News and views | Craft beer and BBQ

News and views

Craft beer and BBQ

Although I regularly recommend wines to pair with barbecue - most recently in my Guardian column - I’m actually an equal fan of beer. In fact I think many types of barbecue work better with it.

It appears that a majority of you agree. Craft beer came out top in a straw poll I put up on my Facebook page last week with almost twice as many votes as the most successful style of wine, a gutsy shiraz. You have to allow, of course, that beer fans are always more ready to fight their corner than winelovers but still . . .

So what kind of beer? It depends who’s coming and what kind of barbecue it is. If it’s all about the event - just a relaxed cook-up for family and friends I’d say the emphasis should be on a beer that’s refreshing and by that I don’t mean an ice-cold flavourless lager (not a popular choice in my poll).

If you’re looking for something different why not try a cloudy witbier or wheat beer, maybe even with a slice of lemon as they serve it in Lille or a citrussy single hop beer made from citra hops. Those would also work well with a seafood barbecue. A seasonal summer beer would be a good one to kick off with too.

For a real crowd-pleaser I’d pick a hoppy IPA, my favourite match with pulled pork and sausages. Amber ales and lagers are also good all-rounders and a saison or saison-style beer should impress any beer geek - a good match for beer-can or barbequed chicken.

With American-style barbecue like slow-cooked ribs or brisket I’d prefer something darker. A brown ale, a dark lager, a stout, porter or even an on-trend black IPA. And if you like to ramp up the smoky flavour you could try a smoked beer but that might be a little too much of a good thing.

You might notice that I’ve mentioned almost every style of beer. The message? Beer goes with barbecue. Period.

Image © saschi79 -

If you don't agree - or want some wine options - see my article on which wine pairs best with barbecue.

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