Beer and meat are a match made in heaven. There are few better ways to spend a summer evening than with a cold beer to wash down a burger or steak hot off the grill.
Connoisseurs of craft beer and barbecue alike know that the right combination of meat and beer can make a meal more memorable. But if the seemingly endless options of brews to choose from make your head spin like a rotisserie, don’t worry.
By following a few easy pointers or trying out our recommended pairings, you can find in a Giant Eagle or Market District near you, you’ll be ready to shine when it comes time to combine.
An easy way to make a match is to stick to the strengths of your beer and food. Pair light beers with light food like fish, for example, or pair hearty foods like steak with darker or heartier brews.
Keep It In Common
Another easy way to make a match is to find common flavors. Wheat beers are often served with a slice of orange or lemon, so pair them with citrussy dishes like Chipotle Lime Chicken Breast.
India Pale Ales (IPAs) are among the most popular types of beer, and as a result there are subcategories catered to all sorts of tastes. In general, they’re quite the combo with grilled steaks for several of the reasons listed above. The caramelization from the grilling process pulls out the malt flavor, while the bitter, hoppy flavor balances out the savory elements of the steak.
There’s perhaps no greater canvas for creativity than the burger. And depending on what toppings you add; the beer pairing options are endless. We’ll focus on the traditional burger — beef, lettuce, tomato, mustard, ketchup, you know the drill — as a starting point for your experimentation. This classic, crisp and unassuming sandwich is an excellent match for equally crisp and clean ales or lagers.
Chicken is another versatile food. It can be cooked and seasoned in so many ways that just about any beer could do the trick. If you’re making simple grilled chicken, try a more complex lager. Spicing it up with some buffalo sauce? You can’t beat a cold, refreshing ale. And if you’re slathering on sweet barbecue sauce, a dark-roasted stout or hoppy IPA offers a flavorful counterpoint.
Pork presents a plethora of options as well. The so-called other white meat is equally at home on the dark side. It’s light enough to subtly slide alongside fruity wheat beers or even sours when grilled. Yet when smoked, barbecued, roasted or braised, it’s powerful enough to balance out a dark and heavy porter or stout.
Yes, there are as many delicious pairing options as there are fish in the sea. In general, pilsner and the ever-adaptable lager match well with seafood’s lightness, but sours are interesting mates as well. If you’re looking for a more unique catch, try raw oysters with stout or fried oysters with pilsner.
So next time you’re ready to grill a burger or smoke some pork, check back here to make sure you’re complementing your meat with the best possible beverage. Or, you can always wing it. The truth is, you really can’t go wrong. If you’re cracking open your go-to beer or tossing your favorite cut of meat on the grill, chances are you’ll be satisfied.
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