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Beer And Barbecue Pairings - Barbecue World

Beer and Barbecue Pairings

After tools, within the near vicinity of most griller’s reach are usually few items: utensils, rubs and sauces and usually beer or an alcoholic beverage of choice. Beer is something that can be found just about anywhere and is usually in a cooler close to the barbecue and found at 99% of all barbecues and backyard parties. The thing is that beer tends to get a bad rap for not being sophisticated enough as say wine to go well with foods, we know this is total bs and like any good epicurean the good griller also knows his best beers paired for his foods.

I am going to make a few assumptions here and say that most people have a) tried a beer b) like beer c) have cooked with beer and lastly, d) all of the above. You don’t have to be a trained brew master or sommelier to pair a good beer with your food, there are some simple tips we have for you to step up your grilling game. You will certainly appreciate the malty goodness while staring that your Broil King® Smoke Charcoal Barbecue as it cooks your meal to perfection and you enjoy the remaining warm days that summer has to offer us Canucks.

A good griller likes to contrast his flavours and flavour profiles by using things like Original Cuban Style Adobo Criollo or some Butt Rub on her or his meats and proteins. We aim to do that for you with a twist, these malty flavours are all (mostly) available at an LCBO or dépanneur (for our Gatineau and Quebec readers) and pair very well with your barbecued food. The next assumption I am going to make is that you like beer and you really like beer with your barbecued food. Depending on what you level of grilling expertise is, you may want to go all out on your dish and serve a beer that compliments the cuts you’re serving and pair it with our suggestions.

Although usually slept on for food pairings, beer is actually a bit more food-friendly than wine is. Winemakers have one ingredient to play with: grapes. The second ingredient, if you can count it as an ingredient, is wood barrel–aging. Beermakers, on the other hand, can experiment with barley, hops, yeast, as well as a myriad of spices, fruits, nuts and even vegetables and chocolate. There are two approaches for the beer pairing of your barbecued food, the choice is ultimately yours to make and no one will know the palates of those being served better than you.

Chefs and sommeliers usually attempt to find the common notes with the foods being paired so if you are taking this approach you can ask the person selling you the beer or you can read the tasting notes on the back of the bottle or label. The other approach is to contrast the flavours to get a balanced pairing, you can imagine a sort of yin-yang contrast here of say savory and sweet, spicy and crisp, etc. The thing to remember is that dominant food flavours can come from the protein (like chicken, meat, pork), the sauce (such as a creamy or spicy sauce), or the method of preparation (grilling, in our example) which will all add to the pairing.

Beau's Brewery

Beer Pairing Tips

Tip 1 - Just like wines lighter coloured beers go much better with lighter meats. Meaning seafoods, chicken salads and pastas go great with lagers and light crisp ales.

Tip 2 - Dark meat + dark ale = perfection. Darker beers tend to be heavier and a lot richer in flavour profiles. Pairing a dark beer with game like venison and red meats works wonders for the palate.

Recently my favourite brewery has come out with some great lagers, ales and IPAs that are marvelous accompaniments to dishes we have been grilling. I am speaking about Beau’s Brewery out in Vankleek Hill who’s Lug Tread is by far one of my personal favorites (and how can you not love that they deliver beer from the brewery to your door if you live in Ottawa). Their flagship beer Lug Tread is a Lagered Ale @ 5.2% and is available year-round at the LCBO, its is an insanely great Canadian beer to accompany your lighter cuts of protein including beer chicken. For darker meats Jen from Beau’s suggested the newly released Märzen with its hints and notes of sweetness which goes great with anything from crispy pork chops, roasted root vegetables, to steak and mac and cheese. This new release will be available across all LCBO’s by the time of this posting).This brewing is part of their Farm Table series and is an organic award winning beer that you should definitely try out. While we spoke Jen also had two great suggestions; one for the fattier meals and foods which was the Full Time IPA which she said has a great way of cutting through the fats and the second which was the Kissmeyer Nordic Ale which when paired with chicken and fish like gravlax is sublime.

What we like most at BarbecueWorld is the range of people who love food and flavour pairings. One of the best ways to get new ideas for something, anything, is to sit down and have a cold one with some new and old friends and debate the best ways for food to get flavour imparted and the best ways to wash it all down.

For those looking for more beer pairing examples:

  • Grainy foods like rice and quinoa are well paired with Amber Lagers or Pilsners.
  • Shellfish like lobster, crab and shrimp go great with Belgian styled beers and German Hefeweizens. We can also suggest the Kissmeyer Nordic Pale Ale if the dish isn’t too saucy.
  • Gamy birds like quail or duck go great with IPA’s and Brown ales.
  • Grilled veggies pair really well with Irish Stouts or German styled Schwarbiers.
  • Cheeses from Gouda, Cheddar and Blue are best served with Belgian Tripel abbey beers and strong Pale Ales.
  • Steaks go well with darker beers like a Porter.
  • Lastly pork contrast really well with IPA’s especially Beau’s Full Time IPA due to the citrus and fruity notes found in it.
Beau's Brewery

The three main things to take away from this are:

  • The lighter the cooking, the lighter the beer.
  • The more roasted the food is, the more roasted the malt should be.
  • Beau’s Beer makes some damn fine beer to pair with your food (especially the new Märzen which will be making its LCBO debut the week this article is being posted).

Give us your best beer pairings in the comment sections of our social media accounts so we can discover new and great beer pairings the next time we fire up the grill. We learn as much from you as you do from us. Happy grilling!

Barbecue U