The Perfect Pairing: Chicago Craft Beers to Complement Your Meat

beer and meat pairings
Beef Products Apr 02
By Elaine Mikesell 1 Comment

Matching meat-centric dishes with the correct beer is a skill rooted in understanding various flavor profiles. It’s a balancing act centering on the complexities of aroma and taste. Meat also includes several textures, depending on preparation techniques, demanding beverages that complement but not overwhelm its primary characteristics. Our team has explored the thriving craft brew scene in Chicago for ideas on how to offer your best beer with Northwest Meat Company meats on your venue’s spring and summer menus.

Below, we take a closer look at several examples of Chicago restaurant meat and beer pairing approaches. 

Pairing Northwest Meat Company Meat Cuts With Beer

Firefly classic dry-aged cheeseburger

Basic Burgers

A classic dry-aged cheeseburger calls for a versatile brew that won’t overpower the meat’s juiciness or the toppings’ complementary flavors. Pick a crisp and clean regular or light lager or a light-bodied pale ale to contrast the melted cheese and our savory dry-aged beef ground patties. 

Gourmet Burgers

Sometimes, you want a little extra kick. For those unique toppings, like avocado, mushroom & swiss, bacon & blue cheese, cajun, and chili burgers, you want a beer that can stand up to these bold ingredients while adding depth and complexity. A malty amber ale or a robust porter fits in nicely with fancy recipes using our Prime Dry Aged 20 oz mini patties. 

Spicy Burgers

For those who want plenty of searing seasonings and toppings like jalapenos, pepper jack cheese, and your secret hot sauces, include a beer that can tame the flames while not dulling your diners’ palette. Offer a sweet brew, like a wheat beer or a fruity IPA. These will give a refreshing contrast while balancing out the spiciness. 

Pairing Northwest Meat Company Poultry With Beer

Firefly Chicken Wings and Wheat Beer pairing

Use this Chicago craft beer pairing guide for insights to complement meals using our premium Wholesale Chicken products…

Fried Chicken

Fried Chicken is a southern-inspired staple that perfectly complements a refreshing craft beer. Select one with a clean, crisp finish. Most light and dry hoppy Lagers, or a Pilsner, should fit the bill.

Pairings For Chicken Wings

Chicken Wings are a universal comfort food, making them an ideal companion to craft beer, whether you’re enjoying them on game days or as a midday snack. Start with traditional Buffalo sauce, celery sticks, and bleu cheese dip. You can also diversify with Asian-inspired preparations like Teryaki.

Other Chicken Wing seasoning styles include honey mustard, lemon pepper, barbeque, and dry rubs with your favorite spices. Offer your diners numerous cooking techniques, including deep-frying, baking, grilling, or slow-smoking. No matter the variation, several beer classes match up.

Lager is a terrific starting point. Its mild personality makes it palatable to diners who are microbrew novices. When paired with various seasonings, Lager offers light and approachable versatility and won’t overpower the meat due to the balanced malt sweetness and subtle hoppy bitterness.

Another light option is Wheat Beer, which cools the taste buds when paired with spicier Wing recipes. It’s also a good option for foods with milder, citrus-based sauces.

Pilsner’s versatility is an ideal counterpoint to the greasier fried variations of nearly any flavor profile. Suggest an Amber Ale to accompany grilled or baked Wing and a Brown Ale for BBQ and Teriyaki style.

For Wings using other Asian and herbal seasonings, try a Belgian Saison for its fruity and spicy characteristics.

Chicago Catering Meat and Beer Pairing

Firefly pulled Pork and Vienna Lager or a Belgian Dubbel beer pairing

Our premium Roast Beef is a universal choice for many catering events, including conferences, graduations, and wedding receptions.

It’s versatile enough to serve hot or cold, thinly sliced, or as a special Prime Rib alongside gravy and horseradish with potato and vegetable side dishes. Offer a malty Amber or Brown ale to complement the roast’s tenderness and rich complexity.

For outdoor events where grilled steaks are an option, choose full-bodied brews like Porters or Stouts. Their roasted malt flavors complement the meat’s charred outer texture.

Easter is upon us and Mother’s Day is around the corner, and our premium Ham selections are featured prominently in numerous catering events across Chicago and nationwide. For baked ham, offer fruity and aromatic brews, including Wheat and Belgian Tripel or Saison, to complement the meat’s sweet & savory profile and caramelized topping.

Or perhaps Lamb is on this year’s Easter event or Mother’s Day menu. We have every cut you’ll need for a traditional gathering of any size. Accompanying brews that pair well include those with slightly malty and spicy traits, like strong Scottish or Belgian ales.

For events where barbecue pulled Pork is featured, be sure to have plenty of brews with malty and sweet profiles available. Most Lagers match up with BBQ nicely, but to make the pork’s smoky sweetness stand out, look for brews with caramel and toffee notes, like Vienna Lager or a Belgian Dubbel. 

Order Premium Hand-Crafted Wholesale Meat Products Today

Whether your venue hosts daily dining, a casual gathering, or an upscale special event, only the best food and beverages will do. Selecting the perfect Chicago meat and beer pairing elevates the experience by making your chefs’ work stand out, impressing your guests, and ensuring repeat business.

At Northwest Meat Company, we specialize in premium wholesale meat and seafood products delivered directly to your kitchen, locally and nationwide. We guarantee quality and stand behind every cut of beef, pork, veal, lamb, seafood, and poultry sold. Visit our website, order through our convenient app, or call our sales team at (312) 733-1418 to order the best wholesale meat in Chicago.

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