A cold beer is usually somewhere close by any grill. Any beer makes for a good match with grilled foods. As appreciation for pairing foods with wine has grown, so has interest in beers of different styles and characteristics.
Many of the best matches with roasted and grilled foods share that “roasty” quality. Pork cracklings, crispy chicken skin and grilled onions all have a sweet quality, and they go beautifully with beers that also have a nice, malty sweetness.
Try a porter with beef. Porters are dark and rich, but without the malt flavor of a stout. A full-bodied ale, such as India Pale Ale (IPA), also fares well with grilled burgers or steak.
RECIPE: The Ultimate Grilled Steak
Belgian bière de garde, a “farmhouse” ale, has spicy, peppery and herbal notes that blend with pork that is not covered with barbecue sauce. A good, sturdy stout or a nice malty, sweet German wheat beer such as hefeweizen also stands up well next to a grilled pork tenderloin or chop.
RECIPE: Grilled Double-Cut Pork Chops with Rhubarb Mostarda
German schwarzbier is the darkest of the lagers and offers a good balance to the fattiness of lamb. A Marzen, a pale but strong lager, can also be served.
RECIPE: Lamb Chops with Garlic and Rosemary
Dunkel, a light darker lager with a nutty maltiness, is wonderful with chicken, game birds and turkey, as is dark and rich porter.
RECIPE: Chicken Under a Brick
Serve IPA with salmon and tuna — or any substantial, meaty fish. Pale ale cuts through the oiliness of the fish.
RECIPE: Grilled Salmon With Zucchini
The burnt-toast quality of light-in-the-mouth Irish dry stout is a wonderful counterpoint to the brininess of shellfish. Irish stouts are famous with oysters.
RECIPE: Grilled Oysters with Barbecue Sauce
Belgian dubbel is rich, without hoppy bitterness, and works well with vegetables. A light amber ale will also hold up to grilled vegetables.
RECIPE: Summer Vegetable Kabobs
A classic pilsner or a Thai beer, chilled, has enough bitterness, crispness and carbonation to hold up to spicy food.
RECIPE: Chili-Orange Marinade
Flanders brown or red sour beer pulls the tang out of the sauce and makes it more potent. A Mexican lager, served icy cold, only makes barbecue sauce taste that much better.
RECIPE: Peach Barbecue Sauce
What beer do you serve at your summer cookouts? Tell us in the comments!