As one of the biggest sporting events in the world, the Super Bowl brings so many people together. Whether you’re a die-hard fan of the game or someone who really just showed up to watch the halftime show, we can all enjoy the drinks and food at a Super Bowl party.
This year, the Super Bowl will be held in Las Vegas and just like the rest of the city, the food scene within the stadium is just as unique and extraordinary. Unfortunately, like many of you, I can’t go see the game in person (scheduling conflict, you know how it is) but after seeing the food offerings for the game, I had major FOMO.
But fear not! I have scoured Chicagoland and my own recipes to get amazing food recommendations that will rival or even beat the offerings in Vegas. If you happen to be lucky enough to go there in person, these suggestions could be a good litmus to judge your Super Bowl meals. For us watching from home in Chicagoland, here are some of the items that I may eat to feel like I’m at the Super Bowl too.
There are some primo burgers available to those at the game and one I’ve been eyeing is an Asian Fusion style with a wasabi mayo. This got me thinking of making some creative burgers at home. With a little ingenuity, we can create some amazing fusion burgers in our own kitchens.
I think when it comes to making fusion burgers, there are three levels – the simplest way to get those Asian flavors into a burger is by simply changing up the condiments. Add some wasabi to mayo at home to make something similar to the ones at the stadium or go big with an upgraded spicy mayo by combining Chinese chili oil, sriracha, and Japanese mayo for that extra depth of flavor and complexity. The next level would be to change up some of the toppings. Fresh or pan-fried kimchi is an amazing topping for burgers and tossing on a fried egg gets you a burger many Asian-fusion places serve up. For me, I wanted to add a topping most haven’t seen before – jjajang sauce. This sauce is made with an inky black base sauce called chunjang (tiánmiànjiàng in Chinese). It’s a complex and slightly sweet sauce made of fermented wheat flour and soybeans. Usually eaten with noodles, this sauce can pack an umami punch when added to a burger. I added a leafy section of fresh homemade cabbage kimchi on top to add a bit of acidity and boom – you’ve got yourself a Jjajang Burger. If you want to take it to expert level though – make a custom Asian burger patty with some Wagyu fat trimmings, and get them thin and crispy by making them a smash burger with a splash of soy, ginger, and garlic as you sear them for a flavor-packed burger that needs minimal toppings. For this burger, I added a few of the meatier pieces of the trimmings as a layer just below the patty and topped it with a red pepper vinegar sauce called chojang for balance. Add some loaded kimchi fries to finish the whole aesthetic but make sure you use a fork.
I suggest letting these burgers really shine by pairing it with the Easy Drinking Bud Light. The rice in Bud Light compliments the Asian flavors and finishes crisp on the palate. If you’re looking for something crafty to pair with your burger, why not pair it with another local favorite – Hopewell’s Stay Frosty Winter Lager. This beer is another great pairing option due to the caramel maltiness of Stay Frosty. It is a great juxtaposition against the richness of the beef patties.
A Barbecue Feast
In the stadium, it wouldn’t be very easy to carry over a full platter of BBQ to your seat and eat it comfortably – well that’s too bad for those at the Super Bowl (is my jealousy showing?) because we won’t have that issue! In Vegas, they’ll have to settle for more portable versions of their BBQ, mainly in the form of sandwiches. They offer brisket, pork shoulder, and chicken and I’m sure they taste great but if I’m going to have BBQ – I am going ham (pun intended) on a fully loaded platter. I don’t think the stadium’s offerings can hold up against a full platter with plenty of sauces and napkins – For me, I like my platter loaded with brisket, ribs, pulled pork, and smoked wings.
I wish I was a pitmaster – it’s something I always found very daunting. Luckily, there are great BBQ spots all around the city and in Chicagoland. Choose your favorite place and make sure you call ahead early if you’re planning on getting catering from them or get that reservation in before they’re booked up. If you are going to have it at home, it’s a great chance to try some sauce pairings that aren’t offered at the restaurant. Try Texas style with Alabama White, St. Louis Style with a Lexington, Memphis style with Baltimore style horseradish, you’d be surprised by how many combinations are possible! Bud Light and BBQ are a perfect pairing that really lets the pitmaster’s flavors resonate. Another great option is to look over to Texas and grab a Shiner Bock to pair with your meats. Shiner and BBQ go hand in hand in my book.
