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Start Fall Right By Picking The Best Beers To Pair With Tailgate Foods

When it comes to fall activities, we can’t think of many more fun than tailgating. Sure, apple picking might leave you with some hard cider or maybe a delicious apple pie after all is said and done. But you have to actually stand around in an orchard and pick apples first. Who wants to do that? Tailgating consists of delicious food, cornhole, and lots of beer. Oh yeah, there’s also a college or NFL football game to attend after all of that eating, drinking, and parking lot shenanigans (and jumping through flaming tables if you’re in Buffalo).

Since we’re keenly aware that drinking and eating are probably the two most important aspects of any great tailgate, we want to help you match them up. Specifically, we’re talking classic tailgate foods and the best beers to savor them with. Keep scrolling to see what brews to pair with chili, nachos, sausages, and every other classic tailgate food.

Sausage and Peppers Paired with Jack’s Abby Copper Legend Oktoberfest

Jack’s Abby Copper Legend Oktoberfest
Jack’s Abby

ABV: 5.7%

Average Price: $9.99 for a six-pack of 16-ounce cans

The Pairing:

Jack’s Abby Copper Legend is a fall classic. This Oktoberfest-style beer is known for its easy-drinking, smooth, sweet, malty flavor profile that pairs really well with grilled (or charred) sausages, peppers, and onions.

Tasting Notes:

The nose on this Marzen is loaded with aromas of freshly baked bread, cereal grains, sweet corn, and earthy hops. Its palate of caramel, bready malts, and floral, herbal hops pairs perfectly with the salty, rich, slightly spicy sausages and slightly sweet peppers and onions.

Bottom Line:

You can insert your favorite Oktoberfest-style beer here, especially if you’re going to be eating bratwurst. But we believe the sweetness of Copper Legend is the ideal choice for pairing with sausage.

Loaded Nachos Paired With Three Weavers Expatriate IPA

Three Weavers Expatriate IPA
Three Weavers

ABV: 6.9%

Average Price: $13.99 for a six-pack

The Pairing:

This 6.9% ABV, bold, flavorful West Coast IPA is brewed with two-row barley, English Crystal malt, and Simcoe, Mosaic, and El Dorado hops. It’s balanced, but has that spicy, dank bitterness IPA fans crave. Since we’re all about heat on heat, the spice and bitterness of the hops play perfectly with the spicy salsa, guacamole, and melted cheese that’s slathered all over our tailgate nachos.

Tasting Notes:

Notes of ripe grapefruit, tangerine, and floral, resinous, dank pine fill your nose before your first sip. The grapefruit, tangerine, pineapple, dank bitterness, and the crisp, dry finish pair well with the myriad flavors of salsa, guacamole, cheese, and spicy jalapenos of the nachos.

Bottom Line:

IPAs and spicy nachos were meant to be enjoyed together. And Three Weavers Expatriate is one of the best. Why wouldn’t you want to add a beer with a bitter, citrus bite to wash down all of those flavors?

Grilled Cheeseburger Paired with Deschutes Mirror Pond Pale Ale

Deschutes Mirror Pond Pale Ale

ABV: 5%

Average Price: $10.99 for a six-pack

The Pairing:

Like Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, Deschutes Mirror Pond is one of the OG American pale ales. This 5% ABV pale ale is brewed with two-row, Crystal, Carapils, and Munich malts, as well as Cascade hops. Its mix of caramel sweetness and citrus hops makes it a great companion to a cheesy, meaty, rich cheeseburger.

Tasting Notes:

Caramel, bready malts, orange zest, lemongrass, hay, and pine are prevalent on the nose. The palate is more of the same with caramel malts, tangerine, grapefruit, and dank pine. The caramel sweetness and piney bitterness are perfectly paired with the salty, savory flavors of the grilled cheeseburger.

Bottom Line:

Rich, savory cheeseburgers pair well with almost any beer. But we just prefer the mix of malts and hops in a well-made pale ale. And Deschutes Mirror Pond is pretty tough to beat.

Saucy Buffalo Wings Paired With Heater Allen Pils

Heater Allen Pils
Heater Allen

ABV: 5%

Average Price: $16 for a four-pack of 16-ounce cans

The Pairing:

We’re in the mindset that there’s no wrong time to enjoy a crisp, easy-drinking pilsner. Especially if it’s this Bohemian-style lager from Heater Allen. The brewery’s homage to Pilsner Urquell is known for its balance of malts and hops. It’s refreshing and crushable, the perfect beer to wash down saucy, spicy chicken wings.

