Craft BeerEat & DrinkRestaurantsThings to Do

Taste Charlotte’s Top 10 Food and Beer Pairings

posted by Matt McKenzie April 20, 2017
Photo by Kyo H Nam Photography

The Queen City is quickly making a name for itself on both the culinary and craft beer fronts. But with so many choices, it can be difficult to decide which local brew brings out the very best in your favorite bite. Our solution? Selflessly sipping and sampling our way around Charlotte’s gastronomical scene to bring you this comprehensive list of some of the city’s top plates and the perfect pours to order alongside them.*

*Most establishments rotate their draft beer selections on a weekly basis, which may impact the availability of suggested pairings.

1 of 11
Photo by Kyo H Nam Photography

Triple C Brewing Co’s Cajun Stout & Midwood Smokehouse’s Burnt Ends’ Plate 

Fans of Midwood Smokehouse rave about the burnt ends plate, and their reasoning is sound. Immaculately cubed and crisped brisket is tossed in Midwood’s bold homemade sauce, which makes for a mouthwatering result. To complement the burnt ends’ incredible smoky flavor, wash them down with Triple C Brewing Co.’s Cajun Stout, which is brewed with cayenne peppers and balances a warm taste (thanks to the roasted malt) and smooth texture with unbeatable precision.

2 of 11
Photo by Kyo H Nam Photography

Wooden Robot Brewery’s What He’s Having & Moo & Brew’s Brew-braised Shroom and Swiss Burger 

The aptly named Moo & Brew is known for its burgers and beer, and we recommend the Brew-braised Shroom and Swiss burger paired with Wooden Robot Brewery’s What He’s Having. The frothy concoction is best described as a fruity IPA featuring strong hints of orange citrus and grapefruit, allowing it to marry phenomenally with the burger’s succulence and the beer-braised mushrooms’ robust flavor.

3 of 11
Photo by Kyo H Nam Photography

Legion Brewing’s Juicy Jay & The Pizza Peel & Tap Room’s Sorry for Partying Supreme Pizza

At The Pizza Peel & Tap Room, the Sorry for Partying Supreme pizza brings the thunder with its toppings. The expertly seasoned meat (ground beef, pepperoni and sausage) and vegetables (banana peppers, green peppers, roasted red peppers, onions and mushrooms) pack quite the punch. A good IPA will help fan the flames of all that spice, and that’s where Legion Brewing’s Juicy Jay comes into play. Brewed with four different hop varieties, this tropical delight’s juiciness helps wash down the pizza’s toppings with ease.

4 of 11
Photo by Kyo H Nam Photography

Birdsong Brewing Co.’s Jalapeño Pale Ale & FūD at Salud’s Homemade Pretzel 

If a little kick is more your forte, try FūD at Salud’s homemade pretzel. Owner Jeff McElwee crafts his pretzels’ signature spicy beer cheese using Birdsong Brewing Co.’s fan-favorite Jalapeño Pale Ale, which is brewed with fresh, hand-cut jalapeños. That means devouring it while drinking the beer that inspired it all is an absolute no-brainer.

5 of 11
Photo by Kyo H Nam Photography

Lenny Boy Brewing Co.’s Dat Pale American Ale & Craft Tasting Room and Growler Shop’s Cheese and Charcuterie 

Pretzels aren’t the only savory snacks that command a side of craft beer. Despite the unspoken rule that wine, cheese and charcuterie are the trio of choice, there’s a strong argument to be made for beer’s (particularly sours) place in the mashup, too. The acidity of sour beer balances well with the meat’s fattiness and the cheese’s richness. You can discover it for yourself when visiting Craft Tasting Room and Growler Shop and ordering one of owner Dan Davis’ famed charcuterie plates (choose meat, cheese or a combination of both). They work beautifully with Lenny Boy Brewing Co.’s citrus-inspired Dat Pale American Ale, a crisp and balanced pale ale featuring Simcoe, Azacca and Citra hops.

6 of 11
Photo by Kyo H Nam Photography

Unknown Brewing Co.’s Venture American Stout & Duckworth’s Grill and Taphouse’s Moomoo’s Wings

At Duckworth’s Grill and Taphouse, the Moomoo’s Wings carry fame of their own. Named after owner Rob Duckworth’s grandmother, the wings are fried to a neat crisp and then chargrilled before soaking in an unbelievably yummy vinegar-based sauce. With solid flavor packed in the wings, a robust beer, like The Unknown Brewing Co.’s Venture American stout, is an ideal accompaniment. We like this one for its strong notes of chocolate and dark overall character.

7 of 11
Photo by Kyo H Nam Photography

NoDa Brewing Company’s Coco Loco & Queen City Q’s Hand Pulled Pork Platter 

The go-to dish at Queen City Q is the most obvious one when it comes to barbecue: the hand-pulled pork platter. The pork is smoked for hours before it lands on your dish. Sweet notes and a tender consistency make the pulled pork platter a no-brainer match for NoDa Brewing Company’s Coco Loco—a porter that, with a harmony of chocolate and coconut flavors, features a sweetness of its own.


8 of 11
Photo by Kyo H Nam Photography

Sugar Creek Brewing Company’s Pale Ale & Cowbell Burger & Whiskey Bar’s Carolina Burger 

Anchored by hops and bitterness, pale ales and IPAs are two of the best craft beer styles to pair with burgers because they cleanse the palate between bites. Thanks to a well-balanced taste of hop varieties and imported Belgian specialty malts, Sugar Creek Brewing Company serves up a superior pale ale. It’s one that goes down smoothly and stacks up beautifully to Cowbell Burger & Whiskey Bar’s Carolina burger, which comes loaded with chili and coleslaw and black wax cheddar.

9 of 11
Photo by Kyo H Nam Photography

Three Spirits Brewery’s Dream of Wheat & Pure Pizza’s She-Rex Pizza 

Pure Pizza at 7th Street Public Market is home of the She-Rex pizza—a pie that’s piled with mozzarella, mushrooms, onions and peppers, and the piece de resistance—a generous sprinkling of greens tossed in homemade lemon vinaigrette dressing. Thanks to a fine blend of sweetness and hops, a wheat beer will take well to the veggies, greens and vinaigrette. Try Three Spirits Brewery’s Dream of Wheat, which is brewed with cinnamon and orange peels.

10 of 11
Photo by Kyo H Nam

The Olde Mecklenburg Brewery’s Copper & Moosehead Grill’s Uncle Donnie’s Famous Blackened Wings

Uncle Donnie’s Famous Blackened Wings, which take shape in Moosehead Grill’s kitchen, are among the most timeless menu items the city has to offer. And for as long as they’ve been around, the recipe still eludes everyone. Of course, a classic dish deserves a classic beer, and The Olde Mecklenburg Brewery’s Copper fits the bill. Copper was the first beer to break out in the local craft scene in 2009, and it remains the top-selling packaged beer in Charlotte. What’s more, this amber ale’s crisp flavor blends beautifully with the crispness of the blackened wings.

11 of 11

To see more delectable pairings, check out the April issue of Happenings.

You may also like