You’ve fired up the BBQ and chosen your favourite cuts of meat, with flavoursome marinades to match. But have you given any thought to the beer to complement your BBQ? Or have you just grabbed whatever is on offer in your local supermarket?
There’s nothing like working the grill whilst enjoying an ice-cold beer or two, straight from the bottle. But if you’re going to make an effort with the food, choosing the right beer can bring out the flavours of your BBQ dish and take you to a whole new flavour dimension.
The principles of beer and BBQ pairing are simple. You can either complement the meat with a sweet, malty brew - or contrast a rich, fatty cut with a crisp, hoppier beer. The right beer can also cut through those fatty, smoky flavours associated with BBQ, whilst others can be enjoyed between dishes to reset your palate.
Beer and food pairing can seem complicated or subjective, but we have some ‘rules of thumb’ that we always use when choosing the best beer to pair with our BBQ dishes.
Firstly, rich, flavourful meats such as brisket or ribs can hold their own against stronger, malt-forward brews. The caramel sweetness from a Doppelbock makes for a perfect partner for sweet, saucy ribs.
Our second rule of thumb is to pair lighter dishes such as chicken or seafood with a crisp, light beer. Here, you’re aiming to complement the meat without overpowering it. Chicken loves lemon, so a citrusy IPA or pale ale is always a winner here.
Finally, who doesn’t love a juicy burger, charred to perfection on the BBQ? Crisp, clean beers are ideal for pairing with burgers as they cut through the rich flavour and act as a palate cleanser, preparing you for the next delicious bite. Think Pilsner, Kölsch or even a pale ale for a more intense, beefy burger.
So, now that summer has well and truly arrived, here is our pick of the best beers to accompany your BBQ - whatever you decide to throw on the grill!
There is one simple rule that must be adhered to when it comes to brewing Kölsch. It must be brewed in Cologne. This follows the ‘Kölsch Konvention’ of 1986, which states that Kölsch must be brewed within 50km of the city.
Light golden in colour, Fruh Kölsch is soft on the palate and clean tasting with a crisp, hoppy finish. On the BBQ, it won’t overpower simple grilled chicken, or enjoy with a burger for a fresh, palate-cleansing brew.
A dark, smoky lager, Schlenkerla Rauchbier is brewed with original Schlenkerla Smoke malt from their very own maltings. Remember the principle of pairing like-with-like? That’s why this smoked lager is the perfect partner for BBQ.
The tangy, roasted malt flavours from Schlenkerla Rauchbier balance and enhance meats with bolder flavours or spicy marinades. Why not try it with ‘low and slow’ smoked BBQ ribs?
If you are looking for a fruity, refreshing option then a Radler might be for you. A traditional Radler can be made with beer and any form of fruit juice, whereas a shandy is made with beer and lemonade.
Brewed to full strength, Monteiths Radler is an easy-drinking beer with distinctive hoppy notes, blended with natural lemon juice for a zesty citrus finish. If you’re grilling salmon or whole trout on your BBQ, the citrus in Monteiths Radler will be the perfect complement for this dish.
At 2.5% ABV, Small Beer Steam is a low-alcohol beer that does not compromise on flavour. Bridging the gap between an amber ale and a lager, it has a malty richness, delightful biscuit flavour and a crisp, dry finish.
Pair with BBQ pork or simple enjoy Small Beer Steam if you want to take it slow on the alcohol front.
Packed with refreshing citrus hops, this thirst-quenching pale ale can really help to tease out the juicy flavours of the meat. The Garden New England Pale Ale #04 showcases the Citra hop with melon, grapefruit and stone fruit aromas shining through.
The perfect companion for any dish with a fruity marinade, Garden New England Pale Ale #04 is also great with a burger.
Which beer will you choose for your next BBQ?
When it comes to finding a great beer to enjoy with your BBQ, step out of your comfort zone, ditch your usual choice and experiment! You should now be able to see how different beers can enhance the flavours found in a wide range of meats and other BBQ dishes.
Remember, there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to pairing beer and food, what one person loves may not work for you. Browse our huge selection of beers from Europe and beyond, and enjoy finding the perfect BBQ beer for you!