Dating back to the early Neolithic age, around 9500 BC, beer has been at the heart of the world’s diet. It is estimated that approximately 1/3 of the world’s population drinks beer, making it the number one drink outside of water.
Over the millenniums mankind has developed different ways of preparing food. However, something that has stayed constant is that beer has always accompanied what they eat. In fact, in modern society it is also assumed that beer will accompany certain foods. The best example of this is barbecue. Grilled meats have a smoky flavor that comes from the charcoal or wood that is being used. This flavor pairs perfectly with beer.
Grilling with Beer
Many individuals have chosen to include beer in their barbecue sauce. Why? Because beer has an amazing flavor. Unlike wine, vinegar, or some other citrus juice that is often used in barbecue sauce, beer is not acidic. This means that while it will add a delicious flavor to your meat, it is not going to break it down as quickly as a more acidic additive would. Additionally, since beer has a more mild and balanced flavor, it will not overpower or overwhelm the herbs and spices that are added to the barbecue sauce.
Another reason why grilling with beer and using beer in your barbecue sauce is a great idea is because beer is relatively cheap. For around five or six dollars, a person can get a very nice ale that is going to allow them to make a quart or more of barbecue sauce.
And let’s not forget the benefits of making marinades with beer. In addition to adding powerful flavors to meats, the alcohol content in beer is going to tenderize the meat by slightly breaking down its proteins.
Many avid grillers have commented on the benefits of using a light beer like an IPA when grilling beef during the summer months. Additionally, an IPA may be just the thing to give your shellfish or chicken the kick it needs to make it taste its very best.
Drinking The Right Beer with Your Grilled Meat
What beer is the right beer to drink with grilled meat? Well, there are many schools of thought on this. Many feel that steak, or any other type of beef, is best mixed with an American Amber or with a red ale. Others would argue that an English Porter, or English Stout is the best accompaniment to beef. Smoked beer, with its extremely robust and at times overwhelming flavor, complements beef due to the use of peat smoke in the beer’s flavoring.
On the other hand, pork pairs very well with an Irish red ale or on American pale lager. American pale lagers complement pork because they have a very deep malt flavor. Unlike other beers, these lagers have a complex bitterness.
An English Brown ale or an English dark mid-ale is a great complement to fish, chicken, and other light grilled meats. English Brown ale, for example, is a maltier beer that has a touch of sweetness. The full-bodied flavor that this beer provides pairs very well with the more subtle flavor that many fish and grilled chicken recipes provide.
Enjoy Beer in Its Variety
Individuals who live in North America have the benefit of a never ending variety of beer that can be paired with grilled meat. Everything from apricot ale all the way down to a chocolate stout ale, like the one produced by the Brooklyn brewery, adds a different touch of flavor to grilled meat.
Additionally, drinking a beer with your grilled meat brings health benefits. Dangerous heterocyclic aromatic amines that can be found in grilled meat are minimized or diffused by drinking beer with the food. This is especially the case when we are talking about drinking dark beer with grilled meat.