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Crisp lagers are the best beers for barbecues (and these are our top picks)

Grilling is best when paired with a nice, crisp lager

Grill and beer

While summer is still more than a month away, the weather in much of the US is starting to feel downright summery. While there’s still a bit of spring rain, the sun is beginning to make an appearance, and shorts and flip-flops are being taken out of storage.

We’re also only a few weeks away from Memorial Day, the unofficial start of summer (even though summer doesn’t technically begin until June 20th). Not only is Memorial Day the gateway to summer fun, but it’s also the beginning of grilling season.

And all those cheeseburgers, grilled chicken breasts, strip steaks, portobello mushrooms, grilled pizzas, and various char-grilled vegetables need to be paired with the proper beverage. And while we’d never turn down a glass of tart, refreshing lemonade, we prefer beer.

The best grilling beer style

Beef burger with tomatos and fries on black plate with pint of lager beer on background.
Chester-Alive / Shutterstock

We’re certainly not here to judge you and your warm-weather beer-drinking habits. If you enjoy a robust, rich stout, a sweet, indulgent porter, or a Scotch ale on a hot day, we won’t tell you that you’re wrong. We just believe that outdoor grilling is best paired with crisp, refreshing lagers.

Pilsners, light lagers, helles-style lagers, we love them all. We’re on board as long as they are crisp, refreshing, and (hopefully) crushable. We also believe that thirst-quenching lagers pair well with greasy, cheesy burgers, other grilled meats, and grilled zucchini, yellow squash, and other vegetables.

The best crisp lagers to pair with outdoor grilling

Pork collar steaks served with slices of whole grain bread, choped onions, tomatoes, mustard and barbeque sauces on the wooden plate outside with mug of pilsner czech beer.
Jan Danek jdm.foto / Shutterstock

While we aren’t in the business of judging, we are in the business of helping. That’s why, instead of making you find the crisp, refreshing lagers to pair with grilled foods, we did the work for you. We found five of the best, most balanced, refreshing lagers perfectly suited for warm-weather grilling. Keep scrolling to see them all.

Narragansett Lager


Narragansett Lager and summer have been entrenched for decades. At least since 1975. This is when the beer was heavily featured in the first-ever summer blockbuster ‘Jaws’. You can crush this 5% ABV lager “like Quint” without any fear of a giant shark. It’s simple, crisp, and no-frill. It’s known for its malt backbone, honey, citrus, cereal grains, and floral finish. It’s refreshing and tastes like summer in a can.

Sixpoint The Crisp

Sixpoint The Crisp

With a name like Sixpoint The Crisp, you should have a pretty good idea about what you’re in for when you crack open this beer. Brewed with Tettnang and Hallertau hops as well as Cargill Pilsner malt, this refreshing, thirst-quenching pilsner is known for its pilsner malt backbone and floral finish. It’s effortlessly crisp and perfect for warm-weather drinking.

Jack’s Abby House Lager

Jack's Abby House Lager
Jack's Abby

Whenever we see the term “house lager,” we know we’re going to like that beer. It means that you’re in for a crisp, refreshing, no-frills, crushable lager. Jack’s Abby House Lager is a year-round, 5.2% Helles-style lager. It’s known for its known for its sweet, caramel malt backbone as well as notes of cereal grains, citrus peels, honey, and floral, earthy hops. The finish is a nice mix of sweetness and floral hops.

Creature Comforts Classic City Lager

Creature Comforts Classic City Lager
Creature Comforts

Who doesn’t love a lager called Classic City Lager? This beer is exactly what you’d hope it would be. This year-round 4.2% ABV sessionable, crushable lager is known for its clean, fresh, easy-drinking flavor profile featuring bready malts, lemongrass, and floral, herbal, lightly piney hops. It’s the kind of beer you’ll want to throw into a koozie and sip while you flip burgers on a summer night.

Howdy Beer Western Pilsner

Howdy Beer Western Pilsner
Howdy Beer Western Pilsner

When it comes to throwback lagers, it’s difficult to beat the appeal of Howdy Beer Western Pilsner. This 4.5% ABV beer is known for its clean, hoppy, crushable flavor profile. A perfect accompaniment to an evening of grilling steak, it’s known for its flavor profile of sweet corn, citrus peels, slight minerality, and floral, earthy hops. The finish is crisp, and sweet, and leaves you craving one more.

Bottom line

narragansett brewing co

There’s no beating a crisp, crushable lager on a warm summer night spent standing around a hot grill. The heat of the coals and the sizzling meat and vegetables require a fresh, crisp, frosty beer. Any of the above beers is a perfect choice.

But, if you’d rather try a different beer, any pilsner, light lager, Helles-style, or even a Kolsch will do. If that’s not your jam, a nice wheat beer, pale ale, or West Coast IPA will do the trick as well. Mostly, we’re just trying to say that you should have a nice beer in one hand and tongs or a spatula in the other.

Editors' Recommendations

Christopher Osburn
Christopher Osburn is a food and drinks writer located in the Finger Lakes Region of New York. He's been writing professional
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