Pair Wine And Beer with BBQs: A Simplified Guide

by: Jack Thompson

There is nothing as wonderful as enjoying a sizzling barbecue with a chilled well-matched drink, this adds to the beauty of even barbecuing in the first place.

Just so we don’t leave you making the mistake of eating dry barbecues like a burger with no drink to wash the tasty bites down, we excellently put this food and drink pairing chart together to make your barbecue all the better.

Choosing the right drink for your foods in itself is a cherished art and without guidance, you may match up the wrong foods and drinks which will not give you the best tastes that you should have.

So, come with us as we make you well in the know of this space in a simplified manner to also not confuse you in the process.

Have fun reading!

Simplified Food Pairing Chart

This drink and food infographic gives a simplified view all everything we’ve said.

BBQ drink pairing

Reposted with the permission of Jack Thompson at brobbq.com

A Delve into a Wine Pairing Chart

You’re probably like one of us that can’t have a good barbecue without a good drink to wash it down. So, you spend a ton of time figuring out which drink is best for what and so on. That’s a good thing friend, and right here, we make your life easier.

Barbecues often come with a blend of spices, aromas, and some texture and often require that liquid power to balance things out from the tip of the tongue and down the throat. To many, water does an amazing job at that but thanks to the skillful vitners and beer makers who contribute to the overall flavor and taste of barbecues through their wide range of products.

Choosing a drink for your barbecue comes with a bit of skill and knowledge just like you will when choosing your best smoker hence this guide for you. Different drinks work well with different barbecues and some drinks (a few) work well with everything. We like to call these kinds the BOOMERS!!

Understanding food and wine pairing.

We won’t act like we don’t know that understanding the different names of wines can be daunting. Mostly, you just run with either red wine for meats because they are stronger in aroma and taste, and white wine for fish because they are lighter in aroma and taste.

So you ought to be in the know and be conversant with the categories so if anybody puts you on the spot, you have your hat on like a pro.

The infographic below shares five (5) main wines that are the standards for pairing BBQs. Every other type that falls in their category, is a safe pairing element.

Cabernet Sauvignon

Being one of the best wines in the red wine category, there have come to be a strong likeness for its breed of grapes for their high level of tannin. This means that the Cabernet Sauvignon has the tendency of staying longer for many years with proven improved taste over the years.

It is a dry wine and not sweet usually leaving an effect of dryness in the mouth after taking. Therefore, the Cabernet Sauvignon should be taken with food for its alcohol content range of 13.5% to 15% per bottle plus its acidity and healthy tannin levels.

What type of food then fits a Cabernet Sauvignon?

All red meats are perfect for it. Cabernet is the safest option to have with all grilled steaks because if its rich fruit content and strong flavor. Spicy BBQs may not be the best option for the wines dryness.

Don’t limit yourself, however, it might work for you. Best thing, do a tasting first with the barbecue you’re about to have before serving.

Malbec

Trying to cut down some cost of a Cabernet Sauvignon? Go for Malbec. As a selected mix of blackberry, pomegranate, plum, blueberry, raspberry, raisin, and black cherry, it is a highly fruity flavored wine with lesser acidity levels than the Cabernet Sauvignon.

You can find a wide range of flavors for a Malbec giving you the option to explore different recipes with it. They come with a sweet tobacco finish in milk chocolate, violet flower, cocoa powder, and leather.

The tannin level is also lesser than the Cabernet making it an excellent option for leaner meats.

What should you take with Malbec?

Leaner red meats, all kinds of poultry, sole, root & green vegetables and a variety of cheese work perfectly. Rather, focus on spices that have a smoky or earthy flavor to create pleasant aromas in your mouth as you eat.

Spices like sumac, parsley, porcini powder, rosemary, thyme, black pepper, smoked paprika, green onion, shallot, juniper berry, cumin, clove, coriander, garlic, barbecue sauce, and garlic are great options.

Bordeaux

Bordeaux is simply any kind of wine made in Bordeaux, France but that’s not all there is to it, this range has some pretty good qualities that will turn your bbq into something amazing.

Bordeaux wine is a two range production of wines falling into the Left Bank which is dominated by the Cabernet Sauvignon being red wine and the Right Bank with Merlot taken charge as its white wine range.

The Merlot could be dry or sweet and really depends on what you are making, your wine option can be decided.

Which should go with Bordeaux?

Like mentioned earlier, the Cabernet Sauvignon works best with red meats because of its strong flavor and taste. Pretty much, the red wine collection under the Bordeaux works equally in this manner.

On the other hand, the Bordeaux white wine collection like the Merlot works perfectly for light foods; vegetables, fish, leaner meats, poultry, and cheese. Get these worked up on your best gas grill and you will be up for fabulous times.

Cava

Cava is a sparkling wine originating from Spain and could be easily be mistaken to be champagne. Although pretty close, the difference simply lies in the types of grapes used which do not make Cava sweet.

These three (3) main grapes are Macabeu (white grape), Xarel-lo (white grape), and Parellada (white grape) which get blended with other types of grapes for the white or rose colors and difference in flavor and taste that you get.

Cava is simply a mid- affordable wine that goes well with every light food.

Some light foods to use cava for

Use it for burgers, sausages, all types of poultry, fish, seafood, and root vegetables. Also, work with mild flavoring when barbecuing to give you a subtle blend of flavor.

