Grilled wild game meat and mug of beer

Choosing the Right Beer to Pair with Wild Game

Legendary Whitetails 12.22.2016

Just like the right wine, serving the right beer with your meal can elevate it to a whole new level. However, unlike wine, beer with wild game is a meal without pretension, but it still features the flavorful flair that is perfect for an evening spent around the grill feasting on the fruits of a successful hunt. Wild game features bold flavors, as such, they pair perfectly with the malt and hops that make beer so robust and the carbonation cuts through the richness to cleanse the palate, making each bite a special one. However, not all beers go well with the variety flavors that come with all wild game. So, what beer should you choose for your wild game cookout?

Grilled wild game meat and mug of beer

Wild Pig

While wild pig has a more in-your-face flavor than your typical store-bought pork chop, it still benefits from lighter flavored beers. Good ol’ Budweiser, Miller, Coors, or any other preferred lager offers a refreshing burst with each bite of porky goodness. There is one other option that you might not of thought of – hard cider. While not beer, this close cousin is a real boon to fresh pork. After all, apples and pork go together like a hunter and their camo. Hard cider not only offers the refreshing burst of lighter beers, but that tart apple flavor really works to bring out the natural sweetness of your wild pig.

Beer Recommendation: Lagers, Ciders, Smoked Beers

Duck

The best duck dishes often have a whole lot going on in them in terms of flavor. Typically, the duck meat itself is rich and meaty with just a thin layer of fat and crisp skin to give it a salty, flavorful crunch. Due to the complexity of the meat, it is often robust enough to stand with stronger fruit flavors in sauces and marinades, but that doesn’t mean you want a robust beer with it. However, because the flavors are so rich, it can stand strong with a full-flavored fruit beer. Typically, amber ales are a popular choice, but any beer that has strong fruit flavors, even cider if you want, will work wonderfully. You want something that compliments the duck with a combination of sweet and tart that accents all the other flavors present.

Beer Recommendations: Dark Fruit Beers, Cider, and Dark Ales

Venison and Elk

Both venison and elk serve as perfect meats to turn into a delicious steak. When caramelized on the grill, you get a big, bold exterior full of flavor with a mild and meaty finish. As they say, the bigger the flavor, the bolder you can make the beer. While you can totally make a stout work with these big steaky cuts and feel like some medieval warrior of old eating and drinking around the fire, a full-flavored beer works best so as to not be too overwhelming. You want something with a decent amount of malt to bring out the big flavors of the exterior as well as hops to cut through that richness to allow you to taste that more delicate interior.

Beer Recommendation: Porters, Bocks, and Stouts

Turkey

Despite a more gamey flavor, turkey remains one of the lighter selections of wild game meat. As such, you need to keep the beer selection light so you don’t completely overwhelm the flavor. That is not to say you need to keep it boring though. With lighter meats like turkey or even pheasant, IPAs are the preferred beer of choice. They aren’t overwhelming, but the spiciness helps keep the meat interesting. However, if you are more the type that likes turkey with a solid slathering of rich gravy, a brown ale might be more to your liking. While richer than an IPA, the oat tones helps round out the turkey and gravy to make for one sumptuous bite.

Beer Recommendation: IPA’s and Brown Ales


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