What Beer Pairs Best with Hot Dogs?

March 28,2014 by 4 Comments

Hot dog and craft beerSpring is here…which means baseball season is here…which means there are two questions on my mind:

  1. Will Manny Machado come back from his injury to lead the O’s to the playoffs & eventually a World Series victory, restoring one of the greatest baseball franchises of all-time to its former glory?
  2. What beer pairs best with hot dogs?

(Welcome to the sophisticated inner workings of the mind of Billy Broas)

Seriously though…. baseball (my favorite sport) is here and hot dogs are the de facto food of the big leagues.

What’s the ultimate beer to pair with Franks? Lord knows the options are limited at ballparks. Don’t get me started on that. Craft beer at ballparks can save the world yet most stadiums only serve yellow fizzy water (not all though – see the best stadiums for craft beer).

But for us backyard grill masters, however, every beer is on the table.

Now the tough choice of choosing one…

Don’t forget the toppings

When pairing beer with food you can’t just think about the main dish, you gotta’ think about the total package.

Think about every type of dog out there: Chicago-style, Coney Island, sauerkraut, onions, CHILI!

There’s a different “best” beer for the each of them.

I can’t exactly taste 37 beer & hot dog combinations (or can I…) so I picked my go to dog: Ball Park beef frank with ketchup, spicy German mustard, and sauerkraut.

My beers of choice:

  • Plank Dunkler Weizenbock
  • Ommegang Abbey Ale
  • Samuel Smith’s Nut Brown Ale
  • Bull & Bush Man Beer IPA
4 beers that go well with hot dogs

Four great beers, but are they good with a dog?

This is a pretty good diversity of styles. Here’s how they fared…

Weizenbock: My least favorite of the bunch. A good beer on its own but the banana flavors just didn’t jive with the hot dog. The malty, clean lager aspect of it worked well however. Next time I would try a standard bock.

Nut Brown Ale: Solid pairing. The beer was a little overwhelmed by the food though. I think a stronger American-style brown ale (like Upslope’s) would pair better.

IPA: This was a surprisingly good pairing. The dryer finish of this beer compared to the others gave it a leg up. It has a good malt character as well which helped as it complemented the beef.

Dubbel: Winner! This belgian-style beer paired perfectly with the hot dog. I attribute it to the versatility of the beer. It has rich malt flavors as well as a number of spice and fruit flavors from the yeast. This gave the beer the power to pair with not just the hot dog but the condiments as well.

The one thing I enjoyed more about the IPA pairing is that an IPA is more of a summer beer. Either way, dubbel or IPA, you can’t go wrong.

Now tell me two things:

  1. What’s your favorite beer and hot dog pairing?
  2. Who’s your pick to win the World Series? (you know mine)

About Billy Broas

He is the founder of The Homebrew Academy, a BJCP beer judge, and the homebrewing expert on the Rocky Mountain PBS television show Colorado Brews. He lives in the fine beer town of Denver, Colorado.

4 responses to “What Beer Pairs Best with Hot Dogs?”

  1. Daniel Clayton says:

    Tigers and Bud Light, haha, just kidding man. I’d have to go with some Billy Brew summer ale with my dog!

    • Billy Broas says:

      Can’t wait to see Chris Davis spoil Cabrera’s triple crown bid again! The BillyBrew summer ale sounds good. Hey at least we can both agree that Peachey is for dessert.

  2. Greg says:

    Hey Billy,

    Just found your blog, and I must say it is some very entertaining, insightful reading. I am just about to brew for the first-time (after many years of craft brew tasting and appreciation), and am jumping in feet-first! In fact, I am going to go all grain my first foray, and hope for the best;however, I am thinking about going small-batch, for “experimentation” and learning purposes. Do you have any experience with small batches (<4 gallons, we'll say)? I'd love to see a write-up on it some time, if you haven't already!

    Keep it up!


    • Billy Broas says:

      Hey Greg,

      Doing small batches for experimentation is a great idea. The primary downside is that it’s roughly the same amount of work for less beer, but if you’re OK with that then it’s a good way to get experience and try new things. I make 3 gallon batches from time to time. If I write something up on it I’ll let you know. Cheers!

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