Great Cans of Beer for Barbecuing

Barbecue season isn't complete without a few frosty brews


Summer is just around the corner and that means: barbecues. Since we'll all be headed to one or more of these backyard grilling events, I thought we should consider a few beers that would be a good fit for outdoor shenanigans.

While flavor and refreshment are the first priority for this kind of list, I also wanted to take packaging into account. Being outside with glass bottles isn't always a safe bet. So I'm looking at seven beers that are delicious, good partners for barbecue and come in barbecue-safe cans. So let's grab some cans and talk beer, shall we?

Men Barbecuing image via Shutterstock

Summer-Narragansett Brewing Co., Providence, Rhode Island

There's no denying that Narragansett Brewing comes with a good deal of history. Established in 1890, it's easily one of the oldest, continually operating breweries in the country (they brewed beer for "medicinal purposes" during Prohibition). And they're still innovating with their beer.

To usher in summer, the brewery chose to whip up a blonde ale that's reminiscent of one of their early beers. And this seasonal brought home a silver medal from the 2011 World Beer Championships. It's low in alcohol, easy to drink and has a bit of a passion fruit flavor to it. Oh and it comes in these giant 16 ounce cans.

Bronx Pale Ale-The Bronx Brewery, The Bronx, New York

Speaking of big cans, The Bronx Brewery only recently started canning their flagship beer in 16-oz cans. The young brewery is one of the first to open in the titular New York City borough and while they're contract brewing outside of the state, they're in the process of constructing a brewery in the South Bronx. Amidst all this, they've released four-packs of their big cans.

The beer itself is a refreshing, solid pale ale. The coppery brew tastes of biscuity and sweet malts and hops that lend citrusy and floral flavors. It isn't as low in alcohol as our previous can but this one averages out around 6.3 percent alcohol by volume. Might be a good idea to rotate in a glass of water once in a while if you're at an all-day brewery with this beer.

Mama's Little Yella Pils-Oskar Blues Brewery, Lyons, Colorado

Oskar Blues was on the cutting edge in 2002 as the first craft brewery to hand-can their beers. Their multi award-winning Dale's Pale Ale led the trend and became a popular brew across the country. The Lyons-based brewery recently extended their reach by opening a second location in North Carolina.

Another recent development at the brewery: 19.2 ounce cans of beer. We specifically recommend Mama's Little Yella Pils, a Bavarian-style Pilsner that's made with only high-quality malts (rather than the corn and rice you might find in pilsners from large, corporate breweries). It's a crisp brew with hints of lemon and a little sweetness from the malts. It's also only about 5.3 percent alcohol by volume, which is on the level of what we'd call a sessionable beer -- meaning you can have several in a session without getting trashed.

Hell or High Watermelon-21st Amendment Brewery, San Francisco, California

In an effort to exercise their 21st amendment rights, Nico Freccia and Shaun O'Sullivan opened 21st Amendment Brewery in 2000. Since then, they've created some really amazing and unique brews that have gained fans across the country.

All of their beers come in cans of all sizes. And while the one we're suggesting doesn't measure up in size to the three previous giant cans of beer, this brew definitely measures up in flavor. A classic American wheat beer, Hell or High Watermelon is brewed with real watermelon -- a fantastic summery fruit. It results in a dry but refreshing brew in a very fun can.

Shiner Bock-Spoetzl Brewery, Shiner, Texas

Few Texans can live without their Shiner. In recent months, this beer has been spreading even further throughout the country -- coming to New York City for the first time ever. Brewed at Spoetzl Brewery since the early 1900s, Shiner is the best example of the brewery's Bavarian heritage.

Of course, this old school beer comes in a can (like all our selections). The deep amber-colored bock has a sweet flavor that's combined with a very mild hop bitterness. It's also a perfect complement to your typical smoky Texas barbecue -- what else?

Hell-Surly Brewing Co., Brooklyn Center, Minnesota

Minnesota's Surly Brewing is another brewery that cans all their beers. But they're also very passionate about the beers they brew. The brewery grew out of a a love for home brewing and became one of the most beloved breweries in Minnesota today.

And since the brewer who founded Surly comes from German heritage, it's no surprise that they're creating German-inspired beers like Hell. Fashioned after Zwickel bier, a style characterized by a cloudy appearance since these beers are not filtered, Hell is a German lager with bread aromas, mild malt sweetness and just a pinch of hops. It's also pretty low in alcohol at just 4.5 percent alcohol by volume.

Summer Solstice-Anderson Valley Brewing Co., Boonville, California

Anderson Valley typically gets mentioned around wines. But the Anderson Valley Brewery has proved that it's also a good region for beer. And this summer seasonal option is awesome for a brewery setting.

The sweet and creamy brew features a malty backbone with a mild spice. While it comes in that handy can packaging, you can also get it in a bottle. It's a mild on alcohol, measuring in at only 5 percent alcohol by volume. It's also a fantastic partner for barbecue chicken as well.

Slideshow View

Mentioned in this article


  • All good beers, however, not one Pacific NW beer in the bunch, many of which come in cans. This seems a bit biased not to come all the way out to the West Coast essentially where craft beer started post prohibition.

    Just to name a few that are really great cooking beers as well as sipping with the bbq; Pike Kilt Lifter Scotch Style Ale, Pike IPA, Pike 5X Stout. Other breweries to take a good look at; Fremont Brewing, Big Time Brewing, Naked City Brewing. Better yet go to the WA Beer Commission site and you can search all of them.

    Jun 05, 2013 at 8:45 PM

  • Snooth User: malcedor
    607608 49

    Yeah, this list is mediocre at best. If you're going to include an Oskar Blues beer, Old Chub is much better than Mama's Little Yella, especially with food. Ballast Point's Sculpin IPA, one of the best beers in the country, is available in cans now, too; definitely deserves inclusion over the likes of Shiner and Anderson Valley.

    Jun 05, 2013 at 11:43 PM

  • Who says you ought to drink canned beer at a BBQ? Bottles stay cold a lot longer, which encourages slower sipping instead of gulping, and the beer also tastes better.

    Jun 06, 2013 at 6:20 AM

Add a Comment

Search Articles

Best Wine Deals

See More Deals

Snooth Media Network