Ultimate Guide to Beer: Best Beers for Your Next BBQ - Flaps 20 Sauce and Rub

Ultimate Guide to Beer: Best Beers for Your Next BBQ

Firing up the grill for a backyard BBQ bash? Elevating your beer pairing game is essential for taking your cookout to the next level. From light lagers that complement grilled veggies to rich stouts that pair perfectly with smoky meats, the right craft beer selection can transform your spread into a flavor extravaganza. 1

Kick things off with a crisp kolsch or pilsner - these refreshing brews make the ideal accompaniment to lighter fare like fish, salads, and hot dogs. As you move on to heartier proteins, reach for an IPA or amber ale to cut through the richness. And don't forget about dessert - a barrel-aged stout is a match made in heaven for decadent treats like pecan pie. 1

Pale Lager and Blonde Ale Pairings

Lagers and blonde ales are the perfect thirst-quenchers to pair with your backyard BBQ spread. Their light, crisp, and refreshing flavors complement a wide range of grilled delights, from juicy burgers to succulent seafood.

Lager Pairings

Lagers, with their toasted grain notes, puffed brown rice aroma, and a hint of nectarines and lemon-blossom honey, make an excellent match for burgers (beef and turkey), tacos, and other grilled dishes 1. The American Pilsner, a type of pale lager, boasts medium-to-high carbonation, a malty taste, light body, and a dry finish, making it an ideal companion for chicken, salads, seafood, and fried foods 2.

Blonde Ale Pairings

Blonde ales, with their mild malt sweetness, low bitterness, light body, and dry finish, are a versatile choice for pairing with a variety of BBQ flavors. They pair exceptionally well with sweet or spicy dishes, grilled seafood, lobster mac and cheese, and fried chicken 2. Both pale lagers and blonde ales complement burgers, beef dishes, chicken, seafood, lamb, and pork 2.

Beer-Infused BBQ Sauce

For an extra burst of flavor, consider incorporating pale lagers or blonde ales into your BBQ sauce recipe. A beer-infused BBQ sauce can be made with ingredients like olive oil, garlic, onions, tomato paste, brown sugar, mustard, Worcestershire, and apple cider vinegar, infused with the crisp and refreshing notes of these brews 2.

Dessert and Cheese Pairings

Don't overlook the potential of pale lagers and blonde ales when it comes to desserts and cheese pairings. These light and refreshing beers pair beautifully with light, sweet desserts like lemon custard tart, oatmeal-raisin-walnut cookies, and pumpkin flan. They can also hold their own against richer, sweeter treats like carrot cake and crème brulée 3.

When it comes to cheese, mild, nutty varieties like Monterey Jack, brick, Lancashire, and Leicester are excellent companions for pale lagers and blonde ales. English cheeses like cheddar and Derby also make for delightful pairings 3.

To fully enjoy the crisp and refreshing flavors of pale lagers and blonde ales, serve them chilled at 40-45°F (4.5-7°C) 3.

IPA and Amber Ale Pairings

IPAs: Bold and Hoppy Companions

When it comes to bold and robust flavors, India Pale Ales (IPAs) are the perfect match for charcoal-cooked red meats like beef brisket or grilled lamb 2. The intense hop bitterness and citrusy notes in IPAs can stand up to and complement the smoky richness of these hearty proteins.

Amber Ales: Balanced Beers for Smoky Delights

Amber ales, with their well-balanced caramel richness and dry, crisp finish, make an excellent accompaniment to heavy, smoky red meat dishes 2. Their malty sweetness and subtle bitterness can enhance the flavors of prime rib or short ribs without overpowering them.

Amber ales are sometimes incorporated into marinades or homemade BBQ sauces that accompany these meaty delights, infusing them with an extra layer of depth and complexity 2.

Beef Pairings

For beef lovers, a Smoked Porter can be a match made in heaven, enhancing the steak flavor without overpowering it 2. Pale Ales also work well with top sirloin cuts, while Amber Ales are often used to complement prime rib or short ribs 2.

