The Best Beer Pairing For Burgers And Hot Dogs At Your Summer Cookout

Summertime is basically synonymous with outdoor cookouts – as are two foods that are perfect for grilling: burgers and hot dogs. But after deciding on burgers and hot dogs, there's another question that needs answering about the cookout menu: What kind of beer should we pair with them? After all, summer is also the perfect time for a refreshing beer. To find out the answer to this, Tasting Table spoke with an expert, Jessie Massie, the Head Chef at the Sierra Nevada Taproom in Mills River, North Carolina.

Massie said, "Burgers are usually a little bit fatty and they can hold up really well to a bold west coast style IPA. There's a nice sharp bitterness to this beer style that can cut through the richness of a burger, especially if it's dressed with cheese and sauces. It's satisfying, and it counteracts the saltiness." 

And, for hot dogs, it depends on if you like them more traditional (such as with just ketchup or mustard) or loaded with richer toppings such as chili or cheese. Massie said, "If it's loaded up, I'd say it'd be similar to hamburgers and a west-coast style IPA with a sturdy and bold flavor profile will be enjoyable. But, if you're a traditionalist and you're going with a classic hot dog and toppings like ketchup, mustard, and onion I'd say think about a lighter touch with a more quaffable style of beer — something that is not competing with those lighter flavors, like a pale ale."

Massie also recommends specific brews for the pairings

All in all, Massie thinks a pale ale is not just good for hot dogs, but also good for the overall vibe of a summertime cookout or barbecue. Massie told Tasting Table, "An American-style pale ale feels perfectly appropriate and seasonal for those quintessential summer cookouts." Massie even went so far as to give us her specific recommendation: "I like Sierra Nevada Pale Ale – I know it seems I might be biased, but really, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is my friend all day during summer cookout sessions because it's balanced enough that it can easily be paired with rich foods or lighter foods."

While we fully trust Massie's recommendation, it's always good to have options. Some other pale ales include Fort Point pale ale by Trillium and Pseudo Sue by Toppling Goliath Brewing Co. Additionally, there's Zombie Dust by 3 Floyd's Brewing and Whale's Tale Pale Ale by Cisco Brewers, both of which Tasting Table recommends as two of the best canned beers for summer

Or, if you'd like to go the more specific route of west coast style IPAs, like Massie suggested for burgers, some options include Sculpin IPA from Ballast Point, Union Jack IPA from Firestone Walker Brewing Co., and Pure Hoppiness IPA from Alpine Beer Company.