When it comes to Memorial Day celebrations, we tend to think of firing up the grill and throwing a couple of extra delicious M’s in front of Mmmemorial. And for good reason; Memorial Day is the 2nd most popular day to cook up some backyard BBQ in America! (the first being Independence Day)
Grilling up hotdogs and hamburgers is an American tradition, but what you wash it down with can make all the difference in the world. The right beer can elevate subtle flavors while the wrong one can diminish all of the delicious highlights.
That’s why we’ve decided to take a hot minute to help you follow some basic grill guidelines for pairing a beverage with your feast.
A classic hamburger with its simple and savory ingredients pairs wonderfully with an oatmeal stout, as the bitterness and sweetness of the beer contrasts nicely with the umami taste of the burger.
A classic cheeseburger is an excellent partner for a fresh hopped beer like Deschutes Hop Trip. An intense hops flavor and heavy notes of floral and citrus play well off the melty cheese of a solid cheeseburger.
Now for the next level of burger goodness: the bacon cheeseburger. All the salty, fatty deliciousness of this burger needs to be cut by a tart and funky sour beer like the Austin Beerworks Einhorn, a sour wheat that’s light and refreshing.
Sometimes all you need are two great toppings to make a fantastic burger. A mushroom and swiss burger does just that and works perfectly when balanced by a dark roasted porter like Founders Brewing Porter.
Adding blue cheese and caramelized onions is another way to add a funky spin to your burger. And nothing goes better with funky than Gueuze. Try Lindeman’s Oude Guezue for a lovely pairing with blue cheese and sweet caramelized onions.
The BBQ burger is what happens when you add a dusting of chili spice, sweet barbecue sauce, sharp cheddar, smoky bacon and fried onions to your burger. It’s a messy handful that is best paired with a Weihenstephan Hefeweissbier. The tart maltiness and hints of banana and clove works well with a burger like this.
The go-to baseball park style hot dog topped with ketchup, spicy mustard and sauerkraut pairs wonderfully with a Belgian-style beer. The rich malt flavors, spice, and fruit of a Belgian pair well with both the dog and the condiments.
A Chicago dog (mustard, relish, chopped onion, tomato, pepperoncini, and a dash of salt) work great with an earthy and crisp saison!
The chili dog is a messy favorite and its subtle flavors go wonderfully with a wheat beer. If your chili is on the spicier side, a hoppy IPA will enhance the heat and balance the sharpness of shredded cheese melting on top.
And just in case you like to grill up some wings to keep your guests at bay while you’re still cooking…
Traditional Buffalo and Helles Lager: The vinegar kick of this classic wing sauce can be tempered by the subtle sweetness and balance of a Helles Lager.
Honey Mustard and Berliner Weisse: The light tartness and refreshing quality of a Berliner Weisse makes it an appropriate pairing for nearly any wing, but it’s an especially good partner for the tanginess of honey mustard.
Coconut Curry and Belgian Tripel: This Thai-inspired sauce finds a friend in one of Belgium’s most well-known styles. The spicy notes imparted by Belgian yeast—think pepper, clove and lemon—complement the coconut and curry.
Barbecue and Schwarzbier: Light in body yet dark in color, a Schwarzbier’s mild notes of chocolate and coffee are the perfect complement for a sweet and smoky barbecue sauce.
Caribbean Jerk and Scotch Ales: With a sweet blend of caramel and dark fruit notes, scotch ales can cool the Scotch Bonnet heat of a traditional jerk sauce.
Teriyaki and Belgian Dubbel: Dark malts find their match in the sweeter side of teriyaki sauce, while a Belgian dubbel’s yeast-driven notes of apple and pear play well with teriyaki spices like ginger and soy.