How to match your beer to your burger

Whether you’re plumping for beef in your bun, or opting for something more unusual, we’ve paired the best burger meats with even better beers…

August 25th marks National Burger Day – one of the meatier holidays – and, as always, we’re toasting our buns and sinking our teeth into the annual celebration. But, while the patty and flavourful fillings are clearly the key to perfecting this sesame seed-dusted staple, you can take things to a whole new mouth-watering level with a crisp can or bottle of beer.

The fine bubbles and slightly savoury, hoppy taste of most beers pairs beautifully with burgers — enhancing the meaty flavours and cutting through the condiments. So, in the pursuit of the ultimate National Burger Day experience, we asked seven of our favourite breweries which of their quality ales or lagers they would pair with some the most popular meats used in burgers. 

For a beef burger, try Beavertown Neck Oil

What’s the beer like? Beavertown’s session IPA is as idiosyncratically lip-smacking as its kooky can suggests. Light and zingy, it’s brewed using seven types of hops — including Columbus, Amarillo and Galaxy — and has a surprisingly floral flavour that lingers beyond its initial citrus hit. Rich in colour, there are even caramel vanilla notes on the finish. 

Why does it match the burger? At the brand’s Corner Pin Pub in Tottenham, the session IPA is served alongside a dry-aged beef burger, and provides the perfect balance of hop and zingy extra special taste, to not overpower, but compliment the meat. Just remember to serve it as cold as humanly possible for utmost freshness.

For a lamb burger, try Meantime Yakima Red

What’s the beer like? Lively, colourful and characterful. Brewed with British and German malts to afford it a deep ruby colour and full body, the addition of five varieties of US hops from the Yakima Valley in Washington State give this ale a spectacular fruity citrus flavour that can cut through even the fattiest meats.

Why does it match the burger? For that very reason. To give your lamb burger a lift, Meantime’s Rod Jones – creator of the brewery’s ‘knowledge’ sessions and former Beer Sommelier of the Year – suggests a Yakima Red pairing, which will complement the lamb before cleansing the palate with its restrained bitterness.

For a fried chicken burger, try Duvel 6.66%

What’s the beer like? It’s a more accessible bash at the Belgian style. Wonderfully soft in taste, slightly aromatic on the nose and refreshingly fruity — thanks the use of six refined hop varieties, including Saaz and Styrian Golding — this mild, expressive and deliciously drinkable beer won the ‘Belgian Style Hoppy Blond’ category at the most recent International Beer Challenge.

Why does it match the burger? “To pair with Duvel 6,66%,” says Simon Brooks, National Account Manager for Duvel Moorgat UK, “the high carbonation, soft bitterness and peppery flavour of the beer lends it perfectly to the classic fried chicken burger. The higher alcohol at 6.6%, combined with hoppy bitterness, cleanses the pallet, lifting the fattiness of the fried chicken and enhancing the fragrant spice and pepper flavours.”

For a venison burger, try Goose Island IPA

What’s the beer like? A six-time medal winner at the Great American Beer Festival, Goose Island’s much-heralded IPA speaks for itself. Hoppy, brightly citrusy and humming with notes of grapefruit, pine and florals, it’s one of the first releases from the new age of beers; a dry-hopped IPA from the dawn of the craft revolution.

Why does it match the burger? “With a perfect balance of sweeter caramel from malts,” says Joseph Bevan, Brewer from Goose Island,” the Goose Island IPA elevates and compliments the flavours of a venison burger —from the caramelisation to the charred gamey flavour from venison. And the assertive hoppy bitterness helps perfectly cut through the fat of the burger — making every bite feel like the first”.

For a cheeseburger, try Camden Town Off Menu IPA

What’s the beer like? As hoppy as it is tropical. And yet, Camden Town Brewery have been commendably restrained when it comes to hop varieties; sticking to the flavourful ‘Simcoe’ for this pink-canned creation. As a result, you get the full force of those palate-cleansing zesty, zingy flavours — and a beer perfect for food pairings.

Why does it match the burger? Our Off Menu IPA is a clean beer that pairs perfectly with the rich flavours of a classic cheeseburger,” says Fred Nesbitt, Head of Marketing at Camden Town Brewery. “It’s brewed with light malts, clean Cali ale yeast, and early harvest hops meaning its fresh, tropical flavour notes cut through the bold flavours for the ideal pairing. So next time you grab a juicy cheeseburger, grab a pint of our Off Menu for a delicious combo!”

How to match your beer to your burger

Camden Town Off Menu IPA

£18.00

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For a turkey burger, try BrewDog Punk IPA

What’s the beer like? It’s a BrewDog classic. And, whilst many of the other beers from the brewer could likely tackle a normal burger, we’d rely on the original, light golden classic for such a niche assignment. Subverted with new world hops, burst of caramel and riotous grapefruit, pineapple and lychee will imbue any meat with added flavour. 

Why does it match the burger? Because turkey, for all its health benefits, isn’t the most inspiring of meats. Lacking a little in both the flavour and texture departments, BrewDog assures us that its Punk IPA “pulls all the flavour out of what is – let’s face it – a pretty dry meat. The dry, biscuity malt bill and the bitter hops lift the dryness of the meat,” the brand adds, “and hop bitterness cuts through little fat it has, cleaning the palate for the next bite”.

For a veggie burger, try Adnams Sea Fog Coastal IPA

What’s the beer like? Formulated for the Southwald-based brewery’s 150th anniversary, Sea Fog is a hazy, unfiltered coastal IPA with bright, spicy flavours of citrus and tropical fruit. It’s as bracing as a sea breeze, but has these sharp, salty edges tempered with nutty, honeyed malt characteristics.

Why does it match the burger? “When I was working through the recipe,” says Sam Blower, an Adnams brewer, “I imagined what would go well with it and I wanted a summer vibe and a hint of BBQ freshness. Sea Fog brings citrus and tropical flavours with spicy hints, perfect for lifting the smoky flavours of a veggie burger”.

How to match your beer to your burger

Adnams Sea Fog Coastal IPA

£22.99

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