Ain’t No Party (Sub) like an Italian Party (Sub)
A sub sandwich is a symphony of flavors that brings together so many ingredients to form a sum greater than its parts. The ceiling is obscene on a sub because you can always upgrade the bread, the meat, the cheese, the veggies, etc… I’ve made some great sandwiches at home but there is something very unique about ones that are made in a deli. Recently, I learned a trick that makes a world of difference.
You probably have a spot for Italian subs but if you want to make your own for your Super Bowl party, it’s important to make it just a little bit before the guests arrive (30 minutes to an hour before). Get the bread you like, the meats you like, and all the toppings you like but timing is key. Here are some tips to make your sandwich go from okay to “OH KAY!”.
The final step to make this an extraordinary sub is to wrap it in butcher paper or parchment paper and let it rest in the fridge. When it’s ready to eat, throw on the extra black pepper, a little flakey salt, quality olive oil, and maybe even a spritz of the pickled red onion brine. If we added all that while it was resting, the lettuce would have soaked up all the liquids and oil and sogged it out. Some extras you can add are fresh mozzarella, roasted red peppers, a little balsamic, and some Italian seasoning at the end too. A great pairing for Italian subs are hoppy and citrusy IPAs like Goose Island IPA. It will cut through the richness of the meats and cheeses but also compliment the acidity of the toppings. It’s a pairing I’ve done multiple times and it’s very hard to beat. You can also pair it with some other citrus forward IPAs like Spiteful IPA, Stone IPA, or Founders All Day.
Game Day Trinity – Football, Beer, and Wings
I may have mentioned this before but chicken wings are my favorite food in the world and I have tried many different types of wings all around the city. From what I’ve seen, the wings served in the stadium seem like they would taste great but they are similar to the ones sold in most pizza spots around town that have them on the menu but don’t really specialize in them. When it comes to that classic buffalo wing though, there are only a handful of spots that I go to to satisfy that exceptional wing craving. However, I’m now out in the suburbs and those spots are just a little too far for me to drive to on a whim. That is why I was beyond excited when I discovered a place famous for their wings out here in my new suburb. I’ve always preferred non-breaded wings in the past because I was a purist but the crunch on dredged wings are making me reconsider. Regardless of whether you go for traditional style or breaded, there are plenty of options in Chicagoland that will satisfy. This is one food that I’d definitely order from a restaurant because the juice just aint worth the squeeze making them at home for me. Budweiser is my preferred beer when I’m eating wings because it doesn’t fill me up and pairs so well with the wings. I recently started eating them with Michelob Ultra so I can have some extra wings and I’ve enjoyed that pairing just as much. If you’re as big of a fan of chicken wings as I am, you know it’s a marathon, not a race – go with something lighter in the lager or pilsner family and you won’t regret it. Trumer Pils, Haymarket Speakerswagon, and Spiteful Lager are all great options that I have happily had with my chicken wings before.
For Those Who Prefer Boneless and/or Something Spicy!
