There’s something magical about sipping a frosty, fizzy beer alongside a juicy burger.
When paired right, beer and food create a symphony of flavors and textures. It’s no surprise, then, that a food truck is bound to be parked outside your favorite local brewery.
Food was almost immediately a focus for one of the city’s newest breweries, Agile Brewery, which opened off Airline Highway last year. It now runs its own food truck, Brew Bytes Bistro. On the menu: Snacks like fried pickles or mushrooms, creamy beer queso and crispy loaded tots.
The right beer can elevate elements such as spice or sweetness. A rich stout complements a succulent burger, while a zesty IPA works harmoniously with spicy wings.
“An American IPA or a double IPA is actually a great pairing for spicy food,” explains Agile Brewery owner Keith Primeaux. “The high bitterness of an IPA will counterbalance the heat from the food. … They don’t quite cancel each other out, but they actually match.”
This approach also encourages patrons to explore diverse flavors they might not have considered before.
Over in Mid City, Cypress Coast Brewing Company collaborates with a rotation of food trucks from across the region, from gourmet tacos to fusion fare. Local food cart Summers Dawg Daze might be slinging hot dogs one evening, and the next day the Food Joint might be dishing up tangy pineapples stuffed with hearty seafood fried rice.
The brewery introduces new beers, from sours to IPAs, every week. So, the focus of the food is often on what’s in season, starting with crawfish boils in the spring.
“September and October during Oktoberfest, we will bring in a guy that does brats and sausage. During the summer, we will do more smash burgers,” says co-owner Justin Meyers.
Rally Cap Brewing Company also hosts various food trucks such as The Munchie Wagon and Boo’s Best BBQ, as well as pop-ups from local restaurateurs.
“We think a lot about how the beer is going to complement and not fight against the food,” says Kevin Whalen, the founder of Rally Cap. “We’re looking for something that either accentuates the quality of the food or at least allows you to enjoy it and doesn’t compete with the food.”
At the heart of it all is the wisdom that marrying good food with good beer is more than a pairing—it’s a transcendent experience that brings both to new heights.
“A lot of people think about wine and don’t think about beer as much,” Whalen says. “I just want people to know there are many cases where beer can make food taste better. It’s as simple as that. Beer and food are natural pairings.”
Well, Whalen says, there are enough types of beer that if you aren’t a big beer fan yet, you probably just haven’t found your type—or maybe you just haven’t tried it with the right food.
Lighter foods ➕ Lighter beers
“We follow the overall guideline (of) lighter foods for lighter beers and then heavier, a little fuller-bodied beers for full-bodied meals,” says Agile Brewery owner Keith Primeaux.
Spicy foods ➕ IPAs
“The hoppiness almost accentuates the spice,” explains Rally Cap founder Kevin Whalen.
Dessert ➕ Darker beers
“You’re not going to put a lager with (something like chocolate), because it’s just going to overwhelm the beer. … Get a nice darker beer that really complements that rich flavor,” Whalen says.
This article was originally published in the October 2023 issue of 225 magazine.