Who doesn’t love a juicy turkey leg? And don’t get us started on the funnel cake! This year’s NC State Fair is a special one – not only is the fair celebrating 150 years of amazingness, but it’s the first time that NC beer and wine will be available for sale on state fairgrounds. We thought – what better way to celebrate this than give you a NC beer and food pairing guide for all that you’ll encounter at this year’s NC State Fair?
Just to clarify, you cannot bring food into the Our State Public House. (It’s a very small space and we want to make sure your beer has breathing room!) You also cannot take alcohol outside of the Our State Public House. (Remember that small space I was talking about? Yeah, that’s the only area permitted for alcohol. Sorry.)
Now that we’ve clarified: think of this as a slightly hopeful, use your imagination after you leave the Public House guide to pairing NC beer with NC State Fair food.
When you think seafood, you usually think light, refreshing. That’s also what you should think about when you try the Bombshell Pilsner with the Ragin’ Cajun’s NC Lump Crabmeat Hushpuppies. The pilsner is light enough to showcase the sweetness of the crab, yet crisp enough to balance out the heat of the chipotle butter. Yowza!
Looking to get a little messier? Dive right into a Charlie Barefoot and Sons Chili Dog. This classic hot dog stand has been a part of the fair since 1949 and the Four Saints Potter’s Clay Amber Ale is a perfect complement to the meaty, savory experience of taking a bite out of history. The toasty notes pair with the toast of the bun, the caramel and malt balance out the savoriness. How ’bout one?
Hot dog not going to fill you up? Go with the fair classic, the delicious turkey leg! Smoky outside, tender inside, this delightful dish has a friend in Brüeprint’s new seasonal, Oktobrüefest. The chocolate rye malt adds a roasty spice characteristic and a subtle sweetness that works in all the right ways with the richness of the turkey.
Imagine this: a tasty satchel of lightly seasoned ground beef wrapped in a toasted warm pastry, and you’ve got the Jamaican Beef Pocket. Pair this savory pouch with a Big Boss Bad Penny Brown Ale and your mouth will love you forever. Bad Penny’s malty goodness works like magic to pull the slight spiciness and the toastiness together in a perfect flavor combo. Jamaican me crazy just thinkin’ ’bout it.
For those who like a little hop in their pairings, Fullsteam has you covered. Humidity Pale Ale is brewed with triticale, a wheat-rye hybrid grown here in NC. Take that little bit of spice from the rye, add it to the vinegar and pepper from Chick-N-Que‘s signature Eastern N.C.-style chopped chicken, and prepared to be amazed. The bright hops and lively carbonation refresh your palette so you can go right back in for more.
You know we had to throw you in a sour beer and who better to get a sour from than Durty Bull. The tart yet hoppy Sour Pale Ale works its magic after you indulge in a Deep-Fried Cuban Roll from Chef’s D’Lites. The combination of the savory, salty nature of the pork with the the tart, acidic bite of the beer – it’s on point. Throw in some Swiss cheese and it’s basically a party in your mouth.
If you really only want dessert (Hey! We’re not judging.), get some Caramel ice cream and make yourself a decadent float with Deep River’s Pumpkin Pie Porter. If that doesn’t say NC State Fair to you, I don’t know what will.
All these beers can be found at this year’s Our State Public House, located just inside Gate 8 in Heritage Circle. Stop by and have a flight before taking in the flower show. We promise it’ll be worth it. See you at the fair!