No, I’m not saying to get boneless wings (they’re not really wings!). I am talking about boneless chicken options. I understand some of you don’t want to worry about bones while you’re focusing on the game. There are some bone-free chicken options for those at the Super Bowl too. One thing that stood out to me at their concessions was some pretty great looking Nashville Hot-style chicken sandwiches. Hot Chicken is easy to do at home because the heat is the last part that is added. If you have breaded chicken tenders, breaded chicken patties, or any kind of fried chicken already at the party, making a hot oil for your spice loving friends is pretty easy to do. One part oil to three parts of your favorite hot sauce in a hot pot is all you need. Cayenne based sauces will get you that signature red hue associated with Nashville Hot but go with what you like. I made mine with a mixture of a cayenne based hot sauce along with a habanero one. When the mixture is nice and warm, just dip the chicken in and pull it right out. If you’re making a smaller batch, use a sauce pan to heat the mixture and toss the mixture with the chicken. As a spicy food lover myself, I plan to open up some special bottles I’ve been eyeing for the Super Bowl this year. Just remember to not heat the mixture to the point where it will aerosolize because nothing ruins a Super Bowl party faster than accidentally macing everyone. Pair it with white bread and pickles if you’re traditional – I decided to go with a creamy coleslaw (in case the chicken got too spicy) and some pickled jalapeños (if the chicken wasn’t spicy enough). With spicy foods, I usually go with two schools of thought: you can either match the intensity with a bold IPA or cool the burn with crisp lagers. If you are in the first camp, Hopewell’s Going Places, Goose Island’s Hazy Beer Hug, Spiteful’s Working for the Weekend, or Haymarket’s Mathias are all strong choices. If you want to ease that burn, Bud Light, Michelob Ultra, Goose Island Full Pocket Pils, or Stella Artois are great pairings.
Even though at the time of writing this, the two teams are not decided yet, I am already excited for this year’s Super Bowl. Let me know if you tried any of these suggestions and I would love to hear your feedback after trying some of these food and beer pairings. If you are going to the Super Bowl
let’s be friends and go next year let me know what you think about the food there and if you think these choices are better or worse; I am super curious to hear your thoughts!
It’s beginning to actually feel like winter in Chicagoland now and when the chilly temperatures arrive, that means it’s time to break out the winter warmers! Here are five beers from local breweries that I usually keep on hand to enjoy while getting the feeling back in my fingers after clearing snow.
Alter Brewing Company’s Swedda Wedda is not only fun to say – it’s really fun to drink too! Even at 6.0% ABV, you can usually start feeling the warmth pretty quickly. As an oatmeal stout, the layers of complexity really mask the higher ABV. With notes of chocolate, coffee, toffee, and vanilla, this smooth and creamy stout usually satisfies my craving for a hot chocolate.
Moody Tongue Winter Ale can only be found on draught but I think you’ll really enjoy it if you happen to be at a bar or restaurant that serves it. This 6.5% ABV Belgian-style dark ale has notes of toffee and candied orange peel along with cinnamon, cardamom, and ginger aromatics. As a Moody Tongue beer, it’s made to be paired with food. They suggest braised short rib, roast leg of lamb, a panettone, or date honey nut cake – anything rich and indulgent can work.
Spiteful Brewing’s Jingle Balls is a winter ale that comes in at 6.7% ABV and is perfect as an afternoon beer. Perfectly spiced with ginger, nutmeg, and cinnamon, this winter ale starts off as an amber ale made with Maris Otter malt so you know it’ll have a nice subtle sweetness to it.
Hopewell Brewing Company’s Long Shadows was something I’ve been waiting to crack open for the first substantial snowfall but I couldn’t wait that long. This red-hued Winter IPA is piney and citrusy with a toasty malt backbone. At 7.5% ABV, this IPA is a great pairing for a holiday roast or a beer to end the evening with.
Of course we had to include Goose Island Bourbon County Stout if we’re talking about local winter warmers because every single BCS is a great winter warmer. As the originators of the barrel aging style, their newest 2023 lineup was packed with great collaboration like the Bourbon County Brand Eagle Rare 2-Year Reserve Stout and Angel’s Envy 2-Year Cask Finish Stout but the one I look forward to most every year is their Proprietor’s. It’s usually the most experimental and most out of the box and I really enjoyed this year’s. Unofficially, I’m calling it the BCS Rice Pudding and I think it’s a perfect treat for the holidays. The toasted rice, vanilla custard, dried fruit, and spice flavors make me feel like I’m in a Dickens novel. At 14.3% ABV, it’s going to be a winter heater for some but it’s perfectly toasty for me.
Here’s the warmth scale just because I liked the way it looked. Maybe I’ll make a Winter Warmer Flight out of it!
Chicago’s rich and diverse history has made it a major cultural melting pot for generations. From the earliest settlers to the newest generation, wintertime celebrations are a major part of many cultures. Some of you may not know how your neighbors, friends, or co-workers celebrate but if you are curious to know more, here’s a short list of some of the traditions we here at Lakeshore Beverage celebrate.
