Here in Oregon, we know beer. It’s only natural that we’d be looking for ways to enjoy it while doing activities we love. Obviously, this includes grilling in the backyard with friends and family, and all of the amazing locally-raised meats here in Central Oregon make for all kinds of possibilities! Read on for our recommendations for the ideal beer and BBQ pairings!
From ribs to chops and everything in between, pork is a medium-heavy meat that readily takes on the flavors of wood, smoke, and seasonings, and can have a fat content that mimics that of beef. Don’t be afraid to bump that intensity with the beer you pair it with!
Perfect matches for pork include:
- Porter – This is a medium-bodied beer that won’t risk overpowering your meat. Malted flavors balance the meat out well, can lend hints of coffee and chocolate, and this beer is often smoked which compliments the BBQed pork that much more!
- India Pale Lager – A lighter style that has been dry-hopped yet is less bitter than an IPA, these are sweet and lightly toasted with a hint of resin and citrus to balance it out. These pair well with a variety of BBQ sauces.
- Pale Ale – This medium-bodied beer has a more pronounced malt backbone and it’s citrus and floral notes hold up well to pork of any kind.
- Session IPA (India Pale Ale) – Full flavors and a lowered alcohol compared to typical IPA’s, Sessions contain enough hops to pair well with fattier pork varieties and tangy sauces.
- German Lager – German Lagers can range from lighter and light-bodied to darker, caramelly flavors that easily cut through the fat and compliment the pork’s natural flavors well.
It’s important to note that you want to avoid a sweeter beer if your sauce is also sweet. Pair something bright and hoppy with sweet sauces to balance it all out.
Steak cuts are typically seared on the grill over smoke and will show char marks when finished, meaning you want a beer that reflects that. Darker, more robust beers are going to be a terrific match for any type of steak.
Perfect pairings for steak include:
- Brown Ales – Darker, but not as bold as a Porter or Stout, Browns are malty but won’t overpower the steak and have enough hops to cut through fat. This makes them ideal for nearly any type of steak cut.
- Porter – These pair great with marbled steak due to their dark malt and bitterness.
- Stout – If you’re cooking a larger, fattier steak, stouts are what you want to be drinking. The carbonization that chars the outside of your steak is the same as the roasted black malts in a Stout, so how could you go wrong?
Beef Brisket/Ribs & Lamb
These are all gamier meats, so a bolder beer will pair really well with them. A hoppier beer with more malt is ideal to complement the meat best.
Perfect pairings for these meats include:
- India Pale Ale (IPA) – This is a lighter option to pair with lamb or brisket. They’re refreshing yet citrusy and a bit bitter, providing a great balance.
- Belgian Ales, Dubbel, or Tripel – Fuller-bodied with higher alcohol content and lots of spice, these balance the flavors in the meat with great ease.
- Stout – Heavier and dark, Stouts are able to hold up to the heaviness of brisket and lamb while lending a hint of sweetness along the way.
No matter the meal, there is always a perfect beer to go with it!