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Perfectly Paired 

Five classic Richmond dishes and the best brews to go with them.

click to enlarge Fried chicken from Mama J’s goes beautifully with a Hardywood Pils.

Scott Elmquist

Fried chicken from Mama J’s goes beautifully with a Hardywood Pils.

With the accolades Richmond has achieved nationally — and we all know we love our accolades — it's the restaurants and breweries that put us at the top of the lists every time. We've put the two together by matching favorite Richmond foods with top year-round beers so you can achieve your own nirvana.

Pasture pimento cheese + Triple Crossing Falcon Smash IPA
Sharp cheddar, sweet pimentos, Ritz crackers — does it get much better than that? Absolutely, if you have the right beer. Match Pasture's beloved appetizer with a Triple Crossing Falcon Smash India pale ale, as the sharp, citrusy hops pull out the best of the cheese spread.

Millie's Diner Devil's Mess + Ardent Saison
Start your day with the Devil's Mess from Millie's Diner: a beguiling brunch concoction of eggs, avocado, spicy sausage and tomatoes. Pair it with a dry Ardent Saison, with its mild yeast spices, slight acidity and light fruitiness that play with the flavors of the dish — playing on your palate like an easy Sunday morning.

Mama J's fried chicken + Hardywood Pils
Nothing says Southern dinner like fried chicken, and no one fries chicken like Mama J. You wouldn't want to overpower the flavors of the juicy, crispy bird, so order a Hardywood Pils. Yes, it's a German-style lager, but the European pilsner malt and German noble hops will dance with the soul-food flavors like a timeless Vienna waltz.

ZZQ barbecue + Center of the Universe Chin Music
Sure, it's Texas-style barbecue from a relatively new Richmond food vendor, but the lines for ZZQ food have been a testament to its pop-up popularity in the River City. Pair it with most any beer, but I suggest Center of the Universe's Chin Music, a slightly sweet, balanced amber lager that pulls out the sweetness of the barbecue while accentuating the char. And with the newly opened ZZQ restaurant in Scott's Addition, we can get our 'cue-and-beer pairing fix more often.

Shyndigz fresh fruit cake + Buskey RVA Cider
Of the many spectacular desserts at Shyndigz, a hands-down favorite is the fresh fruit cake, a brilliant vanilla cake with cream cheese icing accentuated by fresh blackberries, strawberries, pineapple and blackberries. Pair that with Buskey RVA Cider, whose apple essence mingles with the fruits in the cake, dry enough not to compete with the sweetness of the dessert.

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