Summer BBQ and Food beer matching

November 01, 2020

summer bbq beers

Well the clocks have been changed and it's daylight savings which always spells the start of summer and with it comes barbecue season, but the days of a barbecues being accompanied by the chilly bin where guests drop their beer on arrival is no longer a sea of various green bottles of lager. Invariably there's a kaleidoscopic treasure trove of cans and bottles. 

The good thing about beer is the vast array of flavours at your service. There is hoppy, bitter, fruity, spicy, smoky, tart, acidic, chocolatey. With all this flavour here us our guide as to what goes best with your summer grill.

Sausages: Snags are the universal barbecue favourite and they love to match with a range of beers, thanks to the perfect combination of fat, salt, rich meatiness and charred edges. A sturdy pale ale with a nice malt-hop balance is the key, such as Panhead Custom Ale Supercharger American Styled Pale Ale or if you want to get a little more adventurous try a classic German style Hefeweizen or cloudy wheat beer, such as Bavarian Wheat Beer from Hallertau Brewery.

Chicken: Chooks, whether you’re having wings, drumsticks or the whole darn bird, the one warning with chicken is that it can easily be overpowered by a big beer, so look to pull back the flavour a bit with a classic extra special bitter or amber ale. Brothers beer Amber has a lovely softness to the malt structure, while Gastown Red IPA from Urbanaut Brewing is another with a light quaffability to balance against your bird.

Steak: A big juicy steak with lashings of salt and pepper. You don't want anything crushing that delicate flavour combo but you also want something that has a bit of complementary char and weight. Something crisp and dark Mcleod’s subtropical stout or Zeelandt's Black Monk ideal. 

Fish: A white-fleshed fish like snapper or tarakihi begs to be offset by a beer that starts to resemble wine, and there are plenty out there that accent bright acidity. North End Brewing's Petit Luna -hibiscus and lime sour ale is tart and acidic, with a bright fruit note from the hibiscus tips. For something a little bit different, try a gose – a rice wine beer, lightly spiced such as Garage Project's Beeryani

With a heavier, oilier fish like salmon, you can go two ways. Stick with that light, cleansing lager, or up the ante to a fruitier-style pale ale like Behemoth Brewing NZ Pale ale Chur or Good George’s APA

Slow cooked meats: melt in your mouth beef ribs or sweet pulled pork are rich and greasy. Cut through the sweet, finger-licking mess with a zappy XPA, light on the body but heavy on the hops. This will scythe through the sweetness but has enough oomph to stand up to the flavours. Grab a Weezledogg Hoppiness XPA or Sawmill Citrus IPA.

Is there one beer that crosses the barbecue divide and works with all food? Yes, the old-fashioned green bottled lager might do the trick but you can up the flavour with a Miami Brut lager from Urbanaut Brewing. This tropical cheeky number comes in cute as 250ml cans, so it will always be super fresh much like you with Brewbus’s guide to matching beers to your perfect summer barbecue.

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