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McGonigle’s Staff Picks: Best Beer Pairings for Grilling Season


It’s officially summer, which means it’s time to fire up the grill and crack open a cold one. Check out McGonigle’s staff picks for our favorite beers to go with all your latest grilling creations.



The only thing better than a juicy burger fresh off the grill is having a beer to go along with it. Experts suggest an IPA or a pale ale.

An IPA will complement a nice char on your burger with their contrasting bitterness, and a pale ale will elevate your burger as a crisp and hoppy palate cleanser to cut through the greasy goodness.



McGonigle’s Picks:

  • IPA: Lil’ Helper Midwest IPA (Mother’s Brewing Co. in Springfield, MO)

“Great flavor, hoppy, but not over the top”

  • Pale Ale: Dale’s Pale Ale (Oskar Blues in Longmont, CO)

“Another beer with lots of malty, crisp flavor.”


Summertime sausages are a barbecue favorite. Pair these flavorful links with a copper ale, brown ale or a Belgian lager.

Copper ales pack a big punch of flavor with a body big enough to balance a meaty sausage. A brown ale offers a nutty undertone that pairs great with the spices used in most sausages. For a lighter option, go with a Belgian lager. This adds a nice, brisk bite to cut through some of the fat in a good sausage.

McGonigle’s Picks:

  • Copper Ale: Two Hearted Ale (Bell’s Brewing Co. in Kalamazoo, MI)

“I suggest this copper ale, it has more flavor & body than an amber ale”

  • Brown Ale: Newcastle Brown Ale (Newcastle Brewery in England)

“Classic brown ale, nutty and buttery.”

  • Belgian Lager: Stella Artois (Belgium)

“Very clean and crisp, with a bite of hops”


A good steak has just the right amount of fat and the perfect amount of seasoning. The best types of brews to complement this flavorful meat is a stout or a brown ale.

Watch: Mike McGonigle – How to Grill a Steak to Perfection

A stout offers a roasty bitterness that gives a great contrast to the fat in a steak, while also complementing the seasoning. A brown ale will pair well with a leaner steak, such as a hanger steak. A brown ale packs a similar punch of flavor as a stout, only in a smaller, less in your face manner.


McGonigle’s Picks:

  • Stout: Guinness (Dublin, Ireland)

“Go with Guinness. It’s toasty with a light mouthfeel.”

  • Brown Ale: Moose Drool Brown Ale (Big Sky Brewing Co. in Missoula, MT)

“More flavor & maltiness than Newcastle.”


Seafood tends to be light and fresh, with buttery flavors and different textures. To complement the crisp flavors in seafood, we suggest a pilsner or a blonde ale.

See: Check out our seafood cooking tips, recipes, and more!

A pilsner is a bit drier, with a hint of bitterness that can balance the rich, buttery texture and flavor of a fish like salmon. Blonde ales are a great match for seafood because they offer a flavorful taste, while highlighting the more delicate flavors found in seafood.


McGonigle’s Picks:

  • Pilsner: Pilsner Urquell (Plzen, Czech)

“The classic pilsner. Crisp and a bit tart.”

  • Blonde Ale: Abbey of Leffe’s Blonde Ale (Belgium)

“Light in color but lots of flavor. Fruity with a touch of earthiness.”


Although chicken is a light meat, throwing it on the grill gives it a whole new flavor profile. To bring out the charred perfection of grilled chicken, we’d go with an amber ale, brown ale, or a wheat ale.

Related Read: McGonigle’s Market’s Favorite Seasonings & Rubs

Amber and brown ales carry flavors that boost the grilled flavor and caramelization of grilled chicken, without overpowering the chicken like a heavier beer might. Pairing grilled chicken with a wheat ale is great to bring out marinades. Wheat ales are also super flavorful, yet subtle enough to keep the flavorful grilled chicken the main attraction.


McGonigle’s Picks:

  • Amber Ale: Fat Tire Ale (New Belgium Brewing Co in Ft. Collins, CO)

“This one has a lighter flavor than Two Hearted, which is better for lighter meat.”

  • Brown Ale: Moose Drool Brown Ale (Big Sky Brewing Co. in Missoula, MT)

“More flavor & maltiness than Newcastle.”

  • Wheat Ale: Paulaner Hefe Weizen (Munich, Germany)

“A wheat ale with light flavor, but good body & mouthfeel.”

Find it All at McGonigle’s Market

Stop by McGonigle’s Market today to find all of our staff picks and more grilling inspiration for your next meal! We have a passion for our products and would love to help you find exactly what you’re looking for.


Can’t stop by the store? Order premium steaks online and have them shipped straight to your doorstep or give us a call at (816) 444-4720 for more information!


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