Hanukkah is a Jewish festival filled with rich traditions and foods. I am lucky to have grown up in an area that allowed me to have many Jewish friends. I grew up going to Jewish delis and being part of many Jewish holidays and I can honestly say that it’s one of my favorite cuisines. There are many different dishes that come to mind for the holiday such as brisket, matzo ball soup, and gelt but one thing I always look forward to is dessert – especially sufganiyot.
I love baked goods and donuts but the sufganiyot my friend’s grandmother made were out of this world! There are many different fillings for these pastries but the ones I dream of eating are custard filled and fried in schmaltz. These are so decadent that you’d need something that can keep up with their richness. The Espresso Martini from Cutwater (to keep you awake after a huge meal) or a stout from Founders like their Breakfast Stout would be a great pairing for these.
For many, Christmas is something that they look forward to all year. A way for many Christians in the world to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, this holiday has spread all across the globe. The holiday may be called the same thing all around the world but each culture has made the holiday their own by incorporating their culture.
A Polish holiday isn’t a holiday without pierogies and even though they are eaten all year round, this dish is a staple of Christmas in Polish households. As one of the biggest Polish populations in the world, Chicago has some of the most authentic pierogies I’ve ever had in all my travels. Whatever they’re filled with, I make sure I have plenty of crispy onions and butter on top. It goes without saying that pierogies are best paired with Polish beer and one of the best is Okocim. Another combination which might sound strange to you, is pierogies with Guinness – especially if they’re filled with beef.
This musical tradition from Puerto Rico is a popular tradition during Christmas Time that is similar to caroling. The tradition of visiting family and friends to sing is often accompanied with food and drink such as pasteles and coquito. Pasteles are similar to tamales but this masa is made from cassava, yautia, and squash. There are a myriad of fillings in savory or sweet categories but whatever they are filled with, they are delicious! I can’t think of anything better to pair with pasteles and fuel the singing of Aguinaldo music than Medalla Light.
Kwanzaa is celebrated by Black communities over seven days following Christmas. The sixth night of Kwanzaa celebrates the principle of kuumba or creativity. It’s also the night of the Kwanzaa Karamu or feast. Families invite loved ones and friends into their homes to share a meal inspired by the foods of the African Diaspora such as salt fish, red beans, and pigeon peas. There are many different foods that can be incorporated into the meal but the main dish in many homes is a one-pot stew or soup like thieboudienne or a jambalaya. I haven’t had the chance to try thieboudienne, the national dish of Senegal, but I have had jambalaya and I’m sure many of you have too. This flavorful Cajun rice dish is often made with andouille sausage and seafood like mussels and shrimp. These bold flavors need an equally intense drink pairing like an Alaskan Amber Ale. Jambalaya also goes great with a white wine like our 90+ Cellar’s Sauvignon Blanc.
Although most of the world goes by the Gregorian calendar, another major calendar still in use today is the Chinese calendar – used by many Asian countries such as Korea, Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam in conjunction with the Gregorian. If you ever wondered why Chinese New Year didn’t line up with January 1st, this is why. Regardless of what calendar you use however, it seems to be a universal human desire to have large celebrations during the winter.
As one of the biggest festivals of the year for those with Chinese ancestry, this celebration has made it all across the globe and is a major holiday in many countries. Even outside of China, the traditions and foods are largely the same. It is a celebration of the upcoming spring and is used as a reunion dinner for many families. The dinner can consist of many courses and different foods but one of the staples for this celebration are dumplings. Especially popular for those who live in or are descendants of the northern region of China, jiaozi (dumplings) symbolize wealth and good fortune because their shape is similar to sycee – a type of gold and silver ingot used as currency in imperial China. By serving them to guests, the host is wishing them prosperity in the upcoming year.
