Staring at a brewery taproom menu and trying to decide what beer would pair best with what food and vice versa can be a complicated undertaking. And with brewpub and taproom menus expanding all across Western New York, it’s not going to get easier anytime soon. But when you get the right pairing, the right beer that works perfectly in concert with exactly the right bite, it’s a special experience. Any foodie, any beer drinker will tell you that.

But how do you achieve such beer – food nirvana?

Resurgence Brewing wants to take the risk out of your decision-making process with their brand new beer pairings menu. Breakfast, lunch, brunch or dinner, Resurgence now have a beer pairing suggestion for every dish their kitchen creates, making the decision of what to drink, and what to eat it with, as easy as it’s ever been.

“Pairing the ideal beer with your lunch, brunch or dinner can be challenging, particularly if you’ve never tasted either!” Resurgence says of their new pairings menu. “Since we know a perfect coupling improves both the beer and the meal, we’ve added beer suggestions to the menu of delights served by our kitchen. Perplexed by the best beer to drink while chowing down our crazy good, sweet chili brussels sprouts? What about the Brewer’s Salad, jazzed up with dried cranberries, sunflower seeds and bleu cheese? Our new menu takes the guesswork out of what to order.”

My favorite pairing is the Chicago Street Burger with the classic Resurgence IPA. That choice is a little bias on my part since it’s my favorite thing off the menu, but thinking of eating this burger with fresh pint of their flagship IPA in the other hand is actually making my mouth water as I type.

Resurgence’s Director of Brewing Operations Andrew Zach and Chef James Stark shared three of their favorite pairings off the new menu.

Big A$$ Fish Sandwich with Cosmic Truth Session IPA

“I wanted to do ours as a massive, almost impossible to eat sandwich with everything from the local seasonal classic,” Chef Stark said. “We take a haddock fillet and split it. Personally, I like having two pieces of fish; it just means more surface area for our beer batter made from our Bridge Pilsner. Throw that on a Costanzo 8″ sub roll with our house-made tartar sauce, our tangy coleslaw and a handful of our fries and we put that down in front of you. Figure out how you are going to eat it. It’s big, ridiculous, and most of all delicious.”

“We chose Cosmic Truth to pair with the fish sandwich because the citrus punch from this beer accentuates the beer batter flavor,” Zach added. “The tangy coleslaw and tartar sauce meld well with the tropical flavors from the beer.  And we needed a light, flavorful beer to pair with this Big A$$ Sandwich!”

Reuben with Sponge Candy Stout

“I love a good Reuben. It is a top tier sandwich,” Chef Stark said. “We make our own corned beef in house and our Irish Red Ale is essential in getting this icon to the plate. We brine a brisket for one week using a secret blend of spices and our [Old Neighborhood] Irish Red Ale. We then braise that brisket with more of that Irish Red and some vegetables and spices for several hours. Cool it down and slice it thick. Just as important as the corned beef is the sauerkraut. We make this in house too. We then put it all together with Swiss cheese and our 1000 Island on grilled marble rye.”

“We chose Sponge Candy Stout to pair with the Reuben because a great sandwich deserves a great beer,” Zach said. “The dark chocolate and sweetness from the sponge candy balance out the salty brine from the brisket. Then the slight acidity from the stout helps balance the sourness of the sauerkraut. Our mouths start watering, thinking about this pairing.”

Sweet Chili Brussels with Tiny Juice Monster New England IPA

“Fried, crispy Brussel sprouts are perfect, it’s the best way to cook them, everyone knows this,” Chef Stark said. “I like to dress them up with something with a little bit of a kick. That’s where our gochujang sweet chili sauce comes in. Gochujang is a Korean fermented chili paste that is one of the tastiest ways to get a little spice into your food; a little bit of funk, a little bit of sweet and a good amount of heat. But the heat doesn’t stop there; we throw on a few pickled Fresno chilies too. Don’t be afraid, the heat is not overwhelming and the sweetness and the crunch of the sprouts keeps you coming back for more, almost like popcorn.”

“We chose Tiny Juice Monsters to pair with the Sweet Chili Brussels because Tiny Juice Monsters love Brussel sprouts,” Zach said. “This beer provides a nice tropical punch to pair with the slight spicy flavor of the chili sauce.  These aren’t your normal Brussel sprouts, and this isn’t your normal NEIPA, so the pairing just works.”

What pairing will be your favorite? Better yet, what’s the first beer –food pairing you’re ordering?

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Brian Campbell is co-founder and Brand Manager of the Buffalo Beer League, and writes the weekly Buffalo Beer Buzz column. If you have beer news that should be included in the Beer Buzz, Brian can be reached at, on Twitter (@buffbeerleague), Instagram (@buffalobeerleague), and Facebook (@thebuffalobeerleague).