austin beer and wine pairing

Local Wine and Beer Pairings: How Austin Caterers Craft Menus with Texan Beverages

Welcome to the vibrant world of Austin’s local wine and beer scene! Our city is not just known for its outstanding music and eclectic culture, but also for a burgeoning local beverage industry that would delight any connoisseur. And when it comes to catering, these locally brewed wonders are not just an addition to the menu – they are a vital part of the culinary experience.

Austin’s caterers understand the significance of beverage pairings and its role in enhancing the overall dining pleasure. With a keen eye for flavors and a deep understanding of local produce, these culinary wizards are creating combinations that leave a lasting impression on your palate. Read on to embark on a flavorful journey that explores the art of pairing, the nuances of local wine, and beer offerings, and the maestros who bring it all together.

The Art of Pairing:

Pairing is a term that goes beyond putting together food and drinks. It’s an art form, a science, and a tradition that has been refined through generations. It is the deliberate act of combining food and beverages that complement each other’s flavor profiles, resulting in a more balanced and enjoyable dining experience.

The basics of pairing involve understanding the key flavor profiles – sweet, salty, sour, bitter, and umami. The goal is to either complement or contrast these flavors to enhance the overall taste. For example, a sweet wine might pair well with spicy food, as the sweetness can help balance out the heat.

Austin’s caterers are not just pairing experts – they’re flavor artists, continually pushing the boundaries to create unique dining experiences. Using local wines and beers, they take into consideration factors like acidity, sweetness, bitterness, and alcohol content to perfectly match with the food’s characteristics.

Local Wine Pairings:

Texas is making waves in the wine industry, with local wineries producing varieties that are gaining national and international recognition. Varietals like Tempranillo, Viognier, and Mourvedre are thriving in Texas’s unique soil and climate conditions, creating wines with distinct flavors.

Austin’s caterers are seizing this opportunity to showcase these local gems. For instance, Salt Lick BBQ, a renowned Austin caterer, often pairs their famous smoked brisket with a robust Texas Tempranillo. The rich, complex flavors of the wine complement the smoky, savory brisket, enhancing the overall dining experience.

Meanwhile, Royal Fig Catering, known for their creative and fresh dishes, have found a wonderful companion for their grilled peach and goat cheese salad in a local Viognier. The wine’s floral notes and peachy undertones harmonize beautifully with the salad, creating a symphony of flavors.

As we delve deeper into the Austin catering scene, the innovation and passion for local produce become abundantly clear. Stay tuned for our next section where we explore the city’s dynamic craft beer scene and the imaginative pairings Austin’s caterers are crafting with these local brews.

Local Beer Pairings:

Austin, Texas, with its vibrant craft beer scene, is a haven for beer enthusiasts and gastronomes. The city’s brewers are constantly pushing the envelope, creating a dazzling array of locally brewed ales, lagers, stouts, and IPAs. This rich diversity gives Austin caterers an incredible palette to work with, enabling them to concoct delightful food and beer pairings that enhance the culinary experience.

Local Beer Pairings

Here are some notable examples of local beer pairings that capture the essence of Austin’s lively food and beer culture:

  1. The Peached Tortilla: This Asian fusion caterer is not just a food provider, but a trailblazer in the realm of food and beer pairings. Their signature Korean BBQ tacos served with a crisp, local IPA is a testament to this. The bold, hoppy bitterness of the IPA artfully slices through the rich, smoky flavors of the BBQ, striking a balance that refreshes the palate and primes it for the next morsel.
  2. Franklin Barbecue: Known far and wide for their incredible slow-smoked meats, Franklin Barbecue frequently pairs their brisket and ribs with Austin’s own Live Oak Brewing Company’s Big Bark Amber Lager. The beer’s malty richness and smooth finish make it the perfect partner for the smoky, tender barbecue.
  3. Odd Duck: This farm-to-table restaurant, known for its innovative and locally-sourced dishes, often pairs its food with beers from Austin Beerworks. The citrusy, aromatic Pearl Snap Pilsner, for example, complements their grilled chicken and summer corn dish, with the beer’s crisp finish enhancing the food’s fresh flavors.
  4. Uchi: An award-winning sushi restaurant, Uchi has been known to pair their delicate sushi rolls and sashimi with the easy-drinking HefeWeizen from Live Oak Brewing. The beer’s banana and clove notes add a unique dimension to the sushi, creating a pairing that’s both surprising and delightful.

