Charlotte’s growing culinary and craft beer scenes make the perfect pair for Southern and internationally inspired cuisine complemented by one of the Queen City’s hometown brews. Finding the perfect pour to accompany local cuisine from barbecue to burgers is an easy match for Charlotte’s local purveyors. From jalapeño to coriander, burnt ends to barbacoa, the possibilities are endless, so here are a few good places to start:
*Rotating tap selections may impact the availability of the suggested pairings.
Piled to perfection with ribbon red onions, house-made pickles and Simple Sauce (the signature sauce that sets these burgers apart), the simply-named Hamburger + Cheese at Harriet Hamburger’s in Optimist Hall pairs perfectly with Fonta Flora’s Whippoorwill Wit, a wheat beer brewed beautifully with coriander, orange, and earl grey tea. Both must-try stops in the textile-mill-turned-food-hall, this crisp wit complements the rich flavors of Harriet’s classic burger.
With an around-the-clock smoking schedule boasting at least one piece of hickory burning 24 hours a day, Midwood Smokehouse stays true to its name, providing barbecue the old-school way at all four Charlotte-area locations. There’s no better way to experience the traditional barbecue delight than by deviating slightly from the pulled pork (though it’s well worth a second helping) and heading straight to the burnt ends alongside NoDa Brewing’s Jam Session Pale Ale. The flavors and aromas of caramelized cubes of brisket cooked in ‘Cola barbecue sauce get elevated alongside the year-round pale ale’s pine and citrus notes. The result is a barbecue experience that keeps folks coming back for more.
A trip to local favorite Sabor Latin Street Grill would not be complete without a heaping plate of Nachos Especial, brimming with pulled chicken, barbacoa, and chorizo accompanied by pico de gallo, guacamole, queso, and a sprinkle of cotija cheese. Whether you’re willing to share or keeping it to yourself, a pour of Birdsong Brewing’s Jalapeno Pale Ale combines a multitude of flavors for a delightfully authentic street-food experience. The refreshing ale gets brewed with hand-cut jalapeños (seeds removed) for a subtle flavor sans heat to offset the slightly hoppy citrus undertones of a classic American pale ale.
Salud Cerveceria is not only home to incredibly distinct Dominican-inspired brews, like Del Patio, a Mexican-style lager brewed with flaked corn, but the space also contains an amazing wood-fired pizza kitchen. It churns out delicious creations on homemade dough and features creative spins of Italian and South American flavors. Let the house lager’s crisp profile add a welcome contrast to the Claimin True, a house favorite pie with a red-sauce base, mozzarella cheese, and prosciutto topped with arugula tossed in a lemon vinaigrette. With vegan options in exchange for the classic prosciutto, Salud Cerveceria has every palate covered and considered.
And what would a Queen City beer trip be without a trip to Olde Mecklenburg Brewery’s biergarten for a Bavarian-style pretzel and German-style beer? Classic flavors abound here. For example, the flagship Copper altbier’s robust notes of graham cracker and toffee bring a touch of sweetness to the quintessential salty warm pretzel, served with Dusselfdorf mustard and bier cheese.
The perfect pairing awaits you at more than seventy craft breweries in the greater-Charlotte area. Learn more about the Queen City beer scene at charlottesgotalot.com.
- by Erin Byers Murray
- by Hannah Lee Leidy
- by Hannah Lee Leidy
- by Julia Miller