The NCAA tournament is here, grills are heating up everywhere, and our ‘drinkin’ beers are coming out of the fridge with little thought. As we head out of the tournament season, and grilling gets serious, we need to start our discussion about what beer goes with that amazing masterpiece that just came off your grill!
The days of burgers being just ground beef are long gone. We have burgers with finger-licking fat which pairs well with a Black IPA. Black IPAs have notes of bitterness which marry with the beef’s fat, making pure harmony. Now if you are not a fan of the Black IPA, an IPA or a Smoked Porter is just as tasty.
Less fatty burgers, such as turkey burgers and veggie burgers, have the flavor of char from the grill, and heavy beers are not recommended. Amber Ales or Pale Ales compliment these lower fat options well. This is because the mild citrus these beers offer won’t over power the slight char flavors from the grill.
The summer staple is undoubtedly the sausage, ranging from bratwurst to polish sausage, and often smothered in grilled onions and peppers. Are you thirsty yet? This is truly where we can throw out most beer pairing rules. If you like light beers or dark beers, you can’t go wrong with your choice.
For pulled pork roasts or ribs that are painstakingly slow cooked all day long, believe it or not, a nice American Pale Ale pairs well with the labor of your love. This style will allow the flavors to be appreciated rather than over powered by any characteristics of the beer.
There are so many ways to prepare chicken on the grill. Farmhouse Ales, better known as Saisons, pair well with fowl due to the moderately sour bitter taste. These beers typically finish dry, and like a nice white wine, pair well with chicken. The Pilsner, which often gets pushed to the side, is also a good choice as it tends to finish crisp and refreshing.
Next time you grill up one of these beauties it may be time to try a new beer style called the Belgium Dubbel. This style has a malty sweetness and slight spiciness that compliments the fat from the beef. Some are not fans of Belgium beers and this is where Porters and Stouts are fabulous options as their darker malts bring out the flavors from the grill.
The moderate seasons we are blessed with in North Carolina gives us plenty of time to enjoy outdoor cooking. When planning your next BBQ, visit your local brewery or bottle shop to find the perfect pairing. Be sure to check out the local brews – NC has some amazing selections and I look forward to hearing about your grilling and pairing successes!
I have lived in Cornelius for eight years and love being part of the community. I have my Certified Beer Server certificate and currently studying for my Certified Cicerone. When I’m not studying beer, I’m enjoying life with my amazing family.