Due to the symbolic nature of certain foods in Chinese culture, jiaozi can fill multiple roles in the meal with what they’re filled with. They can be savory or sweet, but for me, my favorite is a steamed fish jiaozi. I find that most Asian dishes pair very well with lagers and pale ales. I would enjoy a couple helpings of fish jiaozi and a couple pints of Moody Tongue Toasted Rice Lager. Another great choice would be Spiteful’s Alley Time or Alter’s Hopular Kid if you still want a bit of hoppiness.
Many Korean holidays also follow a calendar derived from the Chinese calendar. Seollal is called that because it’s the day everyone in Korea becomes one year older. For those who are confused by that sentence, let me explain. In Korean culture, everyone becomes a year older on the same day regardless of what time of the year you are born. It’s a very quirky tradition that had me very confused growing up but that’s just how it is. Seollal is also a reunion celebration and focuses heavily on showing piety to their elders. It’s also a great day for many Korean children because they are usually gifted with a nice bit of money and many traditional Korean games. The main dish eaten on this day is called tteokguk or rice cake soup. Korean tteok (pronounced like duck), is not the crunchy dieter’s bane kind of rice cake – it is a soft and chewy rice cake more similar to mochi. The traditional way to make this soup is with a beef based broth filled with thinly sliced rice cake and beef slices. Similarly to Chinese jiaozi, the thinly sliced rice cake looks very much like a traditional Korean currency called yeopjeon and symbolize wealth in the upcoming year.
The broth is a rich and cloudy white that makes every spoonful a surprise when you bring it up to the surface – and just like the broth, a hazy IPA would be a great pairing for this dish. Goose Island’s Hazy Beer Hug or Hopewell’s Lightbeam are a great compliment to this rich beef soup. Stone’s Hazy IPA would also be a great choice.
I have been very fortunate to grow up in Chicagoland and the multitude of cultures living so closely together. Because my Korean celebrations didn’t line up with many of my friends growing up, I was always free to spend the holidays with them. One of my most vivid memories was getting invited to New Year’s with my friend Conrad because I had never eaten something like I was served before. Shuba or dressed herring is one of the most popular New Year’s dishes in Ukraine. If you haven’t had or seen this dish before, it is a sight to behold! It is a multilayered salad (salad as in egg or potato salad, not like a Caesar or niçoise) that symbolizes the winter coats many in Ukraine use.
I had never had herring before (it’s one of my favorite snacks now) and I couldn’t stop staring at how brightly purple it was from the beets. It’s a unique taste because of the combination of eggs, mayonnaise, herring, carrots, beets, and potatoes. It wasn’t long before I went in for seconds (and thirds). It’s a deliciously rich and salty dish that needs a beer that can compliment its strong flavors. An IPA would pair nicely with how strong the flavors are – some of my top choices for this would be a Fresh Squeezed from Deschutes or a Furious from Surly. Another way we can go with this would be for a nice mouthfeel and perceived sweetness from a hefeweizen like Buckledown’s Party Pillow.
I love eating tamales all throughout the year but it holds a lot of cultural significance for Mexicans and Mexican-Americans on New Year’s Day. It is said that the golden color of the corn masa symbolizes wealth and the laborious aspect of making tamales represents unity since it usually involves a lot of family members to make the large batches. I don’t want to brag but I am quite the tamalero (tamale-maker) after spending many long hours helping make them in the past. Fresh and homemade tamales are so different from the frozen ones I’ve had before I tried handmade ones. I always thought the fillings were the most important but it really is the masa that makes it. My favorite type of tamale is pork and I think it goes without saying that a Mexican lager is probably a perfect pairing for tamales. Estrella Jalisco is a perfect choice for this dish. If you want to spice it up even more, Estrella Micheladas like the Mango or Chamoy can really kick up the complexity. And if you are a fan of pairing with cocktails, a Paloma like Salucita is a bright and citrusy cocktail that will help cut through the richness of the tamale.
There are so many different cultures that have unique winter celebrations and the traditions listed above are just a small sample of what our great city celebrates. If you have a great food and drink combination that you believe must be shared, please feel free to share them so we can try!
Halloween is coming up faster than you know and with all the parties coming up, do you have a costume ready? I know I don’t! So, if you’re a beer or cider lover like us, why not let some of our amazing spooky-themed beers be your costume inspiration this year?
