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We paired summer beers with grilled meats and veggies — these are our fave combos

Beer and grilled foods are meant to be enjoyed together

Beer and grill
iStock

There are many reasons to look forward to the summer months. First of all, you can wear shorts and flip-flops every day. It feels like the sun is shining constantly, the days feel endless, there seem to be limitless ponds, lakes, and pools to swim in, and best of all, it’s grilling season. While we love everything about summer, it’s the latter we enjoy the most. Especially when we pair summer grilling with a nice, frosty beer (or three).

When it comes to summer beer pairing, yard games are fun, sitting on a dock with your feet in a lake is great, and downing a crisp beer after an afternoon of lawnmowing is exceptional, but nothing beats the classic, timeless grilling beer.

Standing next to a grill, flipping burgers, and charring veggies with a beer in your hand is one of summer’s greatest activities. Simply sipping a crisp lager while you stand amongst the flames is great; the whole event is made even better when you pair the proper beer with the meat or vegetables you’re preparing.

Five beers paired with grilled meats and vegetables

Beer foaming over the glass
engin akyurt / Unsplash

Nobody will fault you for opening up a double IPA or wheat beer and drinking it while you tuck in to eat your grilled masterpiece. But there’s a better way to get the most out of your summer beer experience. Certain beers pair better with specific meats and vegetables. Keep scrolling to see summer’s best beer pairings.

Cheeseburger and Bell’s Two Hearted IPA

Bell's Two Hearted IPA
Bell's

When it comes to grilled meat, the cheeseburger is the undisputed summer champion. If you’re going to get the most out of your cheesy, beefy, sometimes bacon-covered, and special sauce-slathered burger, you’re going to want to pair it with a great IPA. The lemon, grapefruit, and dank, bitter pine of a Bell’s Two IPA cut through the salty, savory, rich flavors of the burger in the best way possible.

Grilled chicken and Oskar Blues Dale’s Pale Ale

Oskar Blues Dale’s Pale Ale
Oskar Blues

If beef isn’t your thing, you might be a fan of marinated and grilled (sometimes borderline blackened) chicken. If made well, grilled chicken can be the centerpiece of your summer feast. Pair it with a great pale ale like Oskar Blues Dale’s Pale Ale to get to the most out of the flavor experience. The savory, meaty, salty flavor of the grilled chicken pairs perfectly with the citrus, floral, and light pine of this popular pale ale.

Grilled pork chops and 3 Floyds Gumballhead Wheat

3 Floyds Gumballhead Wheat
3 Floyds

When it comes to underrated grilled foods, it’s difficult to beat the grilled pork chop. It might not have the same clout as the burger or grilled chicken, but it’s no less delicious when made properly. The richness and salt of the pork pairs well with the wheat, citrus, and gentle spice of a well-made wheat beer. When we grill marinated pork chops, we usually reach for a bottle or two of 3 Floyds Gumballhead Wheat. The addition of dry-hopping adds even more flavor.

Grilled portobello mushrooms and North Coast Scrimshaw Pilsner

North Coast Scrimshaw
North Coast

If you aren’t a meat-eater, there aren’t as many choices when it comes to grilled foods. One of the best is marinated and grilled portobello mushrooms. Known for their earthy, rich, meaty, savory, umami flavor, portobello mushrooms pair well with a crisp, balanced pilsner. A great choice is North Coast Scrimshaw with its toasted malt, cracker malt backbone with honey, citrus, and gently floral hops.

Sausage and peppers and Narragansett Lager

Narragansett Lager
Narragansett

Sausage and peppers on the grill are a summer staple. The crack of the sausage casing, filled with savory, spiced, flavorful mystery meat is already perfect when paired with sweet, vegetal grilled peppers. If you want to turn your backyard summer meal up to eleven, you’ll add a malty, sweet, refreshing lager. When it comes to no-frills, crisp, malty thirst-quenchers, nothing beats a classic Narragansett Lager. The most famous prop (besides the shark) in ‘Jaws’, the bready malts, honey, citrus and floral hops work well to cut the spicy, savory, sweet flavors of the sausages and peppers.

Bottom line

Grill and beer
Dusan Petkovic / Shutterstock

If you want, you can give each of our pairings a try this summer. We think you’ll be happy you did. Otherwise, simply add your favorite IPA, pilsner, wheat beer, lager, and pale ale when preparing these grilled dishes. All in all, have fun with it. Nobody is going to judge you for the way (and when) you enjoy a crisp, refreshing summer beer. Certainly not us. Just try to have at least one beer this summer while you’re eating a cheeseburger with your feet hanging off a dock into a lake.

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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