An indisputable list of St. Paul's best food and ice-cold Hamm's pairings

One walleye special to rule them all

One walleye special to rule them all instagram/ @tavernongrand

Sipping an ice-cold Hamm’s in the heart of a Midwestern summer is just sublime. Something about the beer’s barley golden hue pairs so well with a pink-brushed sky over a lake. A magical nostalgia activates the senses. 

Romantic musings aside, there’s a practical appeal: Its straightforward taste pairs especially well with all kinds of happy hour bar foods. Whether you like an All-American classic experience or something a little more adventurous, Hamm’s is like table salt. It goes with everything. 

As you may well know, Theodore Hamm’s brewery was birthed in St. Paul in 1865. During Prohibition, it survived by serving soft drinks and other various foods. What better way to celebrate its resilience than pairing it with some of St. Paul’s finest happy hour foods? 

To stay true to the barley roots of Hamm’s flavor, we’re sharing some pairings in the St. Paul parts. Let us enjoy the beer from the land of sky blue waters with the foods that enhance its flavor, shall we?

The Twist on a Classic

Let’s start with the basics: an ice-cold Hamm’s and a Cherokee Tavern Jamo Burger. (Yes, technically it’s in West St. Paul. Let us have this.) The honey jalapeno and pickled carrots ignite a gallant twist on a classic American delicacy. When you have a Hamm’s to share the moment, something about the smooth hops simmers down the spice and complements the pulled bacon with its humble, quaint taste. Also, Cherokee Tavern offers $3 Hamm’s for happy hour. 

The Maverick 

Hamm’s is all about simplicity - a minimalist mix of pristine water, barley, corn syrup, yeast, and hops -- and so is a Heggies Pizza at, say, Willard’s Liquor. Willard’s is believed to be the second-oldest bar in St. Paul, opened first in 1908 as a Kohl’s and later down the line as a happy hour heaven, which makes it our maverick pick. Neighborhood mythology is that the bar had a soda fountain counter out front and a back speakeasy during Prohibition - making Willard’s a nonconformist since the dawn of its time. No wonder they carry Hamm’s. 

Tamarind chili wings, ripe for the quenching

Tamarind chili wings, ripe for the quenching instagram/ @grayduckstpaul

The Flying V

For a twist on the Mighty Ducks, try an ice cold Hamm’s and Gray Duck Tavern’s Tamarind Chili Wings. The spicy tamarind sauce and shiso complements the pure barley malt blend that makes Hamm’s crisp. Besides, you’ll need something to cool your Midwestern palate after that sour-sweet tamarind.

The Josh Hartnett

The only thing better than how a pair of St. Paul Tap’s Bacon-Wrapped Sonoran Hot Dogs look is how they taste. The refreshing, crisp twist of Hamm’s complements the buttery grilled pocketed rolls of the dogs—and their zesty baja sauce—with an effortless beauty only Midwestern hunks know. 

The Comfort Blanket

With Sweeney’s Saloon’s Spicy Mac and Cheese Bites, you can choose pepper jack cheese or smoked gouda, but Hamm’s is a complementary sipper for both. Also, the Sweeney’s patio is one of the best in town, offering a few tree-covered corners to enjoy a hot burst of cheese and Hamm’s cool wash.

The You Betcha

Get a frosty Hamm’s and a little taste of the northwoods (cough, Walleye Sampler, cough) at the Tavern on Grand. Minnesota prides itself on appreciating some no-frills, no-fuss blandness, and nothing fits the bill better than a cold Hamm’s and a well-cooked walleye. 

The Ol’ Go-To

How ‘bout a cold Hamm’s and Brunson Pub’s Chips and Dip? The blend of the purest blue waters and barley malt really ties together this pairing. The constant, comforting movement of dipping a chip (in Brunson’s house-made onion dip) and sipping a beer is something of a calorific religion anyway. Besides, if you don't have the Hamm’s with you while consuming this appetizer, chances are you’ll black out in the sheer urgency of eating all the chips at once. So Hamm’s is a great break in the action.