The Best Beers To Drink While You Grill This Summer, According To A Panel Of Craft Beer Experts

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If you’re spending an afternoon or evening standing beside a burning hot grill on a humid summer day, you’re going to need a cold beverage to sip. And while water is a necessity on hot days, nothing goes better with grilled steaks, hamburgers, hot dogs, sausages, and various grilled vegetables than a nice, cold beer.

And while I usually prefer to pour my beer into a nice pint glass when I eat dinner, the act of grilling a meal simply requires a bottle or can. Pop a top or crack a can, rest it next to the grill and get to work. And by work I mean stand next to the grill sipping a cold one while the heat does its job. Give your family a wave of the tongs every now and then to remind them of your sacrifices for their sustenance.

Yet all this raises an important question: what beer pairs best with grilling? The simplest answer is that the perfect beer for grilling is whatever beer you enjoy. But while you can’t go wrong with the old standbys, it’s always fun to discover new things, especially if those new things are frosty and cold.

To that end, we once again turned to the pros for help. We asked a few of our favorite craft beer experts, brewers, and beer professionals to tell us the best beers to pair with an afternoon of grilling. Keep scrolling to see all of their picks.

Firestone Walker Union Jack

Firestone Walker Union Jack
Firestone Walker

Jeremy Marshall, brewmaster at Lagunitas Brewing in Petaluma, California

ABV: 7%

Average Price: $10.50 for a six-pack

Why This Beer?

I’m not a big meat eater, but I do like to grill. I can’t resist fire. Therefore, I do have a grilling beer and as far as IPAs go, I’d have to say Union Jack by Firestone Walker. Matt Brynildson (from Firestone Walker) is as big a fan of Simcoe hops as am I, and Union Jack is like blasting your face behind the harvester in early September. It is one of the earlier popular IPAs from the 2000s that remains balanced and timeless even after all that has happened to the category.

Lost National Lokal Resident

Lost National Lokal Resident
Lost Nation

Matt Canning, assistant manager and beer concierge at Hotel Vermont in Burlington, Vermont

ABV: 5.5%

Average Price: Limited Availability

Why This Beer?

You’re overthinking it if you don’t go in this direction: pale lager pairs best with all food, especially grilled food. Lost Nation Lokal Resident comes to mind, with just enough bitterness and a clean finish. This Czech-style pilsner is known for its crisp, easy-drinking flavor, and it pairs perfectly with grilling.

Fort Myers High 5

Fort Myers High 5
Fort Myers

Dan Esperon, owner and brewer at Crazy Dingo Brewing Co in Fort Myers, Florida

ABV: 5.9%

Average Price: $11.99 for a six-pack

Why This Beer?

There’s nothing quite like a juicy burger paired with an ice-cold IPA. Personally, when grilling I prefer something with a little more bite like a traditional West Coast IPA like the popular High 5 from Fort Myers Brewing. No frills, just a good clean and pure IPA.

Altamont Beer Works Maui Wowie

Altamont Beer Works Maui Wowie
Altamont

Eric Espinoza, bartender at Signia by Hilton in San Jose, California

ABV: 6.5%

Average Price: $16.50 for a four-pack of 16-ounce cans

Why This Beer?

Best beer for burgers or grilling in general? Anything that says “IPA” in my opinion. If I had to choose a burger IPA, it’d be Altamont Beer Works Maui Wowie. This is actually one of my favorite IPAs. I love the Citra and Mosaic hops it features. Summer makes me think of burgers, barbecue, and this.

3 Stars Ultra Fresh

3 Stars Ultra Fresh
3 Stars

Jeff Hancock, co-founder and brewmaster at DC Brau in Washington DC

ABV: 8.3%

Average Price: Limited Availability

Why This Beer?

When it comes to a beer to pair with a day of grilling, I’m going to have to say 3 Stars Brewing’s Ultra Fresh Imperial IPA. I love it because it’s a local offering – so you can get it uber fresh. The great thing about this Imperial IPA is that the hops are different with each batch, showcasing the freshest hops the brewery has to offer. I love beers that keep me guessing.

