5 Local Beers to Pair with Your Next Fish Fry

Beer, City Guide, Drink, Food & Drink


Written by Brian Campbell

Published on February 26, 2020
Fish Fry and Beer Pairing

Fish Fry and Beer Pairing

Here in Buffalo we are known for a lot of things, two of the most prominent being beer and fish fries. While a good fish fry with all the fixings – French fries, cole slaw, macaroni salad, etc. – is good any day of the year, it’s especially good during the Lenten season, which we just so happen to be entering. And it should go without saying that you need a good beer to stand up to a nice piece of fried fish, something Western New York is flush with. But what beer should you choose? Should you go with something hoppy or something malty? Something light or something boozy? Fortunately, when it comes to local beer, there are plenty of options to pick from. Here are five local beers to seek out the next time you put in an order for some fried fish.


1. Flying Bison Brewing Aviator Red

840 Seneca St, Buffalo (873-1557) / Website

What better way to start off this list than with an absolute classic? Flying Bison’s longtime flagship brew Aviator Red is not only one of the most legendary beers in Buffalo, it’s also one of the best beers to pair with a proper fish fry. It’s full bodied and malty with just the right touch of earth and spice to appropriately accent even the thickest of beer batter. Flying Bison’s Larkin Lager would also work well. BONUS TIP: Check out the Eden Pub’s (Eden, NY) Aviator Red beer battered fish fry for the ultimate of pairings.


Big Ditch’s Hayburner IPA / Photo courtesy of Big Ditch

2. Big Ditch Brewing Hayburner IPA

55 E. Huron St, Buffalo (854-5050) / Website

Let’s continue this list with yet another classic, Big Ditch Brewing’s Hayburner IPA, a beautiful beer you can pretty much find anywhere on tap. An easy drinker at 7.2%, Hayburner’s combination of orange citrus, melon and hops makes for a wonderful pairing with each forkful of flaky fish. Plus, the fish and beer batter will help to soak up all that IPA goodness.


3. Pearl Street Brewery Lighthouse Blonde Ale

76 Pearl St, Buffalo (856-2337) / Website

Yet another flagship, Pearl Street Brewery’s Lighthouse Blonde, is on the lighter end of the spectrum. It’s light, crisp and clean, all words that work well when you’re looking for a beer to have with your next fish fry. Lighthouse will serve more as an accent to your fish – it won’t overpower it. BONUS TIP: Grab a pint in-house at the brewery and pair it with their Lighthouse battered cod fish fry.


Gene McCarthy's Fish Fry

Gene McCarthy’s Fish Fry paired with beer / Photo courtesy of Gene McCarthy’s

4. Old First Ward Brewing Against the Grain Hefeweizen

73 Hamburg St, Buffalo (855-8948) / Website

A classic style brewed well, OFW Brewing’s flagship hefe Against the Grain is another lighter offering for fish fry pairings. Orange, banana, lemon and spice notes dominate the beer, which will stand up perfectly to all fish of the fried variety. If you’re looking for a similar pairing with higher alcohol content, don’t sleep on OFW’s Heisenberg Imperial Hefeweizen. BONUS TIP: Grab a fish fry right at Gene McCarthy’s to pair with these beers or grab a growler fill and an order of fish to go to enjoy at home.


5. Pressure Drop Brewing / Labatt Brewhouse You Gots To Chill IPL

65 Vandalia St, Buffalo (848-9942) / Pressure DropLabatt Brewhouse

While an India Pale Lager probably isn’t your first choice when it comes to beer to pair with your fish fry, I recommend giving this Pressure Drop and Labatt Brewhouse collab, You Gots To Chill, a chance. It’s light and crisp with notes of mango and papaya, which should add a nice fruity touch to your fish. And that’s not to mention, this beer will pair well with all of the fixings too.

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Written by <a href="" target="_self">Brian Campbell</a>

Written by Brian Campbell

Brian Campbell is co-founder and Brand Manager of the Buffalo Beer League, and writes the weekly Buffalo Beer Buzz column. If you have beer news that should be included in the Beer Buzz, Brian can be reached at, on Twitter (@buffbeerleague), Instagram (@buffalobeerleague), and Facebook (@thebuffalobeerleague).
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