Tasting Notes:

Heater Allen Pils is a classic pilsner through and through. This is immediately evident on the nose which features cereal grains, bready malts, lemon zest, and floral, fragrant Noble hops. Drinking it reveals more fresh-cut grass, floral, piney hops as well as sweet cereal grains and some caramel malts. Overall, it’s a flavorful, yet crushable pilsner that pairs really well with spicy, saucy, meaty chicken wings.

Bottom Line:

When we eat spicy, sauce-slathered chicken wings, we want a flavorful, yet light, refreshing pilsner to wash it down. Heater Allen Pils definitely fits this bill.

Potato Chips Paired With Weihenstephaner Original Helles

Weihenstephaner Original Helles

ABV: 5.1%

Average Price: $13 for a six-pack

The Pairing:

Bayerische Staatsbrauerei Weihenstephan touts itself as the oldest brewery in the world with its genesis almost 1,000 years ago in 1040. Its flagship beer is its Original Helles is crisp, refreshing, and has a mildly spicy, floral hop backbone. All of these flavors are well-suited to be paired with salty, greasy, crunchy potato chips.

Tasting Notes:

This Helles lager has traditional aromas like sweet corn, cereal grains, fresh bread, and floral, spicy hops. The palate continues this trend with more sweet grains, light lemongrass, caramel malts, and slightly bitter, floral hops at the finish. The citrus and hop presence plays perfectly with the salty, crispy, crunchy potato chips.

Bottom Line:

To be honest, we’d pair a great bag of potato chips with any lighter beer style. But when it comes to classic, refreshing Helles lagers, there are few better than Weihenstephaner Original.

Spicy Beef Chili Paired With Anderson Valley Boont Amber Ale

Anderson Valley Boont Amber Ale
Anderson Valley

ABV: 5.8%

Average Price: $10.99 for a six-pack

The Pairing:

As if you weren’t already planning to enjoy a few amber ales this fall, Anderson Valley Boont Amber Ale with its Pale two-row and Crystal malts as well as Columbus, Bravo, Northern Brewer, and Mt. Hood hops can’t be missed. Its notes of toasted malts, dried fruits, and light hops pair well with spicy, bean and beer-filled, slow-cooked chili.

Tasting Notes:

Before you first sip, you’ll find scents of fresh bread, caramel malts, cereal grains, and lightly floral hops. The palate is caramel, bread, honey, dried fruits, and herbal, floral hops. The malts and grassy, herbal hops play off the heat and richness of the beef chili well.

Bottom Line:

Some people like to add heat on heat when it comes to chili. But we like our chili really hot and we prefer the sweet, well-balanced flavor of a good amber ale to the spice and heat of a bitter IPA.

Barbecue Ribs Paired With Samuel Smith’s Nut Brown Ale

Samuel Smith’s Nut Brown Ale
Samuel Smith

ABV: 5%

Average Price: $12 for a four-pack

The Pairing:

This classic English nut brown ale is made with simple ingredients like well water, barley malt, yeast, and hops. It’s simple, dry, and loaded with flavors like candied almonds, walnuts, and toasted malts. All of which pair well with the rich, savory flavors of barbecue ribs.

Tasting Notes:

The nose is filled with aromas of sticky toffee, bread, toasted malts, and a light nutty scent. The palate is well-balanced with notes of caramel, biscuit-like malts, toasted grains, candied nuts, and light, floral hops. The bold, mixture of caramel and spicy hops makes this a perfect companion to savory, saucy, smoked ribs.

Bottom Line:

Class up your tailgate a bit by putting down that light beer and pour some glasses of Samuel Smith Nut Brown Ale when the barbecue ribs are done smoking. You’ll be happy you did.

Store Bought Chocolate Chip Cookies Paired With Southern Tier Nitro S’Mores Stout

Southern Tier Nitro S’Mores Stout
Southern Tier

ABV: 10%

Average Price: $16.99 for a four-pack

The Beer:

Summer might be over, but we’re not ready to give up on S’mores just yet. Especially if they’re in beer form. The folks at Southern Tier are no strangers to unique innovations. One of their best is their Southern Tier Nitro S’mores Stout with its chocolate, vanilla, and slight sea salt flavors. Since it’s pretty much a dessert in a can, why not pair it with a gooey chocolate chip cookie or two before you head into the stadium?

Tasting Notes:

Unsurprisingly, this beer smells exactly like you’d hope it would. There are notes of graham cracker, vanilla, and chocolate. After being welcomed in by the aroma, the palate is creamy, rich, and filled with flavors like toasted marshmallow, dark chocolate, vanilla, and a slightly nutty flavor. It’s sweet decadent, and can only be made better by pairing it with chocolate chunk-filled, soft cookies.

Bottom Line:

After this lineup of tailgate foods and beers, you might need a wheelbarrow to bring you into the stadium. Especially if you drink this dessert-like beer and chocolate chip combination right before kickoff.

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