HonestBrew’s BBQ Beer Picks

Oh my! Is that the warm glow of the sun I feel upon my back!? After somehow escaping the icy grip of winter, sheltering from the unrelenting showers of spring and emerging from the darkness like a band of post-apocalyptic survivors, it’s time to once again defy our unpredictable climate and BARBECUE!

Sacrifice blackened (they’re not burnt!) sausages to the sun god, wear you sunburn with pride and crack open some perfectly chilled beers. Expect light session IPAs, crisp lagers & the odd smoky brew to go down a treat with those flame-grilled feasts. Oh yes!

Just remember, you don’t make friends with salad. Beer? Well, that’s a different matter. Whatever dishes you’re planning, whether it’s a super fresh salad, a behemoth of a burger, or a rich chocolate brownie, we’ve got the perfect beers to make your BBQ go with a bang. 

Salads & Veggies

From grilled spring vegetables to colourful summer salads, it’s always nice to have a bit of greenery on your plate alongside the mountain of bread and meat. Grassy German-style pilsners and hoppy lagers provide a light and refreshing pairing that mirrors the fresh, delicate and vibrant flavours packed inside all those vitamin and mineral rich veggies without overpowering what’s on your plate. Signature Brew’s refreshing Studio Pilsner is a brilliant companion. Traditional European Noble hop, Saaz, and a touch of rye work in tandem to provide enticing subtle flavours and a well rounded body, the aroma holds floral hints followed by a pleasing bitterness. Perfect for you to enjoy alongside all that healthy foliage.

Try: Signature Brew – Studio Pilsner – Pilsner 4%


There’s very little that you can’t put on a beef burger; avocado, onion rings, chorizo or just a hefty slice of cheese – they all make for great between the bun bedfellows. However, that doesn’t mean that any old beer will do your meaty concoction justice. A typical burger packs four of the five basic tastes known to man! Saltiness is provided by the meat and cheese, sourness by pickles and mustard, sweetness from a generous dollop of ketchup, and the fabled ‘umami’ is also found in the meat and certain cheeses. The missing link is bitterness! A chink in your burger’s armour that a robust black IPA can reinforce. The maltiness of the style will also work in harmony with those charred, smoky flavours that have infiltrated your burger during the cooking process. Beavertown’s signature black IPA, Black Betty, is a complex and contradictory beer that packs persisting bitter grapefruit and pine notes alongside ripe tropical flavours and a rich chocolatey malt base.

Try: Beavertown – Black Betty Black IPA 7.4%


Whether it’s an oily omega-3 packed sardine, a meaty fillet of monkfish or a freshly caught beast of a lobster, sour beers offer a wonderfully tart and refreshing accompaniment that slices through those gloriously fishy flavours in the same way as that useful but somewhat uninspired hunk of lemon sitting on the peripheries of your plate. Whatever your opinion of this wild and interesting style of beer (it will be an acquired taste for many) it’s set to take the summer by storm thanks to its palate puckering bite and aura of uniqueness. White wine and dry cider lovers will also find much to love about sours due to their acidic flavour profiles. Pumped full of gooseberry and crisp hop flavour, this fruity farmhouse saison from Somerset’s Wild Beer Co’s is a perfect partner to a perfectly cooked fish dish. 

Try: Wild Beer Co – Wild Goose Chase – Saison 4.5%


While it may be a good laugh stuffing a chicken carcass with a can of Budweiser before dropping the abomination you’ve just created atop a BBQ, we’d forgo that spectacle in favour of a far less sordid meeting between chicken and beer. As with any food and drink pairing, you don’t want to fall fowl and overpower one with the other. Complementing and matching flavours is key, and since the white meat of a chicken is rather delicate, but may well have been marinated in a sticky BBQ marinade, a sweet and malty amber ale makes for a perfect companion. Grain and hop fight for dominance in Gipsy Hill’s Southpaw amber ale, somehow both come out on top. The result is a bitter-sweet combination, bringing sharp citrus, whispers of toffee and lightly toasted malt flavours, finishing with a resolute bitterness. All while retaining its session beer status.

Try: Southpaw – Amber Ale 4.2%

Sausages & Spice

Despite the sausage regularly providing a punchline to BBQ related jokes – if you’re asked how you like your sausages cooked it’s probably time to leave – the Great British Banger is a backyard institution. Juicy, meaty and packed with a variety of tastes and textures, you can’t beat a good sausage! A hoppy India Pale Ale will counteract the fattiness of the meat with its juicy tropical flavours and refresh the palate in preparation for the next bite. The bitterness of IPAs also work especially well with spicy chilli infused sausages and other fiery food such as Mexican and Indian influenced grub. Inspired by the IPA’s of North East America. The Garden IPA pours golden in colour with a slight haze and a lingering tight, white head. Expect notes of pine, peach and passionfruit on the nose, orange, apricot on the palate.

Try: The Garden Brewery – IPA 6.5%


If chocolate lay on the horizon, maybe in the form of nutty chocolate brownie or generous wedge of Black Forest Gâteau, so should a rich and silky bottle of stout. Sweet, roasty and satisfyingly bitter – similarly to an after dinner coffee – a great stout goes a long way and offers a wonderful finale to any meal. Bristol’s Moor have brewed up an extremely fitting spiced porter alongside Milan-based craft pioneers Birrificio Lambrate. Orange peel, lemon, licorice, ginger, raisins and Jamaican allspice combine to form a beautifully rich and warming porter formed from classical British brewing and flamboyant Italian flavours.

Try: Moor v Lambrate – Last Minute Spiced Porter 7.1%

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