Five great brews to drink with meats and veggies cooked on the grill, fired in the smoker, or slathered with sauce
Barbecue season is upon us, and for many, it's a merry time of spatulas, tongs, and belly-stuffing celebrations with family and friends, along with exalting mankind's most primal union: fire and meat. But while apron-clad cooks obsessively select their cuts of meat and measure marinades with scientific precision that would impress a Top Chef, the beer pairing is barely given a thought. After all, beer is beer, right?
Not quite. Each protein (whether surf or turf) or vegetable has a singular flavor profile and deserves to be carefully coupled with a beer, and one that's not just a can of the cheapest ubiquitous lager. Think about it: A fragrant, refreshing hefeweizen like Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier may be a grand grilled-vegetable or -shellfish pairing, but it's overwhelmed by the earthy, rich flavors of a hamburger or a steak. Instead, red meats work well with a dark, easy-to-drink schwarzbier or black lager, such as Full Sail Session Black. The strong, gamy flavor of lamb can be tamed by a figgy, malt-forward Belgian-style dubbel (a rich ale made with twice the standard amount of malt) such as Ommegang Abbey, which would dominate grilled chicken. Fowl finds its best match in a rustic, farmhouse-house style ale, like Saison Dupont.
So before you dump charcoal into the grill or click the ignition button, make a run to your local beer store to stock up on these suds. Every great backyard barbecue deserves a great beer-or five.
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