Why Beer Brats Need Wine


I have been on a mission to discover the best fresh Bratwurst for making Sheboygan Beer Brats or just plain brats on the grill. You would think beer is the beverage of choice with brats, but I think wine is a better choice.

All about Beer Brats 

I got the idea of cooking beer brats for a Labor Day barbecue party from two sources. Last week the Weber barbecue folks sent me their weekly grill recipe. This one was for Beer Brats. That recipe, combined with my love of having a Sheboygan sausage at a Giants’ game, set me on a mission to fine tune the grilling of a bratwurst sausage.

Which bratwurst are best for “Beer Brats?”

I decided to test four different brats from four different local butcher shops to see how they fared. I grilled up these four sausages. Janelle and I tasted a small slice of each without bread and the condiments. We were in total agreement in ranking the sausages.

  1. Schaub’s in Palo Alto – Schaub Bratwurst $8.99 per lb.
  2. Lunardi’s – Fresh Bratwurst $6.99 per lb.
  3. Whole Foods – Beer Brats $6.99 per lb.
  4. Mollie Stone’s – Oktoberfest Bratwurst by Dibrova – $7.99 per lb.

Except for the Mollie Stone’s sausage, all the sausages were made at the butcher shop. The Oktoberfest Bratwursts at Mollies Stone’s were pre-cooked and packaged. This sausage lacked the juiciness and flavors of the other sausages. This proves that bratwurst should be fresh and grilled within a few days of purchasing.

how to cook beer brats


How to cook beer bratwurst

I combined ideas from these two sources to grill the bratwurst for my test above. Take a look for yourself and see which recipe will serve you best for cooking up your own beer brats. There are also plenty of recipes on YouTube for cooking beer brats. The Weber BBQ beer brat recipe can be found at this location: Beer Brats.  Watch the video below to get more ideas on cooking beer brats.

Which wine for beer brats?

If you are a wine lover, you must have wine with beer brats. It makes sense because the sausage flavors of the meat, combined with their herbs and spices, bring out the best in wine. We wanted a red wine for our sausage meal and we knew that a good Zinfandel with some tannins had to be the right choice. A medium to a full-bodied Zinfandel is tough to top as a wine choice. I know that many would say that the best pairing is a dry Riesling because of the German connection to sausage. If you use lots of sauerkraut, I would say go for the Riesling. Otherwise, choose a red and, in particular, a big Zinfandel.

image of Ancient Peaks Zinfandel

What is a Sheboygan Bratwurst?

Getting back to that Sheboygan at AT&T park, I asked the four butchers where I purchased the sausages, “What is a Sheboygan Sausage?” Not one knew. I went to Wikipedia and here is the answer: Bratwurst was popularized in Sheboygan County, Wisconsin, in the 1920s. In general, each local butcher shop would take orders and hand make bratwurst fresh to be picked up on a particular day.

Wine choice for Beer Brats


  1. Greetings from a brief trip to Wisconsin. Even in Sheboygan there’s disagreement on who makes the best brats! But the problem anywhere else really is that we don’t have Sheboygan hard rolls (which aren’t hard).

Speak Your Mind