Beer Pairings for the Four Basic Food Groups of the Super Bowl Party

Pairing beer with hot wings, meat, chips and dip, and hero sandwiches

Jack Andersen/Getty Images

Pairing a beer style with each of these four basic party food groups should go a long way to improving Super Bowl Party beer selections. I don't know about you, but I'm tired of showing up to find nothing available but watery, pale lager that has no business trying to stand up to powerfully flavored foods like hot wings.

Here are some beers worthy of the four basic food groups of the Super Bowl Party. For each I've provided some widely distributed brand options, but don't forget to support your local brewery!

  • 01 of 05

    Hot Wings

    Buffalo wings (hot wings)
    Stuart West/Dorling Kindersley/Getty Images

    The two requirements for hot wings are that they be wings and that they be covered in an incredibly, insanely hot pepper-based sauce. The hotter the better. That's a lot of flavor for any beer to try to stand up to, but there's one winner every time. American-style India pale ale has the stuff to not get lost in the sea of tongue-numbing hot sauce of good hot wings. With a decent malt backbone, lots of bright, herbal-citrusy flavor from the hops, and higher than usual alcohol content, IPA can cut through the powerful taste of hot wings and keep your mouth ready for more.

    • Suggestions:
    • Bear Republic Racer 5 IPA
    • Dogfish Head 60 or 90 Minute IPA
  • 02 of 05


    grilled meat

    Whether you simmer those little weenies in barbecue sauce for hours in the slow cooker or, like my step-son, you grill massive steaks for your guests, plenty of chunks of meat are important to any Super Bowl Party. Once everyone has loaded their plates down with big pieces of protein, you don't want to serve them a beer that will wilt in front of the majestic meat. Rauchbier, or smoked beer, is perfect. German smoked beer is made with smoked barley giving it an incredible, unique taste. The earthy, smoky flavor pairs brilliantly with all kinds of meats, especially grilled, while the beer remains refreshing enough to cut through the grease and fat of the meat.

  • 03 of 05

    Chips and Dip or Salsa

    chips and dip

    Whether you go with an ooey gooey melted cheese, some ranch dressing based concoction, guacamole, or classic salsa for your dip, the perfect beer for this snack is amber lager. Ambers tend toward the sweet side so they balance nicely against the heat of a good salsa or the herbs in the ranch dip. As a lager, this beer cuts through the salt of the chips and cleanses the mouth.

  • 04 of 05

    Hero Sandwich

    hero sandwich

    The classic hero sandwich -- a loaf split length-wise and loaded down with deli meats, cheese slices, and plenty of veggies from lettuce to banana peppers -- is a mainstay of any Super Bowl Party. The perfect beer for this dish is the Belgian Dubbel. This rich, malty, spicy beer makes a great companion for the hero sandwich regardless how you fix it. The full, malty flavor pairs very nicely with the meats and bread of the sandwich, while the spicy flavors of the Belgian yeast will dance with the veggies.

    Continue to 5 of 5 below.
  • 05 of 05

    All Four

    super bowl party food

    Okay, so no one wants to commit to just one dish while watching the game. We all like to graze, so what beer will pair with all four of the basic food groups? American-style pale ale will work perfectly with everything here. With a good malt center and a healthy dose of bright, citrusy hops, Pale Ale works great with everything from the heat of the hot wings to a mild chip dip.

    • Suggestions:
    • Sierra Nevada Pale Ale
    • Dale's Pale Ale