Chicken and Pork Pairings

  1. Chicken: Amber Ales, Brown Ales, and Dark Lagers, with their sweet and nutty crystal malt flavors, pair beautifully with BBQ chicken 2. These beers can complement the rich, smoky flavors of the meat and the tangy sweetness of BBQ sauces.

  2. Pork: For dry-rub pork ribs, a Hefeweizen can be a delightful companion 2. On the other hand, for saucy, molasses-drenched pork ribs, a Stout or sweet dark beer can balance the richness and sweetness perfectly 2.

Remember, these pairings are just a starting point. Don't be afraid to experiment and find your own favorite combinations that tantalize your taste buds and elevate your backyard BBQ game to new heights!

Hefeweizen and Pale Ale Pairings

Hefeweizens: Fruity Companions for Pork and Seafood

Hefeweizens, with their fruity notes, low bitterness, high carbonation, and medium body, make delightful companions for a variety of backyard BBQ delights 2. These refreshing wheat beers pair exceptionally well with pork dishes, particularly dry-rubbed pork. The fruity flavors of the Hefeweizen complement the smoky richness of the meat, creating a harmonious balance on your taste buds.

Hefeweizens also shine when paired with light seafood dishes, like grilled shrimp or fish tacos 2. Their effervescent carbonation and citrusy notes help cut through the richness of creamy sauces or dressings, making them a perfect match for salads and other light summer fare.

Pale Ales: Hoppy Harmonies for Burgers and Bold Flavors

When it comes to pairing beers with your backyard burgers, Pale Ales are a surefire hit 2. Their medium hop bitterness and dry finish can stand up to the bold flavors of juicy beef patties, while their aromatic and sometimes spicy notes complement the char-grilled goodness.

But Pale Ales aren't just for burgers – they also make excellent companions for dishes with robust, aromatic flavors 2. Whether it's a spicy jerk chicken or a smoky brisket, the hoppy character of a Pale Ale can help cut through the richness and enhance the overall taste experience.

Burger Bliss: Pale Ales, IPAs, and Pilsners

Speaking of burgers, let's not forget the classic beer pairings that elevate this backyard staple to new heights. In addition to Pale Ales, India Pale Ales (IPAs) and Pale Lagers (American Pilsners) are also excellent choices for pairing with burgers 2. The complex flavors of these brews can complement the layers of taste in a well-crafted burger, creating a truly memorable culinary experience.

So, whether you're grilling up some juicy beef patties, sizzling pork chops, or firing up the smoker for a brisket, don't forget to stock up on Hefeweizens and Pale Ales. These versatile brews are sure to take your backyard BBQ game to new heights of flavor and enjoyment 2.

Brown Ale and Irish Red Ale Pairings

Rich and Robust Flavors

Brown ales and Irish red ales boast rich, malty flavors that make them perfect companions for hearty, smoky BBQ dishes. Their caramel and toffee notes complement the charred, savory goodness of grilled meats, while their nutty undertones balance out the sweetness of barbecue sauces 2.

Brisket Bliss

When it comes to pairing beers with succulent beef brisket, a brown ale is an excellent choice. The beer's toasty, nutty flavors harmonize beautifully with the smoky richness of the meat, creating a flavor symphony that will have your taste buds dancing 2. For an extra burst of flavor, consider incorporating a brown ale into your brisket marinade or basting sauce.

Sausage Sizzle

Grilled sausages are a backyard BBQ staple, and Irish red ales make the perfect partners for these savory delights. The malty sweetness of the beer complements the spices and herbs in the sausages, while the caramel notes enhance the char-grilled flavors 2. Whether you're serving up classic bratwursts or spicy chorizo links, an Irish red ale is sure to elevate the experience.

Ribs and Chops Galore

For those who can't resist the allure of fall-off-the-bone ribs or juicy pork chops, brown ales and Irish red ales are the way to go. The malty backbone of these brews can stand up to the bold flavors of barbecue sauces and dry rubs, while their subtle sweetness balances out the richness of the meat 2.

