Wednesday, 25 September 2019 13:48

Chews and Brews: Where to start with beer and food pairing in West Michigan

Written by  Kelly Brown
Rate this item
(1 Vote)
City Built Brewing Lechon Taco paired with Alemania City Built Brewing Lechon Taco paired with Alemania Courtesy Photo

Like fine wine and cheese, every beer has its soulmate. With exotic menus hitting breweries across West Michigan, it can be hard to identify the perfectly paired beer for your locally sourced, hand-caught, seasonal dinner. Luckily, if you know who to ask, the staff themselves can help you out! To get you started, we asked some local brewers to weigh in on their menu pairing favorites.


Broad Leaf & Brewery Vivant
Jonathan Ward

What is your best beer and food pairing?

Brewery Vivant: Farm Hand and Charcuterie Board

Broad Leaf: Zwickel or Kolsch with the Skewers

Why do fries and beer pair so well?

Fries are not only great to pair with beer on their own, but also a delivery system for other flavors, mainly through texture and salt. The bright carbonation of beer lifts flavors off your tongue and gets you craving the next bite. 

It’s intimidating to pair a beer with something like the Tempeh Sandwich at Broad Leaf. What do you recommend?

There is a lot going on with that sandwich. You’ve got nuttiness from the soybeans, bright acidic fruit from the slaw, and just a touch of heat. You could take it a few ways depending on the season. I would probably go with a Beamed Propulsion — it’s an IPL, but the hops are more in a floral and light lemon realm with just a hint of dank. I’d avoid anything high-octane. 

What’s your general recommendation when pairing food with beer?

When we pair our beers to our food, we are looking at the beers as a condiment that should enhance the flavors and aromas of both the food and the beer. So, with something like the Tempeh Sandwich, you could go the route of adding a bit of acid and zip to match the slaw or you could play up the rich and umami aspects of the tempeh with a more malt-forward beer. 


Rockford Brewing Company
Chris Montgomery & Matt Valleau

What is your favorite menu item and beer pairing?

The new Pastrami Sandwich with our Sheehan’s Irish Stout.

What would you pair with a more unique menu item? For instance, the Rice Bowl?

The salty, earthy, umami character in the rice bowl is complemented perfectly with the smooth hop and malt balance of the Cream Ale.


City Built Brewing
Ed Collazo 

What is your favorite food and beer pairing?

I love the Lechon Taco paired with Alemania (It means Germany in Spanish and is not pronounced Ale Mania). 

What makes Puerto Rican food pair so well with beer?

Sofrito is our main ingredient: a mixture of garlic, peppers, cilantro, culantro, salt and pepper. It is so flavorful, it begs a drink of beer. The flavors found in our food highlight the hops in IPAs and the tart and sour flavors in our kettle sours.


One Well Brewing
Chris O’Neil

What is your favorite food and beer pairing?

We have been infusing our Xalapa, a non-spicy Jalapeno blonde, into our beer cheese since the beginning of time at One Well. The app It’s Mine! (because it’s “not cho’s”) gets to feature this cheese sauce because it gives the nacho the ability to continue to be tasty even after the nachos get cold.


Speciation Ales 
Mitch Ermatinger

You only serve one real food item at Speciation — Nordic Hot Dogs. Why did you make this decision and how do they work well with beer?

We added Nordic Hot Dogs to our menu for a few reasons: First and foremost, we are in love with Scandinavia and as odd as it sounds, Scandinavia is in love with hot dogs. These are legit hot dogs made from pasture-raised meat, with good quality toppings. We also added them to our menu because they pair perfectly with sour beer (carbs and fat to cut through the acidity of the beer) and they were easy to add to our food license without having to build out an entire kitchen.

Login to post comments

© 2020 Serendipity Media, LLC

Join Our Newsletter!

Please validate that you're human.

Event Calendar

Breaking News

 Revue DigitalMag LookInside PreviewBoxAUGUST

Revue Subscribe PopupH