Break your diet with these can’t-miss dishes made and paired with beer.
Even your old La-Z-Boy would give props to the comfort radiating from 35 warm and oozing gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches and the dozens-deep beer list at Melt Bar and Grilled in Lakewood, Ohio. “I have yet to find something more comforting than a great grilled sandwich dripping with gooey cheese and a nice, cold IPA,” says owner Matt Fish. We agree: Try The Parmageddon, a two potato and cheese pierogi, fresh Napa vodka kraut, grilled onions and sharp Cheddar with a Green Flash West Coast IPA.
You’ll find beer in lots of the fancy food at Nashville’s Tayst, an otherwise hip and understated neighborhood joint. This time of year, seek out the seasonal smoked trout hushpuppy glazed in wildflower honey mead and served in a shot glass with mead on the bottom: It doubles as a drink and a snack.
San Diego’s no slouch when it comes to killer tacos, but Taco Asylum takes them to a level of insane goodness. With options like the grilled octopus (flour tortilla, kalamata olives, oregano, feta, tomatoes), lamb (flour tortilla, olive tapenade, ratatouille, mache), and curried paneer (naan tortilla, raita, tomato chutney), available in flights of eight for $18, it’s easy on the wallet and crazy on the tongue. Six craft beers on tap and more than 20 canned options—including hard-to-find selections from 21st Amendment—are available for $6 each.
At Detroit’s PJ’s Lager House, catch a set by local underground bands and crunch your way through the Deep Fried Pickles: These mean, green eats are quartered and hand-rolled in a house blend of cornmeal, spices and Guinness, then deep-fried to perfection.
It’s surely the most sinful meal in beer: Bogies Lounge at California’s Westlake Village Inn serves up the Signature Bogies Dog, a beef frank wrapped in smoked bacon, dipped in a Guinness batter, fried and served with mustard and pickled salsa on a pretzel bun.
Inspired by less sugary, more savory biscuits, all of baker Alison Collins’ South Durham Confection Co.’s cookies (four year-round and several seasonal) are created with beer in mind, even if it’s never an ingredient: The Blue Cheese & Rosemary complements rich stouts, while the Madras & Chili Powder was designed for hoppy IPAs.
Barley Island Brewhouse’s kitchen mixes its Brass Knuckles Oatmeal Stout into its Chocolate Barley Cake batter, soaks the cake layers in hop syrup, then slathers them in malt cream and chocolate buttercream. Dirty Helen Brown Ale adds subtle earthiness to the rich chocolate sauce on the side.
At one of Beervana’s newest brewpubs, Burnside Brewing, chef Ronnie Vance dabbles in molecular gastronomy to make Beer Caviar: He alchemizes house beers like Oatmeal Pale and Sweet Heat into gelled balls and serves them on a spoon next to samples of each beer.
The ribs at Astoria, Queens’ MexiQ Kitchen & Draught (pictured) are hickory-smoked and braised with banana leaves in Dos Equis amber lager; they’re ideal on premise with a pint of one of 48 artisanal and Mexican taps, or to go with a growler of bacony Ithaca Gorges Smoked Porter.
Early risers looking to kick-start the day with a beer fix should try the King Rarebit, an ale and Cheddar fondue on toast, topped with sunny eggs, at Philadelphia’s Memphis Taproom.