Which Beer Is Best for Making Chili? (Choosing for the Right Flavor)

Lined Circle
Lined Circle

The best beer for making chili depends on the kind of chili you’re making. Darker, richer beers are better for hotter, spicier chilis. 

Do beer and chili go together?

We do know – at least now – though, that chili and beer go together. The beer in chili reduces and provides a thicker and fuller flavor to the dish – one that you won’t obtain through plain water. 

Some say that adding chili to beer makes it better. All subjectivity aside, it definitely adds definition and prominent, delicious flavor. 

The beer will reduce and the ingredients already present in the chili will become even more flavorful. It will also thicken the dish for a greater mouthfeel. 

Does beer make chili better?

How to pair chili and beer together

The beer you pair with your chili should complement and accentuate its flavor. For example, it’s common to use darker and sweeter beers in spicier recipes. The beer’s rich flavors get reduced into the chili, maintaining some sweetness that cuts some of the spice still present from the peppers. 

The best beer styles and flavors to use in chili recipe

Where do you start if you are looking for the right brew for your next batch of chili? 

American Pale Ale

Why it works in chili recipes  – On the lighter side of beers, the American Pale Ale works in chili recipes for that reason. The taste goes greatly with respectively light chili peppers and adds enough flavor and thickness to the dish without overpowering other ingredients.

India Pale Ale (IPA)

Why it works in chili recipes  – Because there are so many types of IPAs that include many different tasting notes, they’re a great fit for chili.  


Why it works in chili recipes  – Stouts are the absolute perfect addition to a spicy chili recipe. One with jalapeños would be the best fit, as the rich flavors of the stout contrast and balance the spicy chili flavor.

Wheat (witbiers)

Why it works in chili recipes  – Witbiers are best used in mild-medium spiced chilis. The herbal spice and citrusy tastes won’t get lost in the chili flavor and will shine through to complement them, instead of fighting with them.

American or Mexican Light Lager

Why it works in chili recipes – These beers won’t do a ton for your chili’s taste but will do wonders to bring out the flavors and textures most desirable in a chili recipe. 

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