Perfect Houston Pairings: 8th Wonder Brewery With Eatsie Boys
Sponsored by 8th Wonder Brewery
The Eatsie Boys food truck, helmed by 8th Wonder Brewery’s Executive Chef and Culinary Liaison, Matt Marcus, has an important distinction: it is Houston’s longest-running gourmet food truck. Founded in 2010, it was one of the first that started that trend—and one of the few survivors. These days, its contemporaries—such as The Rice Box, Pi Pizza, Fusion Taco and Bernie’s Burger Bus—have moved their primary operations to successful storefronts.
The Eatsie Boys had a storefront, too, but with the amazing success of 8th Wonder Brewery, Marcus went back to his food truck roots a few years later. In other words, the Intergalactic Food Truck rocks on—an evolved version covered in gold metal plating. Stationed at 8th Wonder, it satisfies hungry visitors Mondays through Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
“We park here eight days a week,” joked Marcus. “We have a lot of people who come to the brewery these days—and a lot of people to feed. We’re hitting crazy numbers here that we never hit at the café and have adjusted the menu accordingly. It’s pretty wide range. We’re doing everything from burgers to our famous Philly cheese steak [No Sleep Til Philly, with sliced ribeye, 8th Wonder beer cheese whiz, caramelized onions and green onions on a French roll].”
These days, the dishes are specifically geared to be not only fun and delicious, but to perfectly pair with 8th Wonder Brewery’s wide range of beers. (Did you know that their beer selection, including rotating seasonals, has grown to over a dozen? These days, there are IPAs, a Gose, a red ale and more.)
Here are four must-try pairings:
Eatsie Boys Elote Fries with 8th Wonder Brewery’s Dome Faux’m: In this dish, Mexican-style street corn meets a food truck favorite: topped fries. Garnished with garlic aioli, hot sauce, Cotija cheese, green onion and tangy lime juice, the rich corn flavor is the perfect match for 8th Wonder Brewery’s Dome Faux’m. The “throwback cream ale” works so well because corn is part of the grain bill. Together, Dome Faux’m and the Elote Fries are big mouthfuls of buttery, golden goodness.
S.L.A.B. Fries with S.L.A.B. IPA: This hearty dish comes with pulled pork, mozzarella, barbecue sauce, avocado crema, diced tomatoes, pickled vegetables and jalapeños. Marcus sources the pork from his dad, Al Marcus, a local food vendor whose company The Grateful Bread has long been a welcome presence at the Urban Harvest Farmers Market.
The acronym stands for “Smooth, Light And Bright,” and 8th Wonder co-owner Ryan Soroka says the S.L.A.B. IPA is part of an experimental hop series “We partnered up with a hops supplier that gives us new, experimental, unreleased hops so we can play around and give feedback,” he explained. “These only have serial numbers. They don’t even have names yet.”
So, why does S.L.A.B. IPA go so well with the hearty pulled pork-topped fries? “The hoppy-ness goes really well with the smokiness of the barbecue,” explained Marcus. “Also, any beer has sweet notes, so it holds up to the barbecue sauce in that way as well. Acidity is so important when pairing beer and food, too, so the pickled vegetables make the flavors of the beer pop. It’s really cool!”
Bae(sic) Burger with Weisstheimer Hefeweizen: Marcus actually grinds his own brisket for the all-beef patty—in the truck! “The meat is on the fattier side as compared to a normal 80/20 blend,” he said. Of course, once that renders on the grill, it translates to big-time beefy flavor. A spread of garlic aioli makes this burger not so basic, it’s topped with lettuce, red onion and tomato. Some yellow mustard joins the party because, as Marcus says, “This is Texas.”
Weisstheimer is a new summer beer from 8th Wonder Brewery. Soroka says the traditional hefeweizen is very light and easy-drinking with banana and clove flavors imparted by hefe yeast. “It’s not a banana bomb, though,” he clarified. “It’s just the right amount of flavor to compliment the really juicy burger.” Marcus added, “It’s also a little acidic and it’s what’s needed to cut through the fattiness of that burger.”
Want a more sumptuous burger? Try the Hello Nasty, piled high with grilled onions, pickled jalapeños, cheddar cheese, bacon, all amped up with sweet and tangy barbecue sauce.
No Sleep Til Philly with Cougar Paw red ale: This riff on Philly cheese steak is a classic Eatsie Boys menu item with sliced ribeye, 8th Wonder beer cheese whiz, caramelized onions and green onions on a French roll. “It’s a rich dish,” said Soroka, who recommends 8th Wonder Brewery’s Cougar Paw red ale—an homage to the University of Houston—to accompany it. “The maltiness goes with the meat and the cheese, but you also want something to stand up to it. You don’t want a thick, heavy beer with a rich dish. The red ale is about 5.5-percent alcohol and it’s mild, nutty and balanced.”
Alternately, Soroka says seasonal IP8 would be another great pairing choice. “The cheese and fattiness of the sandwich would compliment the bold flavors of the IP8.”
What The Falafel with Intellectuale: Vegetarians, you have not been overlooked. Marcus grinds chickpeas to make his own falafel. “It’s traditional and herbaceous, with cucumber, tomatoes, red onion and tzatziki. I think Intellectuale goes great with the herbs and spices,” said Marcus.
With 8th Wonder Brewery’s extensive beer selection, a sizable menu from the onsite Eatsie Boys food truck and plenty of hangout space both in the brewery and on the huge back patio, a visit to try some of these Perfect Houston Pairings can easily turn into a perfect Houston afternoon—or evening.
Phaedra Cook has written about Houston’s restaurant and bar scene since 2010. She was a regular contributor to My Table magazine (now closed) and was the lead restaurant critic for the Houston Press for two years, eventually being promoted to food editor. Cook founded Houston Food Finder in November 2016 and has been its editor and publisher ever since.