Backyard Barbecue Recipes

recipe photo

I

n matching beer to sausage, here are a few simple guidelines for the knowledgeable host. Take the beer selection of Magnolia Pub and Brewery in San Francisco for example. Brewmaster Dave McLean and Head Brewer Ben Spencer have around 11 beers on draft and five ales in casks at any given time. Pale–colored beers break down into the Kalifornia Kolsch, Piper Pale, Pork Lord and three intensely–flavored IPAs. On the amber to dark end, they have bitters, barleywines, gruits and stouts that follow old European recipes.

In general, white, veal–based sausages like bockwurst and bratwurst or chicken sausages complement the palest beers like crisp pilsner and wheat Hefeweisen lagers. Pair spicy sausages with light, refreshing pale beers. Richer sausage with garlic and spices work well with medium–bodied amber ales like steams and IPAs all the way to bitters and porters with more hops and more dark–roasted malt. Stouts and barleywines, the richest, darkest beers of the bunch can take on the most intense smoked sausages.

Keep a few things in mind as you pair. Go with similar intensity of flavors so that neither will overwhelm the other. Regional fare, such as German sausage and German beer, are designed to match perfectly. It’s easy to serve a lighter beer with richly flavored sausage, but the opposite — lighter sausage with darker or more intense beer — is less successful. But the most important thing is to play with these options because in the end, the fun part is finding all this out for yourself.