Whether served in a frosty pint nearby or incorporated into a fat patty, beer is a hamburger’s best friend. It adds layers of flavor and ably cuts through the burger’s rich, finger-coating juices, cleansing your palate and urging you to take another bite, then another cool sip.
But pairing a burger with a beer is not as simple as plucking a random longneck from the fridge. Some beer styles overwhelm a hamburger, while other get lost in the opulent meat. Here are five tips to follow next time you gnaw on a burger. Not a red-meat eater? No worries: We’ve got options for vegetarians and fowl fans too.
It’s OK to be a little bitter
To cut through a burger’s richness, select a lightly hopped pale ale like Stone Brewing Co.’s Pale Ale or Boulder Beer’s Hazed & Infused. The carbonation and bitterness will suitably scrub your palate. Alternately, opt for a nicely hopped pilsner like Victory Prima Pils.
Mix it up by mixing it in
While the intensely dark and roasted flavors of a stout might dominate a burger, the malt-forward beers would make for a nice marinade. Look for a less hoppy stout, like North Coast’s Old No. 38 or Bar Harbor’s Cadillac Mountain.
Light can be too light
Though cloudy, aromatic hefeweizens and witbiers are terrific to sip all summer long, these light and lovely brews are easily engulfed by a burger’s bold and rich flavors. Save them for poolside sipping or perhaps a salad.
What are you, chicken?
For flame-licked cluckers, we like to look to a spicy, complex farmhouse-style saison like Pretty Things’ Jack D’Or, Saison Dupont or Ommegang’s Hennepin. Another excellent option is Southampton’s Double White Ale, a souped-up witbier spiced with coriander and orange peel.
Vegetables deserve beer, too
Grilled veggies go grandly with a lighter beer, like a pale and refreshing wheat ale. While German hefeweizens are a joy, we prefer twangy American versions like Bell’s Oberon Ale or the refreshing, lightly lemony Boulevard Brewing Unfiltered Wheat.
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