Burgers and beer...one of the greatest couples in famous food partnership history. They act as each others' best friend, their names fatefully alliterate, and the success of their bond is focused around common interests and balance--flavors and textures that work together and compliment each other. I mean really, it's what I aspire to in every intimate relationship in my life (especially the name alliteration part). That said, as you go forth into warmer weeks filled with friendly encounters where these two are certain to be present, it's up to you to play match-maker intelligently. Bringing together the right burger and the right beer [in holy union in your mouth] is an act as joyful as it is sacred, and here's your how-to guide:
With a basic beef burger, you've got a lot of great options when it comes to the right beer selection. If you load your patty up with plenty of fresh veggies and bright flavors, you can sit well with a darker beer like a brown ale or porter. Now, if you're dealing with a heartier burger with richer and more umami-dense toppings--like caramelized onions or sauteed mushrooms--you'll want to go with something lighter and more energetic, like a pale ale or a Belgian blonde.
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When you go for a bacon cheeseburger, you should first pat yourself on the back for solid decision making. Next, you should grab a something bright and a little hoppy to help cut the grease. Opt for a light pilsner or a kolsch, like the top brew from HooDoo Brewing Co.
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For all of our blue cheese lovers out there, we admire your affinity for pungency. And since you're opting for a strong cheese on your patty, you deserve a strong beer to match it. Grab a high gravity brew, dark porter ale, or powerful IPA; we absolutely love TrimTab Brewing's flagship IPA. The slightly bitter boldness these beers offer team up well with the funky notes from the cheese to create a well-rounded flavor bomb experience.
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So if you prefer a patty protein other than beef, something like a ground turkey or seafood burger, you'll typically find that the fat content and grease factor are considerably reduced. That being that, there's no need for a hugely malty beer to match it. A classic IPA or blonde ale will go well here. We especially like the Flower Power IPA from Ithaca Brewing Co. from New York, because of its zippy flavor hoppy attitude.
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Let's talk veggie burgers. Because of the diverse possibilities available once you enter veggie patty territory--i.e. anything from a spicy black bean to colorful quinoa or even a vibrant zucchini burger--there are likewise an exciting array of possible pairings. Lagers and brown ales generally work well for veg-based burgers, like this lager from Gnarly Barley in Louisiana. A good rule of thumb is that if your veggie burger is spicy, avoid IPAs as these beers tend to fan the flames, while the maltiness of brews like a brown ale or lager tend to cool them down.
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Alright, do you feel all ready for your impending summer beer + burger adventures? If you're adventures include travel plans, be sure to check out some of our favorite places to chow down and grab a drink across all of the fifty states. Cheers!