Toppling Goliath King Sue

Toppling Goliath King Sue
Toppling Goliath

Courtney Servaes, owner of Servaes Brewing Company in Kansas City

ABV: 7.8%

Average Price: $17.99 for a four-pack of 16-ounce cans

Why This Beer?

Whenever I am grilling, I have to have an IPA in hand. One of my all-time favorite IPAs is King Sue by Toppling Goliath. It is an imperial IPA with Citra hops. It is juicy and sweet which makes it a great pairing for a variety of foods. It’s hard to beat on a hot summer day.

Trillium Vicinity

Trillium Vicinity
Trillium

Nancy Lopetegui, taproom general manager at Wynwood Brewing in Miami

ABV: 8%

Average Price: $7.99 for a 16-ounce can

Why This Beer?

Vicinity by Trilium Brewing. The citrusy profile and hops from IPAs pair perfectly with grilled meats and also cut the fattiness from certain cuts. Trillium is the kind of brewery that makes nothing but great beers and Vicinity is no different.

Taproot Burnout Smoked Helles

Taproot Burnout Smoked Helles
Taproot

Justin Tisdale, head brewer at Rejects Beer Co. in Middletown, Rhode Island

ABV: 4.6%

Average Price: Limited Availability

Why This Beer?

Taproot Brewing in Middletown Rhode Island makes their Burnout Smoked Helles Lager, and it’s the best thing to pair with anything off the grill. Subtle smoke. Huge malt flavor. Balanced hops. Kevin Beachem (brewer at Taproot) crushed it with this one. Every time I see him, I have to stroke his ego a little bit and express my jealousy for him landing so close to the pin on such an amazing example of the style.

Brooklyn East IPA

Brooklyn East IPA
Brooklyn

Dan Lipke, head brewer at Clown Shoes Beer in Boston

ABV: 6.9%

Average Price: $10.99 for a six-pack

Why This Beer?

Brooklyn Brewery’s East IPA will pair great with grilled meats. An example of a classic English IPA its balance of sweet malt hops, and bitterness will make it a better companion than West Coast or Hazy IPAs. Bigger on malt sweetness and more subdued on hop aroma and flavor, its refreshing bitterness will help cut through the bold flavors from your grill.

Sierra Nevada Summerfest

Sierra Nevada Summerfest
Sierra Nevada

Chris Pinns, tasting room manager at Societe Brewing in San Diego

ABV: 5%

Average Price: $24 for a 12-pack

Why This Beer?

Sierra Nevada Celebration is great with grilled foods. The classic “C” fresh hops in this beer are balanced perfectly by a more caramelized malt backbone than one sees in modern-day IPAs. It’s this malt character that creates a divine accompaniment to the caramelization on the grilled meats, while the fresh hops burst in to refresh your palate for the next delicious bite. Since it’s not available in the summer, I’ll go with Sierra Nevada Summerfest instead. It’s crisp, light, summery, and goes great with all summer activities. Especially grilling.

Anchor Liberty IPA

Anchor Liberty IPA
Anchor

Marshall Hendrickson, co-founder and head of operations at Veza Sur Brewing Co. in Miami

ABV: 6.3%

Average Price: $4.99 for a 12-ounce bottle

Why This Beer?

Anchor Brewing Co. Liberty IPA is my go-to. Being from San Francisco originally, Liberty IPA was always in the cooler during any family barbecue. I love this beer for many reasons. It’s well crafted, drinks well alone but goes especially well with food, and perhaps most importantly, it’s very nostalgic for me as it reminds me of family barbecues.

Bell’s Two Hearted Ale

Bell’s Two-Hearted Ale
Bell

Mike Jacobs, pub brewery innovation manager at Goose Island Brewhouse in Chicago

ABV: 7.1%

Average Price: $10.99 for a six-pack

Why This Beer?

Two Hearted by Bell’s is a great grilling beer. An all-time great IPA, the fresh-cut pine hop aromas match up with the intensity of the smoke. The caramel malt sweetness pairs with the caramelization and Maillard flavors of a hard sear and the firm bitterness helps to cleanse the palate and bring out the full flavor of the meat.

Source: https://uproxx.com/life/best-beers-to-drink-while-grilling/

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