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8 Different Beers to Pair With Your Favorite BBQ Ribs

Pilsners, Pale Ales, and Saisons.

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Beer & BBQ Ribs Pairing 2024

Outside of bourbon, the editors of Brostrick love all things beer related. So it only made sense to debut our newest franchise “Bros & Brews” where we cover some of our favorite beers, beer pairings and everything in between.  Got a beer recommendation or question for our editors?  Ask us at

Nothing beats the succulent, smoky goodness of BBQ ribs paired with the perfect beer. It doesn’t really matter if you’re a fan of sweet and sticky, spicy, or tangy ribs, there’s definitely the perfect beer (or beers!) out there to complement and elevate each and every bite.  And if you think BBQ ribs are only for summer grilling…nope!  We actually grill all year round.  The only thing that may change is our beer selection based on the season and the rib sauce, style, or even dry rub that we’re using.

After having a little too much fun putting together our first pizza and beer pairing we thought it only made sense to move on to our second favorite food; ribs.  So, let’s explore some delicious pairings that will make your ribbing totally unforgettable.

Beers That Go With BBQ Ribs

Classic BBQ Ribs + American Pale Ale

Classic BBQ ribs, with their sweet, tangy, and slightly smoky flavor profile, pair pretty perfectly with an American Pale Ale. The moderate hop bitterness and citrusy notes of an APA balance the sweetness of the BBQ sauce, while the malt backbone complements the rich, smoky meat.

Specific Beer Recommendations: 

  • American Pale Ale: Sierra Nevada Pale Ale (USA) – Known for its balanced hop character and citrusy notes, it cuts through the sweetness and enhances the smoky flavors.

  • American Pale Ale: Dale’s Pale Ale by Oskar Blues Brewery (USA) – Offers a perfect blend of hop bitterness and malt sweetness, creating a perfect pairing with classic BBQ ribs.

Spicy BBQ Ribs + India Pale Ale (IPA)

Spicy BBQ ribs, often featuring a hot and peppery rub or sauce, need a beer that can stand up to the heat. An IPA, with its bold hop bitterness and often citrusy or piney flavors, provides a refreshing contrast to the spice. The higher carbonation helps to cleanse the palate between bites, making each mouthful as exciting as the first.

Specific Beer Recommendations: 

  • IPA: Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA (USA) – With its intense hop profile and balanced malt sweetness, it complements and cools the spiciness of the ribs.

  • IPA: Stone IPA (USA) – Known for its bold hop bitterness and citrusy flavors, it pairs perfectly with spicy BBQ ribs.

Sweet and Sticky Ribs + Brown Ale

Sweet and sticky ribs, glazed with a sugary BBQ sauce, are best paired with a beer that has a rich, malty backbone. A Brown Ale, with its caramel and nutty flavors, complements the sweetness of the glaze and the smokiness of the meat. The malt-forward profile enhances the overall taste experience, creating a pretty wild balance.

Specific Beer Recommendations: 

  • Brown Ale: Newcastle Brown Ale (UK) – Offers a smooth, caramel malt profile that pairs well with the sweet, sticky ribs.

  • Brown Ale: Samuel Smith’s Nut Brown Ale (UK) – Known for its rich, nutty flavors and smooth finish, it complements the sugary glaze beautifully.

Dry Rub Ribs + Amber Ale

Dry rub ribs, seasoned with a blend of spices and herbs, have a more pronounced savory and smoky flavor. An Amber Ale, with its toasty, caramel malt profile, enhances the spices and adds a subtle sweetness that balances the overall taste. The medium-bodied nature of Amber Ale makes it a versatile pairing for these flavorful ribs.

Specific Beer Recommendations: 

  • Amber Ale: Bell’s Amber Ale (USA) – Known for its balanced malt character and toasty flavors, it pairs well with the complex spices of dry rub ribs.

  • Amber Ale: Fat Tire Amber Ale (USA) – Offers a smooth, biscuity malt profile with a hint of sweetness, enhancing the savory flavors of the ribs.

Smoked Ribs + Porter or Stout

Smoked ribs, with their deep, smoky, and often slightly charred flavors, benefit from a beer that can match their intensity. Porters and stouts, with their rich, roasted malt profiles and notes of chocolate, coffee, and caramel, complement the smoky ribs perfectly. The robust flavors of these dark beers enhance the meat’s natural smokiness and add depth to each bite.

Specific Beer Recommendations: 

  • Porter: Founders Porter (USA) – Offers a robust malt character with hints of chocolate and caramel, perfect for balancing the smoky flavors.

  • Stout: Guinness Draught (Ireland) – Its creamy texture and roasted malt flavors provide a smooth and complementary backdrop to the deep smokiness of the ribs.

Korean BBQ Ribs + Saison

Korean BBQ ribs, often marinated in a sweet and savory blend of soy sauce, garlic, ginger, and sugar, require a beer that can complement the umami-rich flavors. A Saison, with its fruity and spicy yeast character, pairs beautifully with the complex marinade. The effervescence and slight tartness of a Saison cut through the richness of the meat, creating a refreshing balance.

Specific Beer Recommendations: 

  • Saison: Saison Dupont (Belgium) – Known for its peppery and citrusy notes, it pairs beautifully with the sweet and savory flavors of Korean BBQ ribs.

  • Saison: Boulevard Tank 7 Farmhouse Ale (USA) – Offers a complex, fruity, and slightly spicy character that complements the rich marinade.

Memphis-Style Ribs + Pilsner

Memphis-style ribs, typically dry-rubbed and slow-cooked, have a distinct flavor profile that is savory and slightly tangy. A Pilsner, with its light, crisp, and slightly bitter profile, provides a refreshing contrast that enhances the smoky and spicy flavors of the ribs. The clean finish of a Pilsner cleanses the palate, making each bite as enjoyable as the first.

Specific Beer Recommendations: 

  • Pilsner: Pilsner Urquell (Czech Republic) – The original Pilsner, with a balanced bitterness and a crisp, refreshing finish, pairs well with the savory spices of Memphis-style ribs.

  • Pilsner: Victory Prima Pils (USA) – Known for its floral and herbal hop character, it complements the tangy and smoky flavors of the ribs.

Let's Call It a Day

Ribs and beer are a match made in heaven, bringing together the best of smoky, savory, sweet, and spicy flavors with the refreshing, complex, and balanced profiles of various beers. Whether you’re grilling up classic BBQ ribs, indulging in spicy or sweet and sticky varieties, or exploring regional favorites, there’s a beer that will enhance every bite. So fire up the grill, crack open a cold one, and enjoy the ultimate pairing experience!