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Top of the food chains

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Five must-try pairings at America’s greatest brew-friendly chains, and surprising craft options at non-beer eateries.

You don’t have to fly across the country for a dynamic food and beer pairing; try these matches at a beery restaurant that’s likely in your backyard.

Gordon Biersch: Märzen barbecue burger with smoked bacon & a pint of Rauchbier, a 2010 GABF bronze medalist

Yard House (pictured): coconut shrimp with spicy green papaya salad & Yard House Pale Ale, contract-brewed by Firestone Walker

Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery: Double rib pork chop & a malty-sweet Rock Bottom Amber Ale

BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse: Barbecue pulled-pork sandwich & the nitro-conditioned BJ’s P.M. Porter

Old Chicago: Chicago Seven deep dish pizza & Anchor Steam

 

PLUS: National chain restaurants tend to serve strictly megasuds, but a few pour gems that are not only crafty, but also affordable. Here, our favorite craft picks at five big-name spots.

Ruby Tuesday: The craft beer list is as American as this eatery’s fare, with Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA, Abita Turbodog and Flying Dog Old Scratch. Watch for the $3 draft of the day, and score a free mini burger with your brew if you order after 9 p.m.

Claim Jumper: Of the Gold Rush-themed eatery’s three house beers, we’re partial to its grassy-sweet Original Red Ale.

Bonefish Grill: Collectively, the seafood chain pours more than 300 craft brews; the list varies regionally, but watch for pints like Cigar City Maduro, Great Lakes Dortmunder Gold and Highland Gaelic Ale.

Lucille’s Smokehouse BBQ: Enjoy this barbecue haven’s trio of house beers—we like the citrusy honey blonde—en masse; a 22-ounce pour costs just $4.

Rumbi Island Grill: Rumbi maintains its tropical theme with bottles of Kona’s Longboard Island Lager and Pipeline Porter.

 


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