Our guide to beer and burger matching
24 August 2017, By Jonny Garrett
Let’s start with a caveat. When it comes to matching beer and burgers, there is no wrong answer. They were born to go together, like tea and biscuits or Turner and Hooch.
But there are some deliciously simple rules you can follow to make sure you add to the flavour of the burger and the beer, rather than take away or distract. Below we’ve picked for beers that do different things with different flavours and make the messy, religious experience of a really good burger all the more fulfilling. This is the ultimate guide to beer and burger matching, and to celebrate for one day only use "ILOVEBURGERS" to get 10% off your purchase today!
Kona Big Wave is a brilliant beer for big flavoured food because not only does the light, bready body wash away flavour to cleanse the palate, but the hint of lychee, pine and lemon is a delicious counterpoint to things like soft American cheese, sweet red meat, bready brioche and fleshy tomato. If Kona aint around, try a Belgian pale ale like Plan B from Elusive or Structure of Matter from Solvay. It’s the shot gun approach – shoot from the hip and you’ll hit something.
If there is a significant amount of cheese involved – especially if it’s aged – then the only choice is a massive f***-off IPA. That’s exactly what Shapeshifter is. Where most of Fourpure’s range is just a little safe and designed to be drinkable they thrown everything at their flagship IPA and kept it west coast with mountains of bitterness, a balancing whack of crystal malt and loads of dank, resiny hop aroma that matches with an mature funk the cheese throws at you. IPA is the only way for this kind of burger. In fact, it’s what the Craft Beer Channel did for their own Brad Sandwich (worth rustling up tonight if you fancy making your own). This match is not for the faint hearted and will probably bring you out in a sweat, but you’ll by smiling as you slip into that food coma.
If you go into any Honest Burger you’ll be served a delicious pint of Lost and Grounded Kellerpils, and that’s delicious with all kinds of burgers. But sometimes you need a specific tool for a specific job, and No Rest for Dancers – their Belgian dubbel crossed with an IPA – is awesome with burgers topped with even more meat. If it’s bacon, the malt sweetness will be perfect with the caramalt; if it’s pulled pork those esters will heighten the tangy bbq sauce; if it’s brisket the hops will cut through the heavy, moreish meat. Alternatives could be Liquid Mistress from Siren or even Westmalle Dubbel. With something this big you need balance and that’s what this kind of beer will bring.
This is our top tip, not just for burgers. If you’re eating anything with meat in it, go for Schlenkerla helles. It’s not actually made with any smoked malt, but simply being made on the same kit as this world-famous brewpub’s Marzen and Weizen means it has been imbued with a soft, smoky bacony aroma that works remarkably well with the bready, biscuit Bavarian helles underneath. It’s like drinking liquid bread cooked over an open fire – perfect with smoky bacon, flame grilled beef, tangy mustard…need we go on? If the helles isn't available any of the Schlenkerla range will work a dream, as will Beavertown's awesome Smog Rocket.