Buckner Brewing Co. in downtown Cape Girardeau offers menu that pairs well with microbrews

Thursday, October 23, 2008

At Buckner Brewing Co. in downtown Cape Girardeau, beer is king.

That fact is clear as soon as you walk in the circa 1916 riverfront building. You're first greeted by large tanks where Buckner's brewmaster Mike Mills has made his microbrews since 2002.

Even the food is made to complement the drink at Cape Girardeau's only microbrewery. From the Brewmaster's Burger to the beer batter that covers the onion rings and chicken tenders, this is pub food mixed with casual dining.

Buckner keeps several microbrews on tap — available by the glass or the growler — that span the spectrum of beer richness and flavor, from the crisp pale ale to the thick, hearty porter. The menu is largely the same, hitting a variety of styles. Everything from Buffalo wings and "pub cheese fries" to Asian spring salads, grilled salmon and gourmet pizzas can be found at Buckner's. Customer favorites include the Brewmaster's Burger, the buffalo burger (made with buffalo meat) and the pizzas.

Most of the food on the menu has found a place because it goes well with the microbrews, said Mills, who helps craft the menu in concert with the head chef.

"Whenever we're coming up with a dish, we ask 'What beer will complement this dish well? Can we use beer in the process of making this food?' Those are two big considerations when we develop our menu," Mills said.

Beer and food pairings take center stage at the brewmaster's dinners — four-course meals held about every six months. Mills and the cooking staff work in advance to create foods for the dinner that match the pub's specialty beers.

And Mills and the cooks continually add new items to the food and beer menu all the time — weekly and daily food specials are designed to complement seasonal brews.

BUCKNER BREWING CO.

132 N. Main St.

334-4677

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