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5 Perfect Beer and BBQ Pairings

Posted: July 18, 2017
BBQ food and beer on table

Summer is one of the most exciting times to try new beer. With all of the backyard BBQs and summer dishes, there’s nothing quite as refreshing as drinking an ice-cold, delicious beer. But have you ever wondered what beer you should be drinking to compliment your summer BBQ dishes? The good news is, we have the answers. Our craft beer and food expert, Chris Spradley, offers up the best in summer and beer pairings:


Let’s start off with the summer BBQ staple – the hamburger! Depending on what you put in your hamburger, there is a beer that will complement it perfectly and bring out all of the right flavors in both your burger and your beer.

Spicy Flavors

  • Jalapenos and peppers
  • Try with: Pilsners and Helles, or a Spicy IPA to add to the heat

Savory Flavors

  • Mushrooms and some aged cheeses
  • Try with: Porters, Schwarzbiers, nutty brown ales and Amber beers

Rich Flavors

  • Avocados, creamy dressings and goat cheese
  • Try with: American Wheat and Belgium golden ale or Hoppy American Pale Ales and IPA’s to cut richness

Crisp, Fresh Flavors

  • Cucumbers, lettuce, and tomato
  • Try with: Clean lagers such as kolsch or American Blonde ales

Acidic Flavors

  • Pickles, vinaigrettes, citrus and mustards
  • Try with: Spicy Saisons, Witbiers, English style pale ales and American Wheat Beers

Smokey Flavors

  • Bacon or other cured meats
  • Try with: A Porter or Dopplebock pairs nicely with smokiness. In contrast, a sharp IPA will cut the sweetness of maple bacon

 Grilled Chicken

Not really a burger person or looking for something a little lighter – grilled chicken is a great alternative and there are a bunch of different recipes to try.

Try pairing a crisp Pilsner or Kolsch with plain grilled chicken or if you’re one to sauce it up, then try malty Amber Ale which will complement any woodsy or smoky flavors from the sauce.

Grilled Pork Sausage

There’s something about the aroma of grilled sausage that awakens our senses, not to mention our appetites. Pair grilled sausage with an IPA, for its sharp hops bitterness, a high carbonation beer like American Wheat or even a tart beer like Gose.

Grilled Salmon

If you’re not the carnivorous type, don’t worry there are delicious seafood options to pair with beer. Pairing grilled salmon with a brown or pale ale is a great idea as the malt of the pale ale cuts through the high fat content of the salmon and the sweetness of the brown ale contrasts with the char of the grill.

Grilled Peaches

Who says you can’t have beer with dessert?

A tasty and sweet treat to finish your next backyard BBQ is grilled peaches, and what goes better with peaches than…peaches of course! Pair the peaches with Belgian Peche Lambic to bring out the sweetness in the fruit. If you really want to ramp up the sweetness, try a European Barleywine.

A Beer Pairing for Every Meal

Every meal has the opportunity to be an experience. The goal of pairing beer with our foods is to see how we can get what we’re eating to taste even better! Have a question on food and beer pairings or want to learn how Hillebrand can help with your keg logistics? Chris would love to chat – contact him today!

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