These pairings exemplify how Austin’s caterers and restaurants are leveraging the city’s dynamic craft beer scene to elevate their food offerings. So, whether you’re a local or a visitor, be sure to explore Austin’s diverse beer scene and the culinary treasures it so beautifully enhances.

Case Studies:

Austin caterers are continually demonstrating their skill and creativity in curating memorable events that spotlight local beverages. One such event was a recent wedding catered by Farm-to-Feast, a local company known for its commitment to fresh, locally-sourced ingredients.

This event was a showcase of the best Austin has to offer. Farm-to-Feast paired citrusy local wheat beer with succulent grilled shrimp skewers, a combination that left guests raving about the refreshing contrast. The pièce de résistance, however, was the ancho-chili-rubbed beef, complemented by a robust Texas red blend. The full-bodied wine with notes of dark fruit and spice beautifully enhanced the smoky heat of the beef, creating a harmony of flavors that encapsulated the spirit of Austin.

DIY Tips:

Austin caterers are renowned for their innovative food and drink pairings, but you don’t need to be a professional to experiment with local flavors. For enthusiasts keen to explore the art of pairing, here’s a handy guide to get you started.

  1. Start with Balance: The key to any good pairing is balance. You’re looking to complement the flavors of the food and drink, not overwhelm one with the other. For instance:
    • Pair a rich, creamy dish like a pasta carbonara or a chicken alfredo with a light, acidic white wine such as a Sauvignon Blanc. The acidity in the wine will cut through the creaminess of the dish, creating a harmonious balance.
    • For a spicy, hearty dish such as a chili con carne or a spicy barbecue, try a full-bodied beer like an amber ale or a stout. The malty sweetness of these beers can help offset the heat and bring out the depth of flavors in the dish.
  2. Experiment with Local Wines and Beers: Austin is home to a vibrant local beverage scene. Don’t be afraid to play with different combinations of food and these local wines and beers. You might discover a pairing that’s unexpected and delightful!
  3. Break the Rules: While there are some traditional pairing rules, remember that there are no hard and fast rules in the world of food and drink pairing. If you find a combination that works for you, then that’s a perfect pairing!
  4. Enjoy the Process: The journey of discovering the perfect pairing should be just as enjoyable as the pairing itself. Take your time, savor the flavors, and most importantly, have fun!
  5. Keep Exploring: Stay curious and continue to experiment with new dishes and beverages. Who knows, you might just stumble upon your next favorite pairing!

The Benefits of Local:

Using local beverages in catering has multiple benefits. Firstly, it supports local breweries and wineries, bolstering the local economy and fostering a sense of community. Secondly, local beverages often offer fresher, more unique flavors. They are crafted with regional ingredients and represent the local terroir, providing an authenticity and character that imported drinks often can’t match.

Additionally, using local beverages reduces the carbon footprint of an event. By eliminating the need for long-distance transportation, we contribute to a more sustainable, environmentally friendly catering industry.

Looking Forward:

The future of Austin’s local beverage scene is incredibly exciting. Craft breweries continue to experiment with new brewing techniques and flavor profiles, such as sour beers and barrel-aged beers. Wineries are exploring lesser-known grape varietals and organic farming practices, leading to more diverse and sustainable offerings.

These trends provide Austin caterers with an ever-expanding palette to work with. As they experiment with these new flavors, we can expect to see increasingly innovative food and drink pairings. We look forward to seeing how these trends will shape the future of Austin’s catering industry.


As we’ve journeyed through Austin’s catering scene, the importance of thoughtful beverage pairings has become abundantly clear. Pairing isn’t just about putting food and drink together – it’s about creating a symphony of flavors that elevates the entire dining experience.

Austin’s caterers are leading the way, showcasing the best of local wines and beers and pairing them with dishes in exciting and innovative ways. We encourage all food and beverage enthusiasts to seek out these caterers, experience their offerings, and support the fantastic local beverage industry of Austin.

Stay tuned for more insights into Austin’s vibrant food and beverage scene, and remember – whether it’s a robust local red or a crisp craft IPA, there’s always a perfect pairing waiting to be discovered.

From Tex-Mex to BBQ: A Culinary Tour of Austin’s Most Beloved Dishes and How to Cater Them


Austin, Texas, has long been a hotspot for food lovers seeking perse and mouthwatering flavors. With its rich culinary history and unique blend of cultures, the city has become a melting pot of cuisines, including the famous Tex-Mex and Texas BBQ. As a result, Austin’s food scene is brimming with restaurants, food trucks, and eateries that offer an array of dishes that are as perse as the city itself.

