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Fire, Flavour & Froth: The Perfect UK Craft Beer & BBQ Pairing Guide

The sun's out, the grill's fired up, and the good times are rolling. But what truly elevates a summer BBQ in the UK? The perfect pairing of a delicious craft beer with your smoky grilled delights.

The UK craft beer scene is booming, offering a diverse range of flavours to complement your BBQ spread. Forget mass-produced lagers – let's explore how to match some of Britain's finest craft brews with your favourite BBQ dishes.

Gearing Up for Grilling:

Before we dive into pairings, let's consider the different elements at play:

  • Food Flavours: Sweet, smoky, spicy - each element in your dish needs a beer that can hold its own or complement it.
  • Bitterness: Hoppy beers can cut through rich meats, while sweeter styles pair well with spicy dishes.
  • ABV (Alcohol by Volume): Balance the intensity of your beer with the richness of the food.
  • Fat Content: Richer meats like ribs pair well with bolder beers, while leaner options like chicken benefit from lighter styles.

Pairing Powerhouses:

Now, let's get down to business! Here are some classic UK craft beer and BBQ pairings:

Beef: Pair with a strong Stout for a decadent combination.

  • American Pale Ale (APA): A hoppy APA cuts through the fat of a juicy steak, cleansing the palate for each bite. Try a well-known brew like Siren Craft Brew's "Blood Orange Paradise City."
  • English Porter: For richer cuts like brisket, a dark and malty English Porter like Oakham Ales' "Red Giant" is a perfect match.


  • English Pale Ale (EPA): A classic like Fyne Ales "Jarl" with its balanced malt and hop profile complements the diverse flavours in a burger.
  • Brown Ale: For a burger with smoky BBQ sauce, a nutty brown ale like Brown Cow Brewery's "Moo Man" adds a touch of sweetness.


  • Golden Ale: A light and refreshing golden ale like St Austell Brewery's "Tribute" cuts through the richness of grilled chicken, especially when paired with lighter sauces.
  • Saison: This farmhouse ale, like Hawkes Cidery's "Wild Thing," is known for its peppery and herbal notes, which pair beautifully with grilled chicken and summery salads.

Seafood: A crisp Pilsner or a light Kölsch complements the delicate flavours of fish.

  • Wheat Beer: A light and citrusy wheat beer like Wychwood Brewery's "Hobgoblin Gold" is perfect for delicate seafood like grilled fish.
  • English Bitter: For a smoky twist, try an English Bitter like Shepherd Neame's "Spitfire" with grilled salmon.

Vegetarian Delights: Consider a fruity wheat beer or a light Saison to pair with veggie burgers and grilled vegetables.

  • Sour Beer: For veggie burgers or grilled halloumi, a sour beer like BrewDog's "Punk AF Sour" adds a refreshing counterpoint.
  • Session IPA: A lower-alcohol session IPA like Cloudwater Brew Co's "DDH Citra" offers hoppy flavour without overpowering lighter vegetarian dishes.

Bonus Tip: Don't be afraid to experiment! With the ever-expanding world of UK craft beer, there's a perfect pairing waiting for every BBQ creation. Visit your local brewery or beer shop and ask for recommendations based on your menu.

The Final Sip:

Remember, the perfect pairing is subjective. The most important thing is to find a beer you enjoy that complements your food. So grab a cold one, fire up the grill, and raise a glass to a summer of delicious exploration with UK craft beer and BBQ!