Best Beers for a Barbecue
When it’s hot outside, I’m all about refreshing, light brews. If you’re like me, you want a beverage that’s crisp and cold, maybe even something with a touch of citrus fruit like lemon, orange or grapefruit. Beers like that are the perfect complement to barbecued meat and fresh summer vegetables.
I understand that it can be tough to get people to sample new beers outside of their comfort zone. I have friends who stick with the beers they know—and that’s it. But I’m slowly getting them to try different kinds because there are so many! There’s nothing better than grabbing a cold one with friends while throwing some food on the grill.
Just be careful if you’re eating and drinking outside. After all, when you’re thirsty and the sun is beating down on you, there’s a good chance you’re going to drink more than one beer. But throwing back porters and hoppy beers—any of those kinds with a higher alcohol content—can come with consequences, so watch out for that.
One of the cool things I like to do with beer is layer different ones to complement what I’m cooking. Grilled meats usually have that charred taste from the grill, so a beer with roasted flavors—something like a porter—does the trick for a nice pairing. A newer craze that’s been around for a while is black IPAs. You get that roasted flavor along with the hoppiness of an IPA. I tried it for the first time a few months ago and loved it. So if you’re having a burger, these beers go perfectly!
If you’re doing fish, sausages or chicken, I’d recommend lagers or pilsners. With these beers, you’ll have a variety of options as well as lower alcohol contents, so they’re safer to drink on a hot day while you’re grilling outside. If you’re cooking a bratwurst, do as the Germans do, and grab a pint of a nice, cold lager. Lagers and pilsners are usually more crisp and refreshing, so you can really taste the food you made—especially if you have grilled veggies to go with your meat or fish.
For the more advanced beer drinker, a dark lager or an amber is awesome. Those types of beer will really bring out the tastiness of a meal like sausage and caramelized onions. You can even braise the meat in beer if you’re serious about your grilling and your beer. I’m getting hungry just thinking about this!