When it comes to catering events in Austin, incorporating local flavors into your menu is not just a trend; it’s a must. Serving dishes that showcase the city’s culinary heritage not only adds a touch of authenticity to your event but also allows your guests to experience a true taste of Austin. Moreover, using locally sourced ingredients supports the local economy and promotes sustainability.

In this article, we embark on a culinary tour of Austin’s most beloved dishes, from classic Tex-Mex favorites to smoky BBQ delights. Our aim is to guide you through the process of selecting and catering these iconic dishes, ensuring that your event is both memorable and delicious. So, let’s pe into the world of Austin cuisine and discover how to make your next catered event a true reflection of this vibrant city’s flavor.

Tex-Mex Cuisine: A Delicious Blend of Cultures

austin catering chips

Brief History and Influence of Tex-Mex in Austin

Tex-Mex cuisine has deep roots in Austin, with its origins dating back to the early 1900s when Mexican immigrants brought their culinary traditions to Texas. Over time, these traditional recipes were adapted to local tastes, ingredients, and cooking methods, giving birth to what we now know as Tex-Mex cuisine. This fusion of Mexican and Texan flavors has since become an integral part of Austin’s food culture, with numerous restaurants and food trucks throughout the city specializing in this distinctive and delicious cuisine.

Popular Tex-Mex Dishes

Tex-Mex cuisine is all about bold flavors, fresh ingredients, and satisfying comfort food. Some of the most popular dishes you can find in Austin include:


Arguably the most iconic Tex-Mex dish, tacos come in a variety of styles and flavors. From traditional street tacos with carnitas, barbacoa, or al pastor, to creative concoctions like fried avocado or breakfast tacos, there’s a taco for everyone. Don’t forget to offer a selection of salsas, from mild to fiery, to suit every guest’s preference.


Enchiladas are rolled tortillas filled with meat, cheese, or vegetables, and covered in a rich sauce. The most popular variations include cheese enchiladas with a chili con carne sauce, chicken enchiladas with a tangy tomatillo sauce, and beef enchiladas with a robust red chili sauce. Top them with a generous sprinkle of cheese and a dollop of sour cream for the ultimate comfort food experience.


Quesadillas are a simple yet satisfying Tex-Mex staple, consisting of a tortilla filled with cheese and grilled until melted and crispy. For added flavor and variety, you can include fillings such as grilled chicken, sautéed vegetables, or seasoned ground beef. Serve with a side of guacamole, sour cream, and pico de gallo for a crowd-pleasing appetizer or entrée.


Fajitas are a sizzling and interactive Tex-Mex dish that is sure to impress your guests. Typically made with marinated and grilled strips of chicken, beef, or shrimp, fajitas are served with a spread of accompaniments like sautéed bell peppers and onions, warm tortillas, shredded cheese, sour cream, and guacamole. This allows your guests to customize their own fajita creations, making it a fun and engaging dining experience.

Catering BBQ Dishes: Smoky Flavors and Succulent Meats

Tips for Catering BBQ Dishes

When it comes to catering Texas BBQ, the key to success lies in attention to detail and a commitment to quality. Here are some tips to help you serve up some mouthwatering BBQ dishes that will leave your guests craving more:

Choosing the Right Smoker or Grill

The first step in creating delicious BBQ dishes is selecting the appropriate smoker or grill. Traditional Texas BBQ is known for its low-and-slow cooking method, which involves smoking the meat over wood for hours, resulting in a tender, smoky, and flavorful dish. Investing in a high-quality smoker or grill is essential to achieving that authentic Texas BBQ taste. Depending on the size of your event, you may need to consider renting additional equipment or even hiring a professional pitmaster to ensure the best results.

Offering a Variety of BBQ Sauces

While the smoky flavor of the meat is the star of any Texas BBQ dish, the right sauce can elevate the taste even further. Offer a variety of BBQ sauces for your guests to choose from, ranging from traditional Texas-style sauces, which are often tomato-based and slightly sweet, to tangy vinegar-based sauces, or even a bold mustard-based sauce for a unique twist. Providing a selection allows your guests to customize their BBQ experience to their preferences.

