Barbecue beers: Lagers, IPAs and stouts to go with food in the sun

Beerista: Eating outside? Start with a lager or session ale, then switch to a fuller flavour

It’s no accident that lagers have less flavour than other beers. Mass-market ones are often crisp, thirst quenching and a bit bland, Czech and German pilsners can be more bitter and interesting, but the general idea is to fall under the heading of easy drinking.

Which is exactly what you’ll need if you’re the lucky person on barbecue duty should the weekend bring good weather – or if you’re standing around, in the sun, having a beer before the food arrives. Something refreshing and not too intense, in bitterness or alcohol, is the best way to kick off proceedings.

For a good Irish craft lager, try Boyne Brewhouse's 5-per-cent alcohol Vienna Lager – you'll get it in most supermarkets – which is made with German malts and hops, and comes in handy 330ml cans. Another good option is Wicklow Wolf's Arcadia, a 4.5 per cent Kölsch-style lager, and it's gluten free.

If you're not a fan of lagers, a session beer is a good alternative, although keep an eye on the ABV, as it can vary a lot in this category. Rascals Happy Days is a 4.1 per cent pale ale with lots of melon and mango flavour on top of a malty backbone. McGargles's limited-edition Daragh's Grapefruit Session IPA, at 3.8 per cent, is light bodied with a touch of hoppiness and a lovely pithy grapefruit bitterness.


When you switch to food, change your beer to something with a bit more flavour – but only if you're eating something with plenty of flavour too. Stone Barrel's Mojo is a northeastern-style IPA at 6 per cent, with low bitterness and loads of juicy tropical fruits, that will pair well with fruitier marinades or sauces, such as Jamaican jerk seasoning.

Crossroads is a 6.2 per cent American-style IPA by Kinnegar, with a good malty body and heaps of citrus and tropical fruit; it will also work with barbecued meats.

For something a little different, try a dark beer with smoky pork ribs or brisket – O Brother's Bonita or the Porterhouse's Wrasslers XXXX stout should do nicely.