5 of the beer styles to take to a barbecue this summer

As the weather is heating up and things are slowly returning back to normal, chances are that you’re beginning to plan events with your loved ones again – and what better time to have a barbecue in your backyard than now?

Barbecues are great excuses to enjoy heaped plates and cold beer, but knowing which beer to put in the cooler can be trickier than some people might think. To help you out with preparing for your next summer BBQ, we’ve handpicked 5 key beer styles and explained which particular barbecue food pairings work well with them, along with some brew recommendations.

Helles lager

To start off with, one of the best beers that you can bring to a barbecue is a crisp, full-bodied helles lager. This glorious style of lager is typically sessionable and has a low hop profile, showcasing the malt off to the drinker. They’re made with a cool fermentation process, and originated in Germany. 

Helles lagers pair perfectly with meaty foods, like burgers and chicken. As the profile of a helles lager isn’t too overwhelming or punchy, they’re often paired with intense, flavourful meals and snacks. They’re perfect for cleansing your palate and helping to cool down any spiciness from foods like chilli or hot wings. 

If you’re looking for an example of a good helles in our stock, we’d recommend this delicious Parallel 49 Munich craft helles. It comes in at 5% ABV, making it perfect for drinking in the sunshine with your meal. The hops used in this particular lager are locally grown Sterling hops that work perfectly alongside the malted barley.


If you like to stack your plate with smoky, grilled or even sweet items, a porter would be the perfect beer for you. This dark, malty and rich style of ale originated in England, and has shot up in popularity in recent years. They’re often confused with stouts, but have much less of a sweet, creamy flavour profile that a typical stout does. 

Porters are ideal for paired with smoked items, like smoky barbecue ribs or ham. Porters themself often have a smoked note, so they harmonise perfectly with big flavours like this. Grilled items, like veggie kebabs or sausages, work ideally with porters as well, creating a unified, wholesome taste overall.

As many porters can have chocolate or raisin notes to them, it’s also worth trying them out with a sweet treat if possible, too. Anything with chocolate, peanut butter or cookie notes should pair nicely, providing it’s not overwhelmingly sweet on its own.

Currently, there aren’t any porters on our website – but there is another exceptionally interesting beer from Hoyne that’s worth taking a look at. Dark Matter by Hoyne is a unique beer that comes with no classification or style guide. It’s dark and delicious, with a well-balanced flavour profile that’s ideal for porter and stout lovers alike. 

West coast IPA

IPAs are absolutely abundant at the moment, as almost every brewery is trying their hand at this tasty, versatile style. There’s some debate over the exact origins of Indian Pale Ale, but it originated in England as a style of beer that would travel well overseas. There are plenty of substyles here, including the West Coast and New England duo.

In particular, West Coast IPAs are delightfully crisp, piney and resinous. They’re usually very bitter, with a strong and decadent hop aroma. They’re often dry and very moreish, standing at 6-8% ABV in most cases. 

From our current stock, we have to recommend this delicious WC IPA from Four Winds. It’s a superb example of the style- with a smooth profile that brings out both citrus and floral notes, and a deliciously bitter, long-lasting taste. 

Kölsch lager

If you’re a fan of lager but you want to try something new, a kölsch lager could be just the ticket. This fascinating style is sometimes referred to as a hybrid, as it combines elements of ales and lagers. It’s wonderfully drinkable, and originated in Cologne, Germany.

Kölsch lagers are easygoing and sessionable, with a clear, dry and crisp finish. They’re perfect for sunny weather! Often, kölsch beers are blended with interesting hops and tasty additional ingredients- take the lemon kölsch from North Brewing Co in the UK as a great example. 

These beers are perfect for pairing with sausages and hot dogs, bready elements (for example, pizza or hotdog buns) and salad, too. They’re very versatile. Out of the selection on our website, we’d recommend checking out the Dieu Du Sentinelle kölsch here.

Wheat beer

Finally, if you’re on the hunt for something unique, a witbier could be just the ticket. This type of beer is made with wheat and is top fermented, and it can also be used as a coverall term for styles like lambics, goses, German weizen beers, Belgian witbiers and more.

Generally speaking, wheat beers are light and offer a unique flavour combination. Weizen beers are described as having notes of banana and clove, and witbiers often veer towards cloves and other spices or herbs. Wheat beers go well with lighter foods and tastes, and are ideal if you’re having any sort of seafood on your barbecue. 

When it comes to fruited wheat beers, they’re ideal with lighter desserts! Try experimenting with contrasting fruits, or looking at sweet and sour combinations. We’d recommend taking a look at this Belgian cherry witbier by Hoyne on our website. It’s rich, yet surprisingly refreshing, and perfect for warm, happy days with your loved ones. 

Check out Darby’s Liquor Store for the best beer and liquor today

If you’re looking for a great place to buy all these beers, do make sure to check out our full website today. We’re proud to offer the Kitsilano area a host of both American and import craft beers, along with supreme spirits, liquors and other tasty beverages. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us here today. 

Jan 17 2024 – Snow Disruption

Due to the snow, we cannot make any deliveries today. Sorry for any inconvenience caused.