Warning: This blog post contains alcohol.
Those enjoying it must be at least 21, or have a dad that will occasionally let them “try a sip”.
Since the beginning of time, men have enjoyed the simple yet complementary paring of cooked meat with the cold, foamy libation known as beer. It is the natural pairing of two ancient techniques used to nourish the hungry, quench the thirsty and bestow the breath of a fart-eating dragon upon those enjoying this wickedly good combination.
The first known barley beer recipe dates back to the Chalcolithic Period (3500-3100 B.C.), discovered in the central Zargros Mountains of Mesopotamia. That’s old school boozin’ for y’all.
These beers were often thick – almost more of a gruel in texture, and required a straw for enjoying. Unless you liked yours chunky and filled with bitter scraps of solids left over from fermentation… Yum. Extra pulp for me please, village chieftain!
Similarly, the art of de-boning, deflating and salting of meat was introduced by the South American Quechua tribe. Their jerky, or “Ch’arki”, was rolled in an animal’s hide for 12 hours and then sun dried to perfection… though it probably tasted like a salty old, dead shoe tongue. We won’t hold that against them. Remember, they’re new at this.
By the time Spanish conquistadors arrived in the Americas in 1492, jerky was hanging from every mud hut, wigwam and teepee from Guatemala to Michigan. The least the Spanish could do was share some of their delicious beer, right? I’m sure they all got along really well after that.
Since those early days, the beer industry has grown into an international market worth billions of dollars, and jerky “manufacturers” can be found in any greasy gas station on the way to Disney World. Concerns have run rampant:
“How are we supposed to know which varieties complement each other?”
“Should I just dry out some hamburger and chug a 40 oz.?”
“Is this product pairing going to give me a massive case of explosive diarrhea?”
Put down the King Cobra and adult diapers. Blue Ox Jerky has you covered. Here is a guide to BOJ’s meaty favorites – and the perfect brew to match.
Honey BBQ, Sweet ‘n Hot & Honey Pepper Bacon Sausage
Recommended Brew: Pilsner or Pale Lager
These pale lagers have a distinct hop aroma and flavor and usually include malted barley – giving them a lighter flavor. The soft water used to create this golden brew creates a clean and refreshing taste. These brews go best with something sweet – with a touch of tangy, low to medium spice. Try following each bite of jerky with a nice smooth sip of this light golden classic… I said sip, not gulp – slow down!
~4.5%-5% by volume
Popular Pilsners/Pale Lagers:
Budweiser, Leinenkugel, Molson Canadian, Red Stripe, Beck’s, Heineken, Stella Artois
Brooklyn Brewery (NY) – Brooklyn Pilsner
Original Recipe & Teriyaki Jerky or Sausage
Recommended Brew: American Pale Ale or IPA
The “pale ale” was originally named in 1703 for beers manufactured from a dried malt containing coke (don’t get excited… it’s a mineral). Depending on the hop content of these smarmy beverages, the colors and tastes range quite dramatically. IPAs tend to have a more robust flavor and bitter bite to them. Find an ale that works for your taste buds and pair it with something teriyaki or original flavored. (Tip: A bitter IPA will complement the teriyaki flavor better than a sweeter, lighter American pale ale will.)
~5%-6.5% by volume
Popular American Pale Ales:
APAs: Flying Dog, Dundee, Dogfish Head, Stoudt’s
IPAs: Sierra Nevada, Two Hearted, Alesmith, Harvest Ale, Stormcloud
APA: Three Floyds Brewing Co. & Brewpub (IN) – Zombie Dust
IPA: Green Flash Brewing Co. (CA) – West Coat IPA
Cherry Maple Beef & Turkey Jerky
Recommended Brew: Stouts
Stouts are a dark beer consisting of roasted malt or barley, hops and yeast. Some stouts are light in color (such as a blonde stout), but generally these are heaviest and strongest of all porter brews. Porter stouts originated in jolly old London, England. The brewing style became popular for its preservative qualities, allowing drinkers to store it longer. There are also Irish (Dry) Stout, Baltic Stout, Milk Stout (Yes, milk), Oatmeal Stout (Not making this up), Chocolate Stout (okay), Coffee Stout (might be good) and the most bizarre – Oyster Stout (WTF). Choose your stout wisely – and pair it with the sweet mild taste of something unique.
~7%-8% by volume (Whoa, this is strong.)
Guinness, Rogue Shakespeare, Gray’s Oatmeal, Gypsy Juice
Founder’s Brewery (MI) – Breakfast Stout (Beer for breakfast! Yay!)
Blazin’ Hot Beef Jerky & BBQ Beef Brisket
Recommended Brew: Bock
This lager is of German origin, and is a strong, bitter tasting drink – not for the weak and spineless. This is a dark, malty ale was first brewed in the 14th century in the town of Einbeck, Germany, called “ein Bock”, or “a billy goat” – to this day many bock manufacturers include a goat on their label. Bock is generally associated with celebratory occasions in Germany, such as Christmas, Easter or weddings. The bock lager is the perfect drink prior to fasting, fighting or washing down something blazing hot.
~ 6.5% to 10% by volume (Hell yeah! Now we’re talking!)
Popular Bock Lagers:
Goats Peak Bock, Geist Bock, Samuel Adams Winter Lager, Columbus Bock
Elevator Brewery & Draught Haus (Columbus, OH) - Wooden Shoe Bock