Ice-cold beer and a sizzling dish from the grill are a match made in flavor heaven. Beer and food pairing definitely applies to grilled foods! The intensity of the dish should match the depth and weight of the beer. Heavier and more complex food should be paired with heavier and more complex beers.
Use the following beer and food pairing tips as a guideline to plan the perfect summertime backyard barbeque.
1. Brats – Made of juicy pork and spices, the beloved bratwurst sausage is a match made in heaven for beer. In fact, when you’re not grilling, you can boil it in the brew for a tangy delight. Pair your brats with malty beers such as Auroch’s Horn golden ale or Aecht Schlenkerla Marzen.
2. Brisket – IPAs stand up well to slow-cooked, spicy barbeque. Pair your brisket with Russian River Blind Pig, Surly Furious or El Segundo White Dog IPA.
3. Beef Ribs – Saucy and sweet, wet ribs pair well with malty beers and dark German lagers such as Spaten Dunkel. For dry ribs, crisp it up with a smooth amber ale like Alaskan Amber or Fat Tire Amber Ale.
4. Chicken – Pair your light and juicy grilled chicken with a cheeky pilsner or fruity, spicy saison brew – also called farmhouse ale. Cynic Ale by Surly Brewing Company or Thumbprint Saison by New Glarus are top picks.
5. Hamburgers – Pale lagers and pilsners match beautifully with the classic American hamburger, which is a symphony of many flavors: salty beef, sour mustard and sweet ketchup. The light, versatile lager complements all of these flavors at the same time. Try Lagunitas Pils, Anchor California Lager or a frosty Foster’s.
6. Hot Dogs – While not the healthiest meat in the pig pile, hot dogs make a regular appearance at backyard barbeques. If you are piling your dog high with onions, peppers, mustard and/or chili, stick with a pale lager that doesn’t compete with the flavors. Sip a Sam Adams Light or Whitstable Bay Blonde.
7. Steaks with Sauce – If you’re serving sirloin with a rich sauce, such as creamy mushroom or Hollandaise, drink a dark lager alongside it. The lager’s astringent bite will help cut through the richness of the sauce. Deschutes Dark Hugh Lager or Shiner Bohemian Black Lager are both bold choices.
8. Steaks without Sauce – A steak grilled simply with salt and pepper is a beautiful thing. Accent the sweet and subtle flavors of the steak’s marbling with a malty brown ale such as Sierra Nevada Brown Ale, Newcastle Brown Ale or Saugatuck’s Bonfire Brown.
9. Veggie Kabobs – Look for beers with a little body and slight malty sweetness to complement your lightly charred vegetables. Try German amber lagers or Vienna –style lagers such as Schell’s Firebrick or Snake River Lager. Some people also like vegetables with roasty toasty brown porters, like Mammoth Brewing Company’s Double Nut Brown.
Pro Tip: Add some beer to your beef’s marinade to enhance the flavor pairing even more.
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Image: Another pint please