Beer and specialty burger pairings for a great summer meal
Hamburgers and beer are a classic combination. But pairing them in a way that complements them both isn’t so simple. Some burger varieties will overpower certain types of beer and vice versa, so it’s important to find flavors that enhance rather than compete. To get you started, we compiled six different burger and beer combos to consider.
California burger: Saison. Known for its generous slices of fresh avocado as well as lettuce, tomato, and Monterey Jack cheese, the California burger’s flavors are on the lighter side. So, it makes sense to pair it with a milder beer that won’t upstage the burger’s taste. Consider a saison to enjoy with a California burger. Saisons are typically known as warm-weather beers — they’re light, dry, and citrusy, kind of like California itself.
Bacon cheeseburger: American brown ale. This burger is greasy in all the right ways. The three components — beef, thick slices of bacon, and American cheese — call for a beer with enough pizzazz to match these flavorful ingredients. Enter the American brown ale. This rich, malty, slightly nutty-tasting beer would really enhance the smokiness of the bacon, and the carbonation can be a refreshing contrast to the burger’s heavier flavors.
Chili cheeseburger: Pilsner or IPA. A spicy, sloppy, chili cheeseburger has a lot of flavor, moreso than the bacon cheeseburger, so it needs a beer that’s willing to be a team player. The beer you choose depends on whether or not you’d like to turn the spiciness up or down. A pilsner would be a refreshing match if you’d like to counteract the spiciness a bit. On the other hand, a hoppy IPA is a good choice if you want to enhance the heat.
Barbecue burger: Porter or stout. A good guideline to keep in mind when pairing food with beer is that the more intense the food flavors are, the more intense you can get with your beer’s flavors. A barbecue burger, with its sauce-drenched onions, hickory-heavy smokiness, and toasted bun, would do well with a beer that can provide a contrast, either with a bit of sweetness, or a creamy sensation. Porters and stouts, especially those that are carbonated with nitrogen, can fill this role fantastically. Some feel heavier than others, though, so choose wisely if you don’t want to feel overly full afterwards.
Veggie burger: American pale lager. Veggie burgers come in many forms, including black bean, mushroom, garden vegetable, and mock chicken or beef, and the one beer that would unite all these possible flavors is an American pale lager. The refreshing, clean, crisp taste complements the lighter flavors of a veggie burger perfectly.
Classic cheeseburger: West coast IPA. This style of beer has a hoppy flavor as well as a zesty citrus taste, which cuts through the rich flavor of the burger. It also plays up the sharpness of the cheese as well as the acidity of the tomatoes and mustard.
9 Celebrity Burger and Beer Pairings [Home Wet Bar]
Ask a Cicerone: The Best Beers to Drink with Burgers [Serious Eats]