Burger Brilliance

Don't overlook the potential of brown ales and Irish red ales when it comes to burgers. Their robust flavors can complement the char-grilled goodness of a well-crafted patty, while their subtle sweetness can enhance the caramelized notes of the bun 2. Consider topping your burger with a beer-infused cheese or a dollop of brown ale mustard for an extra flavor punch.

Dessert Delights

Who says beer pairings are just for savory dishes? Brown ales and Irish red ales can also make delightful companions for desserts. Their malty sweetness pairs beautifully with rich chocolate treats, while their nutty undertones complement the warmth of spiced desserts like pumpkin pie or gingerbread 3.

So, whether you're firing up the grill for a backyard BBQ bash or simply enjoying a cozy evening at home, don't forget to stock up on brown ales and Irish red ales. These robust brews are sure to elevate your culinary experience to new heights of flavor and enjoyment 2 3.

Beer-Infused BBQ Sauce Recipe

Elevate Your BBQ Game with a Beer-Infused Sauce

Are you ready to take your backyard BBQ to new heights of flavor? Infusing your homemade BBQ sauce with the perfect beer pairing is the secret to achieving that competition-winning taste. Don't just take our word for it – try it for yourself! 2

The Ultimate Beer BBQ Sauce


  • 1/2 cup of your favorite beer pairing (we recommend an amber ale or brown ale for rich, malty notes)
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional, for a kick of heat)
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste


  1. In a saucepan, combine all the ingredients except the beer. Whisk until well-blended.
  2. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat, then reduce the heat to low.
  3. Slowly stir in the beer, allowing it to blend seamlessly with the other ingredients.
  4. Let the sauce simmer for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it thickens to your desired consistency.
  5. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.
  6. Brush or baste your favorite meats, vegetables, or proteins with the beer-infused BBQ sauce during the final stages of grilling or smoking. 2

Customize Your Flavor Profile

The beauty of this beer BBQ sauce recipe lies in its versatility. Feel free to experiment with different beer pairings to create your own signature flavor. An IPA can add a hoppy kick, while a stout or porter can infuse rich, roasted notes. The possibilities are endless! 2

Elevate Your Grilling Game

Elevate your backyard BBQ game by incorporating this beer-infused BBQ sauce into your repertoire. Slather it on juicy burgers, baste it over sizzling steaks, or use it as a dipping sauce for crispy fries or grilled veggies. Your taste buds (and your guests) will thank you! 2


What types of beer pair well with BBQ ribs? For BBQ ribs, consider a Pale Ale for its lighter touch that still complements smoked pork, a German Lager with its heavy dark malt for a robust pairing, or a Porter to balance the roasted flavors without overpowering the pork.

Which beers are recommended for a summer BBQ? During the summer BBQ season, lighter beers are typically preferred. Blonde ales, pale lagers, wheat beers, IPAs, pale ales, and amber ales are all great choices that can enhance the bold flavors of BBQ without feeling too heavy, as opposed to darker beers like stouts and porters, which may be better suited for winter.

What beer complements smoked pulled pork? When serving smoked pulled pork, especially if it's spicy, a honey ale can provide a sweet contrast to the heat. Alternatively, a smoked porter with its smoky malts can enhance the smoky aroma of the pulled pork, creating a harmonious pairing.

What are the key principles for matching beer with food? To create a successful food and beer pairing, you can follow these basic guidelines: Match rich, heavy foods with beers that have a similar heavy and rich profile, such as stouts or porters. Conversely, pair lighter dishes like salads and fish with lighter beers. For desserts like fruit tarts, wheat beers can be a delightful complement, matching the sweetness and fruitiness.


[1] - https://www.foodandwine.com/beer/the-best-beer-to-drink-with-barbecue
[2] - https://kickashbasket.com/blogs/tips-tricks/bbq-and-beer-pairings
[3] - https://www.brewersassociation.org/attachments/0000/2095/Beer_and_Food_Flyer_MDC.pdf
[4] - https://silverbluff.com/food-pairings-with-golden-ale-lighter-foods-love-blonde-beer/

Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.