Rose

This pink wine is unique for its production method which is farfetched from the way the red wine or white wine is made. Red or white wine is simply juiced out of the grapes and fermented over a period of time. This means red grapes produce red wine and white grapes produce white wine.

On the other hand, Rose goes through a process called maceration which produces the pretty pink color that is seen. Red wine is juiced out of red grapes and the grapes’ skin is allowed to sit with the juice for two to three day. Just when the juice begins to take on a beautiful pink color as the winemaker desires, then the skin is immediately removed.

The juice is then allowed to ferment and voila, pretty pink Rose for your tall glasses.
On cost, Rose ranges from affordable to expensive due to its wide range of products but truth be told, the best Rose wines are from Provence. If unsure of which kind to buy, just ask for the type from Provence, you’ll be grateful for this advise.

What should you take with a Rose?

Everything like the Cava and more. You’re in a good place when you have Rose with burgers, sausages, poultry, fish, seafood and then all types of vegetables and cheeses.

Which is the best wine for BBQ?

A pretty hard one but we’ve got the answer. Maybe we will spill it over a table of sumptuous BBQ…..we got you there!

The Malbec is the friend in need when cost is against you or time or indecision. It works well with all types of foods even with stronger flavored meats except you are really particular and will cringe if you can’t find a Cabernet Sauvignon.

The Malbec is affordable, widely available, and always taste great. Use it chilled and enjoy the flavors that it brings. Guess what? You can always save on a Merlot to buy some trendy best BBQ accessories to boost your barbecue life up.

A walk through a beer pairing chart

Beers may taste almost similar but vary in their outcomes especially when paired with different foods. Beer and food pairing is pretty tricky and the great trick for getting it right relies on your spicing.

When thinking of something heavier and carb loaded for a BBQ, beer is the right drink to consider and in this infographic below, we match some kinds with the foods that work best with them.

Porter

Porter is such an old beer, even older than Guinness, and yet still in available production till date. For its hearty taste, beef seems to be the best for it. It has an excellent nutty flavor with aromas of toffee making it blend well with the strongest flavor of beef.

Once beef is barbecued, the roasted aroma exuded blends well with the toffee aroma we talk of.

Brown & Blonde Ales

Brown ales are year-round beers which work well with beef, pork, and poultry. This pairing lends itself to its nutty and slightly nutty flavor while being slightly bitter. Really based on where brown ale is produced, either in America, England or Belgium, its taste could vary and hint with notes of chocolate and caramel.

The blonde ales, on the other hand, are averagely bitter with a higher use of malt in its production. They go best with some vegetables and stronger spicing of beef, pork, and poultry dishes.

German Lagers

German lagers have been a great collection dating back from over a century ago with the likes of the rauchbier, pilsner, and helles in its section which range from a high to low mixture of alcohol and hubs.

Although German Lagers may have had some backlash in recent times to be less of good than the American Lagers, we really still believe that they offer some unique great tastes and of course, we don’t expect all beers to be the same. There ought to be some variety, that’s the beauty of drinks.

Rauchbier

These are smoked beers made from a high portion of malt and one of the best kinds of beers to use for food pairing.

Use rauchbier for sausages and poultry for an unexplainable aroma and taste. They have strong meaty aromas hence something with lighter aromas will balance out nicely.

Pilsner / Helles

Pilsner beers can be likened to a Cava for its floral and sweet aroma and high carbonation. They are also a mixture of alcohol and hub which makes them work well with beef, poultry, vegetables, pork.

Pilsners made lately are often an expensive option to go for sometimes because of the difficulty to make them less stale than those of the earlier days.

Helles are the total opposites of Pilsners which are maltier and sweeter making them an excellent choice for fish, seafood, cheese, and veggies. They are a lighter colored beer and lighter in texture also.

IPA

IPAs are a breed from India with a lighter aroma than the Rauchbier making it a perfect pair for beef, poultry, pork, strong aroma cheeses, and vegetables.

IPAs are widely drunk beers and don’t look like there’s any stopping soon for the rich quality of alcohol and hub mixture that it comes with. They taste sweet, sour, salty, umami, and/ or bitter depending on the brand being used hence the wide range to choose from.

Make sure to enjoy it chilled as always and you won’t regret your choice.

Which is the best beer for pairing BBQ?

It’s almost difficult to mention just one beer that fits all needs, this puts us in a dilemma. However, from our review, the most likely beer to suit all needs will be the Ales as both combined fit very well with all food types.

Let’s say you have a full pack of either brown or blonde ales, just work with the flavoring of the food to give you a good balancing of whichever.

Some tips for pairing drinks with barbecue.

Always match your drink with your appetizer

The entrees walk you into those moments of pleasant eating and so you want to start the process right.

Considering the food type for the entrees in combination with the main meals helps in balancing the overall experience felt at the end.

Chilling you drink is ultimate

Of course else you’ll be on bland tastes. Beforehand, place your drink in the refrigerator and chill it during or before the period of your cook so you get the best results in consumption.

You don’t need to spend too much

The goal is to have a good taste at the end of it all and not break the bank. There is a wide range of competitor drinks for every expensive brand that offers almost the same taste and flavors. Go for those!

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