From the archives | Craft beer and BBQ

From the archives

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.

Got other ideas? Do email your favourite pairings to us at To subscribe to our free monthly newsletter and be eligible to enter our fabulous prize draws click here or to get notice of posts as soon as they're published click here.

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