While grilling season is one of the longest seasons in the Sunshine State, summertime is one of the best excuses to get outside and grab a beer while cooking on the grill. And while enjoying lagers while grilling makes for a thirst-quenching experience, grilled foods are a great opportunity to test the pairing prowess of new beer styles. Pairing beer with grilled food, after all, is all about balancing flavors and enhancing the food, where the sum of the experience is better than its parts alone. Here are five beer styles that pair well with grilled food and why:
Why it pairs well: The light flavors of pilsner malt can easily dance with moderately hearty flavors like bratwurst, salmon, or chicken. The beer’s malt character and lack of bitterness don’t get in the way of subtle flavors like a cedar plank or marinade and the carbonation will help cleanse the palate and make each bite as flavorful as the last.
Grab a six-pack or crowler of 3 Sons Ocean Park Pils or Green Bench Brewing’s Postcard Pils to see how great a pilsner can be.
American Pale Ale (APA):
Why it pairs well: The relative hoppy bitterness of an APA cuts through the richness of grilled meats, while its moderate maltiness complements the caramelized flavors from grilling. The citrus and piney hop aromas enhance the smoky and charred notes of the food.
Bring home some Half Acre Daisy Cutter or Toppling Goliath Pseudo Sue to test out this pairing.
Why it pairs well: The toasty and caramel maltiness of a Vienna Lager complements the caramelization on grilled meats. The medium body and balanced sweetness provide a counterpoint to the savory and slightly charred flavors from the grill. A lager like EXAMPLE will enhance the flavor and experience by bringing a complimentary element to the table.
Taste this pairing in real life with Motorworks V-Twin Lager or Ayinger Oktoberfest.
Wheat Beer (Hefeweizen):
Why it pairs well: Hefeweizens have a light and refreshing character with subtle notes of banana and clove from the yeast. These flavors can harmonize with the mild, grilled flavors, while the effervescence cleanses the palate between bites. Try hefeweizen especially when grilling fruits or sweeter flavors as the beer’s sweetness and nuance will match well with the caramelized sugars in a dessert fruit.
Drink in the sweetness of this pairing with a bottle or crowler of Paulaner Hefeweizen or Weihenstepahner Hefeweizen.
Why it pairs well: A stout, particularly one with roasted and chocolatey flavors, can complement the smoky and charred aspects of grilled food. The rich and velvety texture of a stout can balance the heartiness of grilled meats, creating a satisfying combination.
Remember, personal preferences play a significant role in beer and food pairings, so don’t hesitate to experiment with different styles and find what works best for your palate. Additionally, factors such as marinades, sauces, and specific ingredients used in the grilled dishes can also influence the ideal beer pairing.
While there aren’t a lot of examples of sessionable stouts, taste this pairing’s full flavor with Swamp Head Brewery’s Midnight Oil or a black lager like Kostritzer Schwarzbier.
These are just a few examples from some of our favorite beers to grill with, but this list isn’t full! Come down to 99 Bottles and let our beertenders talk to us about your favorite grilling beer. We will pour you a pint or a half-liter! And if we don’t have it, then we can certainly recommend a new favorite or a small pour of something similar. Don’t let the grill chef go thirsty, grab a world-class lager or ale for him or her today!