The Ultimate Beer Pairing Guide

There’s nothing quite like kicking it back with a beer in one hand and a snack in the other. Whether you’re having some mates over for a backyard barbeque or a hosting a dinner party, there’s always a place for some great beer snacks. 

To save you the trouble, we've put together a beer pairing guide that'll keep the party going. From pretzels to papadams, beef biltong to Bánh mì, you are sure to find some of the best beer pairings in this list. And trust us - the team at The Jerky Co. know good food. After all, we're not a couple of buddies who always have a good time. We have a great time.

beef biltong

1. Lager

Lagers are one of the most versatile beers you can find. They pair well with most food so you can get creative with the snacks, too. If you've tried any of our dried meats, you should have a taste of our latest creation we’ve been brewing up with some special friends. We’ve collaborated with Running With Thieves Brewery and put together some awesome beer and dried meat gift hampers. Get a mouth-watering mix of our most popular beef jerky, beef biltong, and our newest "Topside" lager in one place. Our meats go great with most other beers too, so help yourself!

 beer and dried meat gift hampers

Light Lagers

If you get a hold of some light lagers, note their crisp and clean flavours. You want to contrast them with something heavier like some bite-sized, saucy Korean BBQ chicken wings. You can also complement the lightness of the beer with anything savoury, like pretzels, wasabi peas, popcorn, and our juicy biltong.

Dark lagers

Dark Lagers tend to have lower levels of bitterness or acidity. This makes them the perfect beverage at any backyard barbecue. While you would usually have it with a meat fresh off the grill, the snack equivalent would be some caramelised party chips or our Smokey Jerky. 

2. Pale Ale

These summery drinks are perfect for the beach or the cricket. Its stronger hop and flavour is just enough that it doesn’t overpower your food. Pair it with stronger savoury snacks like some Cajun cheese balls, salt & vinegar chips, or some Asian snacks like Thai nut mix, prawn crackers, and Bánh mì. 

3. IPA

With a heavier hop, thicker taste, and noticeably bitter finish, the IPA goes well with food that is heavier, saltier, and more aromatic. Thai summer rolls paired with a lightly spicy green sauce have a delicious blend of Thai basil, a little mint, and some cilantro that go well with the more complex notes of IPA. Make your own green dipping sauce using lime juice, fresh chillies, minced garlic, and of course, fish sauce. Spicy tacos and tostadas are also a popular snack or appetiser to pair with this beverage.

4. Sour

Sour beers get their signature sourness from the lactic acid produced by certain bacteria strains during the fermentation process. Cured, dried, and fatty meats like our beef jerky, biltong, snap sticks or droewors all pair nicely with this tart beer.  Deep-fried onion rings and chips, sharper cheeses like goats cheese and cheddar, or fajita wraps all go with sour beer as well.

5. Porter beer/ Stout

Porter beers and stouts actually pair well with similar foods. BBQ ribs, brisket, party pies, and our air-dried meats make some of the best food pairings for porter and stout beets. A contrasting blue cheese will also be a good fit if you have some on hand.

6.  Pilsner

This refreshing beer carries bitter hops that can range from spicy, to herbal, to floral. A hotdog, spicy shrimp bites, or a Polish meat like cabanossi are some food pairings to bring out the complex notes of a Pilsner.  The high acidity of white cheddar and a lighter young goat's cheese also goes well with the bitterness of this beverage.

7. Wheat Beer

There are two main types of wheat beers that you will often come across that are German or Belgian. The creamy texture comes from unrefined yeast and wheat, giving it a signature taste. It goes with a range of different snacks including papadams, German currywurst (a port sausage), mussels, and even a sweet treat like a creamy banana pudding or mango sago dessert.

8. Amber Ale

This malty drink often has a hint of caramel and a bitter hop. It pairs well meaty, carb-rich snacks like meat pizza, brisket, burnt ends, jerk chicken, and our juicy beef biltong.  The crisp and dry taste of amber ale actually makes it quite versatile and can be enjoyed with many types of food and snacks.

9. Ginger Beer

While not strictly speaking a beer, if you are looking for a sweeter beer alternative, ginger beer can be a great choice. While often used as a cocktail mixer, Alcoholic Ginger Beer is a great standalone alternative for catering to all tastes. The light spiciness of ginger and citrusy notes put a refreshing spin on your summer. Pair this with a sweet sauce like a chutney dip, sweet and sour pork skewers, or our Sweet BBQ Jerky.  sweet bbq jerky

Get Your Beer Pairing Snack Fix

See something you like in our beer pairing guide? Then put on your imaginary chef's hat and serve up! Oh, and wash your hands too mate.  We know you can't resist tasting these beer pairings while you're preparing the food, but don't go sticking your fingers back into a freshly prepared basket of chips. And wait for your guests to arrive before popping the top off a beer. 

Speaking of beer snacks, you could serve a small handful of snacks wrapped for freshness alongside each beverage, or check out our blog on charcuterie board ideas for some inspiration on how to serve up a snack platter. And if you want to make things even easier on yourself, throw a bunch of complimentary bowls of nibbles onto a charcuterie board and let guests serve themselves. And if you're stuck on choosing an air-dried meat to pair with your beverages, check out our guide on biltong vs jerky to get started. And make sure to get extras because these meat treats go fast!
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