Beer Knowledge

Pairing Your Beer With Your BBQ

Published July 15th, 2014

While pairing the wine you drink with the food you eat has been practiced for centuries, not nearly as widely known is the art of beer and food pairing. But as summer reaches its peak, and we all look for new excuses to have a backyard BBQ, learning how to complement your food with fine craft beers can make your barbecue one to remember.

Here are a few tips to help you pair your beer with your BBQ

Before we jump into the best types of beers for your BBQ, it's important to realize that the term BBQ encompasses a wide range of foods - from red meat to chicken, corn on the cob and more. A typical BBQ meal features the sweet, acidic, sugary or vinegary taste of succulent sauce, meaning you need to find the right balanced beer to play off each element. Washing your food down with a hoppy IPA isn't the answer - you're throwing too much in your mouth all at once. Balanced beers with a malt and hop profile are the best BBQ beers out there. With that in mind, let's break down the best types of beer, based on the kinds of food you're most likely to see cooking on the grill.

Hotdogs and Burgers

The staple items of any BBQ, hotdogs and burgers can go well with any kind of drink. But pairing it with the right type of beer will have you tasting things you never thought existed. The light-colored, foaminess characteristics of a pilsner make this beer the best in show for hotdogs and burgers. It doesn't mask the flavor of your food, but also is bold enough to hold its own.


Pork is typically known for its sweet and savory taste. As such, amber ales and lagers work well to complement that sweetness. If you're not afraid of a little weight with your pork, a dark porter will also work nicely, particularly if your pork has a little bit of char on it.


Steaks are a heavy meat. Unless you want your beer to equate to glorified water in your mouth, you'll want a brew with some character, such as a brown ale. Many other people boast the magic of saisons, because they cleanse - yet challenge - the palate.

Vegetables and Seafood

For those of you looking to add some light fare to your BBQ meal, wheat beers work wonders. Wheat beers are already a summer standby, but their lightness serves to roundoff your relatively light meal.


Barbecued chicken can be paired with nearly everything and work. If you slightly char it - porter will do just fine. But a fan favorite for grilled chicken is hefeweizen. Hefeweizen often times features hints of tartness and fruitiness, helping to pull out the spices and flavors of the chicken.


Not everything at a BBQ has to be grilled. Dessert is just as much a BBQ meal as hotdogs and burgers. And even though by the time you get to dessert you're probably busting at the seams, you always find room for more. That's good, because the best type of beer to have for most of your BBQ desserts is the heavy, stand on its own two feet stout. Stouts can be enjoyed slowly, have their own distinct flavor, and don't contain the sweetness or fruitiness of other beers, meaning your desserts can show off their wares without unneeded competition.

So what do you do if you're serving all that food?

Do we really need to tell you? You stock your BBQ with every type of beer under the sun. That way you can enjoy all of your food with the right type of beer. Or, rather than having friends and family bring over endless bowls of potato salad, tell them their entrance fee to your backyard BBQ is a few bottles of the finest brew around.

(c) Can Stock Photo

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