lobsters. Perhaps its the lemony undertone, or that there's something substantial to it; a bold haziness that you don't find among the usual selection of light summer beers. It holds up well to lobster.
Our trip to Bill's got me really excited for summer, so I've crafted a lobster roll bucket list for us to get started on come June:
- Seven Seas, Milford: Seven Seas is tied with Bill's for our favorite place for lobster rolls. They don't mess around with the amount of meat they serve – you need a fork to successfully eat this sandwich.
- Lenny & Joe's: No summer is complete without at least one trip to Lenny & Joe's – we'll go to Madison, Westbrook, or New Haven (or all of them).
- Danny's Drive-In, Stratford: This is a new-to-us spot. We can pick up our lobster rolls and bring them to nearby Two Roads to see how Road Jam pairs with lobster (probably very well).
- Captain Scott's Lobster Dock, New London: Another new-to-us place.
- Lobster Shack, Branford: A seasonal shack and old favorite, but we'll need to see how Stony Creek beers hold up to lobster (Lobster Shack is across the water from Stony Creek).
- Catch This! Mystic: A new-to-us place and an excuse to visit Mystic, one of my favorite little towns in New England.
There are so many more places – seasonal and year-round – that to try, but this list is a good start. Be on the lookout for reviews this summer!