The Perfect Beers to Complement Grilling Season

06 17 2014

Rarely do you find someone who doesn't enjoy barbecue season and grilling. In fact, I've encountered those whose passion is to create the perfect rub, the perfect marinade, the juiciest burger that is sure to impress. Grilling is one of the most fun and delicious activities that accompanies the summer months, and we’re total advocates of grilling every weekend applicable. The combination of the hot summer sun, perfectly tender meat, a cold brew, and a plethora of tasty sides should entice everyone, right? A seasoned griller knows the importance of pairing the perfect beer with certain meats to truly bring out the flavors in each dish and cleanse the palate, so we've broken down our favorite summer combinations. From hamburgers to pork chops to using beer in your rubs, we lay out the ideal summer grilled meat and beer pairings.

Hamburgers: Hamburgers are often rich and juicy. Thus you want a light, hoppy pale ale to cut through this richness. These have the perfect carbonation and bitterness to cleanse your palate. Try Bell’sMidwestern Pale Ale for a refreshing beer that works excellently with hamburgers. Avoid those too light like a hefeweizen as they easily get lost in a burger’s rich flavors. Maltier beers like porters or brown ales and dark lagers make for great marinades on burgers.

Hot Dogs: The dominant flavors in hot dogs tend to be strong, salty, garlicky and spicy. Condiments range from sharp onion and mustard flavors to acidic kraut, pickles, and peppers and sweet relish or slaw. With all these flavors running around it’s hard to decipher which beer to best complement these fellows. Since carbonation is a good way to cut the saltiness, again a pale ale tends to work best. You don’t want a big-flavored beer to drown out the flavors. A SierraNevada is an easy, delicious go-to to complement most hot dog combinations.

Chicken: For chicken, opt for something like a pilsner or spicy saison for a light, refreshing finish. Our favorite is CoronadoSaison by the Sea as it boasts a subtle fruity yet spicy flavor.

Pork or Bacon: These savory meats often are quite fatty. For these we lean towards a witbier or hefeweizen. You can’t go wrong with the tasty MissionBrew Hefeweizen.

Steak: Red meats tend to work well with dark, easy-to-drink beers. Steak in particular goes well with a full-bodied lager.

Marinades: One of the most fun and experimental things to do with summer grilling is to concoct delicious marinades that incorporate those refreshing sips of beer into them. Since beer is much less acidic than wine and other citrus juices, it helps tenderize the meat perfectly. There are tons of recipes and creations to make using beer. Our favorite? This grilled beer-marinaded chicken.

We hope 

this puts you in the right direction to create the perfect grilling menu! Remember there’s nothing wrong with experimenting and finding new flavor combinations. For a complete list of the ultimate craft beer and food pairings, check out Brewer Association’s chart.