When people think of drink pairings with Italian food, they most often think of wine (and that’s always a great choice!), but with the craft beer market becoming bigger in Italy, there are now some delicious alternative pairings to wine. We are currently in the golden age of craft brewing, so if wine was never really your cup of…tea, have no fear! There are plenty of delightful, refreshing Italian birre (“beers” in Italian) to complement your pasta, steak, seafood or other scrumptious meal.
La Grange, a western suburb of Chicago, offers fabulous family neighborhoods, close proximity to the city, and the opportunity to indulge in authentic northern Italian food while enjoying local or imported craft beer. At La Buona Vita, we invite you to come in for a relaxing, scratch-kitchen meal with house-made pasta and craft beer that perfectly pairs together. Here we’ll go over some of our favorite menu items and the beer that goes best with them.
Fun fact: the pasta itself doesn’t have much impact on flavor pairings — it’s the sauce that really dictates which craft beer pairs best with which pasta dish. Makes sense, since the sauce is the most flavorful part of the dish.
For the most commonly tomato-heavy marinara red sauces, it’s best to opt for a double malt beer like Moretti La Rossa. On our own menu, Moretti La Rossa is ideal when matched with the Lasagna La Buona Vita and Rigatoni Emilio. While considered a macro beer, Peroni is another good choice to accompany a marinara and a dish like Eggplant Parmigiana.
With an Alfredo sauce, try a pale ale or strong Belgian ale like Lurisia Otto or Farotta, which have silky texture and distinctive flavors. They go great with our Fettuccini Primavera.
The rich and bold flavors of grilled steak require a craft beer like Super Baladin with its medium body and touch of tartness. Pair veal medallions and a red sauce with a Belgian-style Flanders, Tripel, or the Super Baladin as well.
For seafood dishes like Linguine with White Clam Sauce, Walleye Limone, and Fettuccine con Gamberi e Broccoli, opt for a Saison like Lurisia Sei or Moretti. Whitefish served with a light lemon butter and capers needs a blonde lager like Menabrea Birra Bionda or an IPA.
Classic poultry dishes such as Pollo alla Parmigiana (Chicken Parmesan) or Pollo Cacciatore feature a red sauce, which means pairing with a craft beer that complements the acidity of the tomato-based sauce. Baladin works well as does Moretti La Rossa. Enjoy a grilled pork chop with a White IPA, while lamb chops pair with a craft beer that’s slightly tart and medium-bodied.
Lighter fare, salads and grilled vegetables typically pair really well with pale lagers, amber ales, and IPAs with crisp, citrus aromas. When ordering a meal like the Insalata di Salmone — a grilled salmon with mixed greens and lemon vinaigrette, look to the Menabrea Birra Bionda, a blonde lager that is a three-time Gold Medal World Beer Champion for “Best Pale Lager in the World.”
Savory Suds with Delectable Desserts
Nothing caps a great Italian meal like a delectable Italian dessert. From the classic Cannoli and Tiramisu to Cheesecake and a decadent Molten Chocolate Cake, the right craft beer makes all the difference. A craft beer with fruity notes pairs beautifully with cheesecake and cannoli, especially the G.Menabrea e Figli Ambrata 150, an Amber Lager. Definitely try the Verdi Imperial Stout with the Tiramisu, Molten Chocolate Cake, or Profiteroles. For citrus-themed desserts, go lighter with an IPA or pale lager.