I feel particularly woozy around a barbecue, the smells are intoxicating!
Rain or shine barbecue and beer are the perfect combination. There is something especially appealing about drinking a cold beer while the smell of barbecue and grilling meat permeates the air. Barbecue is one of the few pastimes understood by all of us around the globe.
Barbecue and grilling meat predates craft brewing by more than a century yet the pursuit shares a common commitment. You can’t rush the smoking or fake the fermentation. Both barbecue and beer require utter devotion and skill to produce an explosion of flavour for the taste buds.
Barbecue and Beer have evolved from regional pursuits into global phenomena.
Southern Cajun chicken can be found In Dubai or Africa. Craft breweries are springing up everywhere from Thailand to South Africa taking on global brands like Bud and Heineken.
I was sipping a couple of cold ones while sitting around the fire my buddy. We began talking about what beer to pair with what meat. The conversation got quite heated he is a cider drinker (yes I know real men don’t drink cider) and I love lager so we decided to ask renowned Pitmasters for their must-haves around a barbecue and what goes best with their favourite specialities. Their picks range from pale ales to lagers and Berliner Weisse style beers.
What are the different types of beers?
Berliner Weisse style Beers date back to the 17th century and have been around for so long for good reason. They are delicious and delightfully refreshing, golden in colour, the beers are light and sour unless fruit is added. To soften the tang Germans use a syrup that is red or green. Red being raspberry and green being more traditional woodruff, a grassy herb. This style of beer has been called the Champagne of the North.
Pale ales often referred to in Britain as bitters due to the hop profile date back to the 18th century. A batch of beer was roasted with “coke” (a fuel derived from coal) and the resulting malt was lighter in colour hence the name pale ale. Also, the malt had a milder flavour and the hops were more prominent, hence pale ales began to be associated not only with the pale colour but their mild flavour too.
Sharing Great Barbecue and Beer
A lager is brewed and fermented at colder temperatures for longer. They have a bottom fermenting yeast and tastes crisper, cleaner and less full of body. Lagers are traditionally served as thirst quenchers around a barbecue in the sun or with spicy food
Strangely, it is harder to brew a good lager, than a pale ale, as they need more attention and temperature control. Lagers are the most popular and mass-produced beers in the world.
The Pitmasters top pairings of beer and barbecue
Jonathan Fox, Fox Bros. Bar-B-Q, Atlanta, Ga. “I usually go with Sweetwater 420 extra pale ale, It goes well with our St Louis Ribs, it’s crisp and light and finishes smooth and clean”
Barry Sorkin, Smoque BBQ, Chicago, Ill. “For me, the soft fruitiness of Scentinal IPA (Indian Pale Ale) from Old Irving Brewing Co. is as good a match as there is for our St Louis Ribs.
Evan Leroy, Pitmaster, Leroy and Lewis, Austin, Tex. “Kellerwies by Sierra Nevada, or, if you’re an Austin local, Pearl Snap by Austin Beerworks help balance out fatty barbecue and complement our smoky, Texas-style beef cheeks with light, crisp flavors.”
Sam Jones, Pitmaster, Sam Jones BBQ, Winterville, N.C. “We love Carver, a sweet potato lager brewed by Fullsteam Brewing in Durham. It’s a smooth, slightly earthy lager that’s super easy to drink on its own … but the beer’s slight sweetness is a perfect pairing with our delicious smoked whole hog.”
Leslie Roark Scott, Ubon’s, Yazoo City, Miss. “Mississippi’s own Lazy Magnolia Southern Pecan Ale pairs beautifully with our Mississippi-style ribs. It is sweet with a soft maltiness that’s brewed with roasted pecans.
Aaron Siegal, Hometeam BBQ, Charleston, S.C.“ One of our favorite pairings is Revelry Brewing Company‘s Gullah Cream Ale with our smoked dry rub wings with Alabama White Sauce. They both lay down an awesome contrast to the smoke and crunch of the wings.”
Miriam Wilson, Salt Lick BBQ, Driftwood, Tex. “The kölsch from Twisted X Brewing pairs perfectly with Salt Lick’s smoked brisket burnt ends and boneless turkey breast. The floral aroma helps bring out the smokiness of the barbecue,
Scott Holmes, Little Miss BBQ, Phoenix, Ariz.“ Wren House Brewing Co. Is my go-to when hanging outside with family and friends while cooking up some ribs on the smoker. It’s light and crisp but still full of flavour. Nationally, the American lager champion is Coors Banquet.” —
Jordan Delewis, Against the Grain, Louisville, Ky. “Citra Ass Down IPA is one of our beers that pairs really well with our brisket. The sweet, malt backbone complements the smoke and any time you have something fruity it’s going to go together with the fatty parts.”