5 craft beer + local food pairings you gotta taste together
What better way to experience mountain flavor than with classic meals paired with classic beers, all made in-state?
Beer and food pairings are subjective, so ultimately it’s up to you, but there are a few starting points that you can keep in mind as you figure out what foods and beers go best together for you:
- Lagers and light beers tend to go best with classic American foods.
- India Pale Ales (IPAs) first complement and then temper the spicy heat of Asian and Mexican foods.
- Stouts and Porters go great with cold-weather beefs and muttons.
- Ambers and Red Ales can match well with smokey bbq.
Here are some great food and drink combos to check out around the Mountain State:
1. Bridge Brew Works’ Long Point Lager + Pies and Pints’ Chicken Gouda Pizza
Bridge Brew Works and Pies & Pints Pizzeria are 2 of the New River Gorge’s most beloved institutions— Pies grew such a following, you can get a bite in Morgantown and Charleston, too. The amazing pairings of beer and pizza here are almost infinite, but after a sunny, action-packed day, get back to the basics with something not too spicy, hoppy or strong.
The chicken gouda pizza is a classic, with sliced roasted chicken breast, purple onions and full slices of cheese melted all over a crispy crust.
In between wolfing down slice after slice, mellow out the salty gouda-ness (forgive the cheesy pun) with Bridge Brew’s much-loved standard, the Long Point Lager. It’s the perfect way to chill out after that epic day of adventuring in the gorge.
2. Mountain State Brewpub’s Almost Heaven Amber Ale + Wild Boar Pulled Pork Sandwich
The Mountain State Brewery is one of West Virginia’s oldest and most well-established craft brewers. Although their brewery is headquartered in Thomas, you’ll need to head to the hoppin’ college town of Morgantown for the best food pairings at their brewpub.
The Mountain State brewpub has all of the regular standards of pub food— but their wood-fired sandwiches really stand out. One of their best and most unique is the “Wild Boar,” which combines the smoky goodness of BBQ pulled pork and smoked mozzarella with the zingy spice of pickled jalapeño peppers and a chipotle BBQ sauce.
Such a sandwich needs a beer that is dark enough to complement the pork, but light enough to temper the spice. The nut-brown, caramelly Almost Heaven Amber Ale fits the bill perfectly.
3. Stumptown Ales’s Holy Citra IPA + Black Sheep Burrito’s Bulgogi
IPAs have pushed to the head of the craft beer pack in the last decade, especially the strongly hopped flavor of American IPAs. One of the best IPAs coming out of West Virginia is the tropical-tasting Holy Citra from Stumptown Ales; it definitely holds its own with IPA heavy-hitters.
Cold IPAs go best with light, and moderate-to-heavy spiced foods; they also pair well with oils in nuts or deep-fried eats. But if you really want to think outside the box for an unforgettable IPA pairing, head to Charleston’s Black Sheep Burrito and order up the “Bulgogi.”
Although it’s a burrito, this draws more from Asian than Hispanic cuisine. The ginger and cilantro seasoning mesh perfectly with the Citra’s hops, while the nuttiness of smoked cashews and sesame-marinated flank steak give it a great resolution.
4. Greenbrier Valley Brewing Company’s Mothman Black IPA + Meagher’s Irish Pub’s Bangers & Mash
The first beer that comes to mind when we say “Irish Pub” is almost certainly Guinness, right? A dark, heavy stout goes perfectly with beef stew or Shepherd’s pie on cold, sleety nights. Well, if you want a West Virginia twist on this, head down to the venerable Meagher’s Irish Pub in Bridgeport.
The Greenbrier Valley Brewing Company’s Mothman Black IPA has the zingy, piney zest of high-hops India Pale Ales, but with the dark, chocolatey/coffee finish of a stout or porter. It goes perfectly with a classic Irish bangers & mash of sausages and potatoes smothered in gravy.
It may not be as heavy as Guinness, but that just means that you can have 2, right?
5. Greenbrier Valley Brewing Company’s Devil Anse IPA + Secret Sandwich Society’s Eisenhower
Devil Anse and Eisenhower are a match made in (almost) heaven!
The Devil Anse IPA is an excellent hoppy concoction out of the Greenbrier Valley, named for the grizzled patriarch of the Hatfield family. Its sharp hops complement spicy food at first, before its refreshing coolness tones down that spice.
The Secret Sandwich Society’s hearty sandwiches concentrate on fresh, house-made ingredients. A longstanding favorite of employees and customers alike is the Eisenhower (all sandwiches are named after presidents). With grilled mortadella, cherry peppers and roasted garlic aioli, the Eisenhower goes perfectly with IPAs.
How many of these pairings have you tried?