At BBQ Island, we’re big fans of Arizona’s craft beers – and not just because they’re local. The 48th state churns out some of the best brews in the Southwest. Several AZ breweries received awards at last year’s World Beer Cup Competition, and one was actually named the best new brewery in the world by RateBeer.com. From bitter stouts and porters to summery ales, there’s a hoppy Arizona beverage that will pair well with your grilled feast.
Here are five of our favorite local craft beer & BBQ pairings for 2017.
1. Refuge IPA at Arizona Wilderness Brewing Co.
AZ Wilderness founder Jonathan Buford weathered unemployment and bankruptcy before a Kickstarter campaign helped fund the town of Gilbert’s first brewery. Available in 32 oz. cans, Refuge is described as a “West Coast IPA brewed with Centennial, Simcoe, Cascade, and Columbus hops.” Pair it with a tangy Carolina-style sauce, which fairs well on pulled pork or ribs.
2. Oak Creek Nut Brown Ale
Subtle and nutty, Sedona’s most popular nut brown earned Gold and Bronze medals at the North American Brewers’ Association competition. The taste is subtle and malty, making it an ideal companion for brisket and smoked sausages. It’s also readily available in 6-packs. Grill up spicy brats and have a few dozen brews ready on ice in a Cordova cooler – aka the Cadillac of ice chests.
3. Prescott Brewing Achocolypse Porter
It took Arizona brewers three years to perfect the perfect chocolate porter, but it was worth the wait. At 5.6 ABV with an overall rating of 91 on ratebeer.com, Prescott’s Achocolypse is a rich, nutty brew with notes of dark and white chocolate. While it may be tempting to pair this sweet porter with grilled desserts, you could end up with a belly ache or suffering the “sugar coma.” Offset the sweetness with a thick, juicy ribeye or filet. According to Serious Eats, porters play well with meaty steaks.
4. SanTan Heavy D
There’s an art (and some chemical-based science) to matching brews with food, especially when it comes to more unusual pours. At 9.2%ABV, Heavy D is so intense and rich that it’s served in a 10-oz. brandy snifter. This whopper of a beer becomes even more potent when served with sugar, so try toning it down with dry-rubbed meats that play up the pepper and spices.
5. Papago Orange Blossom Ale
The delicate fruit flavor of this popular light beer is a great match for wings or grilled chicken. Because the orange blossom flavor can be subtle, the best way to really highlight its citrusy floral undertone is to pair the brew with a smoky contrast. Prepare your clucker in a pellet grill like the Wi-Fi enabled Memphis Advantage Plus 430, which comes with 5 free bags of wood pellets plus tools including a meat probe and grate kit. Hickory and mesquite will produce the strongest flavor, while pecan really hits the sweet spot.
Barbecue and beer is a natural pairing – like chocolate and wine, or Han Solo and Chewbacca. With our suggested brews and ‘cue, you’ll be the hit of your next backyard party. For the best selection of barbecue grills and tools, plus helpful grilling tips, visit your local BBQ Island store today.