Beer is a burger’s best friend. Whether it’s served in a glass or incorporated into a patty, beer adds levels of flavour and cuts through a burger’s thick juices. This cleanses your palate and urges you to take another bite and another sip.
Unfortunately, pairing a burger with a beer isn’t as simple as grabbing a random brew from the fridge. Some beer styles are notorious for overwhelming a burger’s flavour, whilst others just aren’t up to the task of complementing what’s on your plate.
Whether you prefer a plant-based burger or one stuffed with a massive meaty patty, you’ll need a few pointers to pick the best brew.
Here are some beer and burger pairing tips to consider the next time you head to your favourite steakhouse:
Classic Beef Burger
Classic beef burgers are rich, meaty, full of fat, and packed with umami. There are approaches to take when pairing a brew with the classic beef burger. The first is to match the burger’s flavour with a beer that is equally intense like a strong ale. The bitterness and citrus notes are strong enough to go toe-to-toe with a beef burger and all its toppings. The second approach is to pair this burger with a pilsener, which is light enough to let the beefy flavour shine yet has a dry aftertaste that quickly cleans the palate and primes it for another bite.
The base for veggie burgers is as varied as the beers that should accompany them. When you’re trying to figure out which beer will go best with the wide range of flavours and textures in a veggie burger, it’s best to pick a goes-with-everything, wheat-based ale that’s soft and fruity with a slightly spicy tone. These beers have a dry finish that keeps everything light and refreshing.
Beer goes surprisingly well with cheese. So much so that some would even argue that beer and cheese are a better combo than the classic cheese and red wine combination. Beer’s carbonation and complex flavour makes it the perfect drink to enjoy with a cheeseburger. Most burgers come with a slice of cheddar, which goes best with a hoppy lager that highlights the acidity in the cheese.
There are two ways to go about pairing beer with a spicy pepper burger. You can either cool the burn or you can kick it up even higher. Whichever route you take, there are a few options at your disposal. To tame the heat, go with a light lager that balances out the burger’s spicy flavours in the dish. On the other hand, if extra-spicy is what you’re going for, go for a pale ale, as the bitter hop flavour accentuates the heat in foods.
Burgers and beer, when done right, is one of the most satisfying combos there is. The trick to getting the right beer and burger pairing is to strike the appropriate balance of flavours between the burger, its toppings, and your brew. That’s some food for thought the next time your waitron passes you the drinks menu.