A perennial favorite for peanut butter fans everywhere. The iconic Absence of Light monster from the can will surely draw some attention. Throw on some short horns, put on a brown shirt and make sure you have plenty of peanut butter cups on hand to share.
As the antagonist of one of the greatest horror movies in recent years, this goat could be the GOAT for drink-inspired costumes. Made with real fruit, this blood orange and cranberry hard cider could easily fool some into thinking you’re drinking something much spookier. Find some goat horns and drape yourself in something black with vvhatever you can find!
Darkness is an apt name for a stout this massively opaque! Chocolatey and sweetened even more so with tart cherry and raisin, this beer is balanced by its piney resinous hop character. Every year the packaging is done by a different artist and this year’s eyeball-filled eldritch horror could be too much for some. Grab a pack of self-adhering googly eyes and embrace your inner goth for a quick and easy costume.
A lot of alliteration for Alien Avatar Amber Ale. This smooth and malty beer has a nice hop backbone that should please IPA drinkers. Go retro with an 8-bit themed saucer costume or make it your own by going full Roswell Grey. If you can find it, go with the classic Alien Abduction costume – it brings a smile to my face every year.
All Hallows Treat hopes to rekindle your favorite childhood Halloween memories with the aromas and flavors of dark chocolate, creamy peanut butter, and soft vanilla swirl. This rich and malty beer will have you entranced! The artwork from the can gives you two options – zombie searching for “graaaaaiiins” or the classic white sheet ghost!
A barrel-aged take on a classic German style – this lager is transformed into something out of this world with complex wood and whiskey notes over a soft roastiness. Go check your parent’s attic to see if they kept your costume from your solar system project. Or rush out and find a moon-texture printed tee shirt to pair with this lunar-themed doppelbock.
What is more quintessential to Halloween than a Jack-o-Lantern? Ill Repute is chock full of pumpkin pie aromas and flavors. Built upon complex layers of caramel and chocolate to create an imperial stout, this beer is an ideal pairing for all that Halloween candy! Pumpkin-head masks and costumes are sure to be around but if you’re in a real last minute pinch, a real pumpkin on your head will surely spark some interesting conversations.
Apples and oven roasted pumpkin – yum! This delicious and naturally gluten-free choice might just be what you’re looking for. If you have the face painting or make-up talent, this would be a great chance to break out those reds and oranges. Go half apple, half pumpkin face and watch the confused faces until you break out a pack of Apple Lantern!
Also called “The Patch” – this wild pumpkin ale from no other than Jolly Pumpkin finally broke the streak of no pumpkin beers from this brewery. Fortunately for us, they did make La Parcela and it was worth the wait! This ale is packed with real pumpkins, hints of spice, and a gentle kiss of cacao. I’m going to admit that I’m not familiar with this bat-winged cat but if you have a cat that will put up with it, get a few pictures of them doing their best La Parcela impression. You can always up your cat costume from the past with a pair of wings too.
Are you someone who goes against the trend? Don’t want all those porters and stouts coming out for the fall? Well Duvel 6,66 might be exactly what you want! An easy drinking Belgian blond Ale with 6 refined hop varieties. Keep your summer glow going a little longer and dress up not as a devil but a Duvel – yellow jumpsuit and some tiny yellow horns will have you feeling lively and zesty just like the beer itself!
The entire Beer Hug series from Goose Island has been flying off the shelves this year. From Hazy, Neon, and Tropical, these local Chicago IPAs are perfect for any Halloween party. Throw on those big shades or go all out with a bear costume and make sure to bring a pack of Beer Hugs.
With the weather making a turn for the colder, it’s time we say goodbye to those lovely patio get-togethers and outdoor parties in favor of something that’s a bit more cozy and indoors. Fortunately, it’s pretty easy to translate your favorite late spring/summer outdoor activities to something inside. That also includes the drinks and beverages that accompany you and your friends as well. So, don’t fear the dropping temps, but rather get creative and plan your next cold weather get-together with one of these ideas in mind.