Sides to Complement the BBQ Menu

A well-rounded BBQ menu isn’t complete without a selection of delicious sides. Classic Texas BBQ sides include coleslaw, potato salad, baked beans, and macaroni and cheese. You can also offer lighter options like a fresh green salad or grilled vegetables to provide balance to the rich and smoky flavors of the BBQ dishes. Don’t forget the quintessential Texas BBQ accompaniments like pickles, onions, and sliced white bread or cornbread to complete the meal. By offering a perse array of sides, you can cater to various tastes and dietary restrictions, ensuring all guests can enjoy the delicious flavors of your BBQ menu.

Fusion and Innovation: The Best of Both Worlds

austin bbq

The Blending of Tex-Mex and BBQ Flavors

Austin’s culinary scene is known for its innovation and creativity, with chefs and food enthusiasts constantly pushing the boundaries of traditional cuisine. One such example is the fusion of Tex-Mex and BBQ flavors, which brings together the best of both worlds. This marriage of smoky, tender meats and bold, spicy Tex-Mex elements creates unique and unforgettable dishes that are sure to delight your guests.

Unique Dishes that Showcase Austin’s Creativity

Here are some standout fusion dishes that highlight the creative spirit of Austin’s culinary scene:

BBQ Nachos

A fun and flavorful twist on the classic nachos, BBQ nachos feature layers of crispy tortilla chips topped with succulent, smoky pulled pork or chopped brisket, melted cheese, and your choice of BBQ sauce. Add a dollop of sour cream, a sprinkling of green onions, and some pickled jalapeños for a dish that’s sure to be a hit at your event.

Brisket Tacos

Combine the best of Tex-Mex and BBQ by serving up some mouthwatering brisket tacos. Tender, smoky brisket is nestled inside a warm corn or flour tortilla, then topped with a zesty slaw, fresh cilantro, and a drizzle of tangy BBQ sauce or salsa. This fusion of flavors creates a unique and satisfying dish that will have your guests coming back for seconds.

Smoked Queso

Elevate the classic Tex-Mex queso dip by adding a touch of BBQ flair. Smoked queso is made by combining creamy, melted cheese with diced tomatoes, green chilies, and smoky, chopped brisket or sausage. Serve this warm, gooey dip with a side of tortilla chips for an appetizer that’s sure to be a crowd-pleaser. You can also offer a variety of toppings like jalapeños, sour cream, and fresh cilantro for guests to customize their smoked queso experience.

Presentation and Service

Using Rustic and Texan-Themed Tableware

To truly capture the spirit of Austin, consider using rustic and Texan-themed tableware to serve your dishes. This could include wooden serving platters, cast iron skillets, or even mason jars for drinks. Not only does this add a touch of authenticity to your event, but it also creates a cohesive and visually appealing aesthetic that your guests will appreciate.

Creating Visually Appealing Buffet Stations

A well-designed buffet station can make a big difference in the overall atmosphere of your event. When setting up your buffet, consider using varying heights to create visual interest and make it easier for guests to access the dishes. You can also use decorative elements like colorful tablecloths, fresh flowers, or themed props to tie everything together. Be sure to clearly label each dish and provide serving utensils for a seamless and enjoyable dining experience.

Celebrating Austin’s Culinary Scene through Catering

In this blog post, we explored the rich culinary heritage of Austin, Texas, with a focus on the iconic Tex-Mex and BBQ dishes that define the city’s food scene. We also shared tips for catering these popular dishes, from selecting the right equipment and ingredients to creating visually appealing and interactive food stations. Additionally, we discussed the importance of presentation and service, emphasizing the use of rustic and Texan-themed tableware and the creation of memorable food stations.

Encouragement to Explore Austin’s Culinary Scene through Catering

There’s no better way to celebrate the vibrant culinary scene of Austin than by incorporating its flavors into your catering menu. By embracing the city’s unique fusion of Tex-Mex and BBQ dishes, as well as its innovative spirit, you can create a truly unforgettable dining experience for your guests. We encourage you to explore the vast array of flavors, ingredients, and techniques that Austin has to offer and to incorporate them into your catering menu in creative and exciting ways.

The Impact of Serving Local Dishes on Guest Satisfaction and Memorable Events

Serving local dishes at your catered event not only supports the local economy and promotes sustainability but also leaves a lasting impression on your guests. By showcasing the rich culinary heritage of Austin, you create a memorable experience that will have your guests talking long after the event is over. In doing so, you demonstrate your commitment to quality, creativity, and an authentic Austin dining experience, all of which contribute to increased guest satisfaction and successful events.