Our Updated List of the Best Bratwurst (Now with Fresh Beer Brats)

The best bratwurst are juicy, snappy, and perfect for the grill—but the similarities between the different bratwurst brands end there. There are so many varieties of bratwurst, from precooked stadium brats that look kind of like hot dogs to big, fat, uncooked bacon brats that ooze with grease when you apply heat. Scientifically speaking, all the best bratwurst belong to the same species, but their genus varies. In this taste test we wanted to find the best brats, yes, but we also wanted to drill down and find the best beer brats, the best Bavarian brats, the best beef brats, and the best uncooked brats at the grocery store. And we did! Yes, before you ask or comment, Johnsonville bratwurst make a few appearances on this list.

For this taste test, I heated all the fully cooked brats in our countertop oven; sorry, we don’t have a grill at Sporked HQ, but I can assure you these sausages cook up nicely. No matter what kind of brat you prefer, there’s a sausage on this list for you. Grab some sauerkraut and a bottle of brown mustard, and let’s get to it.

best bavarian bratwurst

Best Bavarian

Deutsche Kuche Uncured Bavarian Bratwurst

These Aldi bratwurst don’t have much snap, but they have a really pleasant, mild flavor that reminds me of eating at a German restaurant. If you’re not familiar with Bavarian brats, these are paler than the brats you might be used to. My understanding is that Bavarian brats are typically white because they contain white veal meat; these are pork brats, but they’re pale all the same. We tasted these head to head with Trader Joe’s Bavarian brats, which are bigger and fatter than Aldi’s Bavarian brats, as well as Boar’s Head Bavarian brats, but Aldi’s taste a lot better. You get pepper and herbs and a little bit of underlying sweetness. If Bavarian is your bratwurst style of choice, this is the best bratwurst to buy. Plus, they’re from Aldi, so they’re cheap as hell! 

Related: What Is Aldi? The Guten Grocery Store

Credit: Merc / Aldi




best beef brats

Best Beef Brats

Johnsonville Beef Brats

These beef brats come precooked, but they’re incredibly juicy. If you like a beefy brat and like some smoke, you’ll like these. They have a great, meaty texture—coarse rather than finely ground like a hot dog—and they absolutely drip juice once you puncture them with a fork. The snap is incredible. They’re luxuriously greasy and have such a nice smoky flavor. They could use a good German mustard to cut the fat, but you could eat one of these totally plain and be very happy. They’re the best beef brats you can buy. 

Related: The Best Sauerkraut for Your Wursts

Credit: Merc / Walmart




best fresh brats

Best Plain Fresh Brats

Johnsonville Original Brats

In terms of flavor, these aren’t the best bratwurst we tasted—they are a little plain, but they get props for being so plump and juicy. In general, I think uncooked brats are the way to go. They have more texture and are more akin to sausages you’d pick up at the butcher shop. If you like beer brats, you can cook them by simmering them in your favorite ale so they absorb that hoppy, wheaty flavor. I didn’t fire up the ol’ Weber, but I’m also confident these would be outrageous on the grill. This is the best bratwurst to experiment with due to its neutral flavor; load these up with lots of toppings, like spicy mustard and the best sauerkraut

Related: The Best Hot Dog Buns for Grilling Season

Credit: Merc / Instacart




best fresh beer brats

Best Fresh Beer Brats

Papa Cantella’s Beer Bratwurst

A lot of people prefer fresh brats to precooked brats. Totally understandable! While I stand by the best brats on this list, which are precooked beer brats we’ve tasted and retasted and love every time, these fresh beer brats are the best brats for true grill daddies. Papa Cantella’s beer brats are juicy, salty, and have that tell-tale ale flavor that adds a lot of interest. In fact, a sticker on the label specifies that they use Firestone Double Barrel Ale. That’s good stuff! The little bit of sharpness the beer adds is going to make these brats taste great with creamy condiments—skip the bratwurst and sauerkraut and try bratwurst and coleslaw instead. 




best flavored brats

Best Flavored

Johnsonville Cheddar & Bacon Brats

You can probably tell by the name, but these Johnsonville brats are real treat-yourself sausages. The bacon and cheese make them outrageously greasy, but, woof, the flavor is insane. Cheese starts oozing out of their ends as soon as they hit the pan, and it adds so much creaminess to the whole salty, porky affair. I made one just to take a bite for taste test purposes and ended up eating the entire thing for dinner. These are among the best pork brats you can buy, but you certainly couldn’t eat them every day.

Credit: Merc / Walmart




best beer brats

Best of the Best

Fat Tire Beer Bratwurst

I honestly wrote, “Oh, absolutely f*** yes,” in my notes when I tried these Fat Tire brats. These were the best beer brats we tried in our taste test and the best brats, period. These are fully cooked, but they’re as close as you can get to fresh. The snap of the casing is absolutely outrageous, and they’re much more substantial than most other precooked brats. The best part: They really taste like beer. It’s the perfect beer brat flavor—unbelievably fresh and porky, but with that undertone of a refreshing, tasty Fat Tire ale. These are made by Niman Ranch, which seems to take meat seriously. The package says: “Niman Ranch’s all natural pork bratwurst is enhanced by the well-balanced flavor and fresh hops of New Belgium Brewing’s Fat Tire Amber Ale. The result is a juicy sausage with a distinct beer finish.” I mean, the copywriter really nailed it! That’s what you get here and it rules. Buy these for your next BBQ and people are really going to freak out.

Related: Best Trader Joe’s Beers

Credit: Merc / Whole Foods




Other products we tried: Trader Joe’s Bavarian Bratwurst, Johnsonville Beer Brats, Johnsonville Stadium Brats, Parkview Cheddar Brats, Boar’s Head Bratwurst

About the Author

Gwynedd Stuart

Gwynedd Stuart, Sporked’s managing editor, is an L.A.-based writer and editor who spends way, way too much time at the grocery store. She’s never met an Old El Paso taco or mozzarella stick she didn’t like.