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Fun Fact: Did you know National Beer Day is April 7th, 2023? And with that is the opportunity to spotlight your restaurant as a burger and brew mecca worthy of the most devoted suds lovers. But with so many different craft beer options, how do you know which one to pair with your hand-crafted burgers? What is the best way to market your pairings to your customers?
But for those in the burger restaurant industry, it’s not just about serving up any hamburger and brew – it’s about creating the perfect pairing that elevates both flavors. With the rise of craft beer and gourmet burgers, the possibilities for making unique and delicious pairings are endless.
In this North Texas Edition (#KeepinItLocalDFW, ya’ll!), we’ll explore the art of pairing 6 burger categories with complementary beers in a restaurant setting. From classic pairings to unique flavor combinations, we’ll provide tips and insights to help you create the ultimate burger and suds menu. Whether you’re a chef, a bartender, or a restaurant owner in need of new menu ideas, this post is for you. So let’s dive in and discover the perfect pairings for your burger joint!
The OG Hamburger Classic
Imagine you’re in the mood for a mouth-watering grilled beef burger. To create the perfect burger, start with high-quality ground beef or chuck, and add your favorite fresh toppings like lettuce, tomato, onions, and condiments. What more do you need other than a cold sudsy brew?
For a classic burger, go with a classic brew like a Texas Pilsner. Carrollton-based 3 Nations Brewery’s Interstate Lager is an overall crowd-pleaser, crisp and crushable, and won’t overpower the flavor of your ground round.
Bonus Option: Pair with an American Pale Ale, like Fort Worth-based Rahr & Sons Adios Pantalones. Thirst-quenching and refreshing with citrus-forward flavors and aromas. This clean and light-bodied lemon-lime fruity beer has a similar flavor intensity to a classic hamburger that complements wells.
For the Cheesy
It’s hard to resist adding a slice of cheese to a juicy patty. Fortunately, the burger gods have also divined that cheese is an ideal pairing with brews. Of course, when indulging in a delicious cheeseburger, you can go with ANY craft beer you choose, but here are a few suggestions to enhance your experience.
Hopfusion Feisty Blonde Ale, another Fort Worth-based brew, is a refreshing option that effortlessly complements the cheeseburger flavors with aromatic orange blossom honey, a touch of Mexican Vanilla, and raw brown sugar to round out its smooth finish.
Bonus Option: Farmers Branch-based Odd Muse Brewing’s Head Trip Hazy Triple IPA. This brew adds a burst of flavor and aroma to your palate, and as a heavy hitter at 9.5%, ABV will add bitterness from the hops, cut through the fat in your cheeseburger, and give balance to your meal.
The Meaty and The Savory
Selecting the right craft beer is crucial when your burger is loaded with savory toppings like bacon, mushrooms, avocado, egg, or even BBQ (ahhhh, Texas). With so many flavors going on, go for a more straightforward lager like House Beer.
Alternatively, ambers, porters, and nutty brown ales complement savory dishes. Mckinney-based TUPPS Brewery’s Amber Down is a delicious option, with hints of biscuit malts and roasted barley building this light but flavorful amber.
Bonus Option: Try Richardson-based Four Bullets Brewery’s Jack Black Brown Ale. This brown ale’s rich, smooth toasted malt flavor with hints of caramel and sweetness creates a distinctive toasted bread flavor that sets it apart, especially paired with a barbecue bacon-topped patty.
For the Heat Lovers
To balance the heat of a spicy burger, consider pairing it with the right craft beer to take the edge off or turn it up between bites. A good IPA can enhance the spiciness, while a lager or Helles-style lager can help cool it down.
There are many great IPAs to choose from, such as the Fort Worth-based Martin House Friday IPA, which features aromatic and tropical notes. This Northeast-style IPS Friday is bursting with flavor – it’s dank, hoppy, and juicy, thanks to the blend of Mosaic, Chinook, Amarillo, and Simcoe hops. Fantastic for taking chili sauce-smothered, jalapeño and pepper jack cheese-dripping burger customers to that flaming edge.
Bonus Option: As for lagers and Helles-style lagers, Dallas-based Community Beer Texas Lager is a great option to douse the flames and give sweet relief.
For the Sweet Tooth
Speaking of sweet relief, unique and exciting burger combinations can blend savory and sweet flavors. Some even use donuts instead of traditional buns (I’m looking at you, Easy Sliders).
When pairing a craft beer, the best option is to choose suds with a lighter mouthfeel to balance the sugars in your burger candy creation. Porters are an excellent option for achieving that balance, and Garland-based Lakewood Brewing’s Texas Porter is a sure winner. The Texas Porter works well with your sweet onion BBQ burger or candied bacon-laden patties by using Texas Blacklands malt to create the coffee and toffee roasty backbone of this easy-drinking brew.
For the Veg Head
If you go meatless, or at least on Mondays, there is still a perfect pairing for you. Vegetarian and vegan burgers offer diverse flavors and textures, making them equally, if not more, compatible with beer pairings compared to meat-centric dishes. But, of course, when pairing a brew with a meatless burger, the base of the burger will play a significant role.
A wheat-based ale, like Oak Highland Brewery’s Freaky Deaky Belgian Triple style ale, is a great pairing for most meatless burgers. Freak Deaky is brewed with refreshing American hops rather than the traditional noble hops for a smooth finish that bellies high with 10.0% ABV! This brew will cleanse your palate between bites without distracting you from nutty grains, black beans, or earthy mushroom patties.
Bonus Option: Give Dallas-based Peticolas Brewing’s Velvet Hammer a sip! This imperial red ale is not too hoppy and not malt but just the perfect balance of caramel and the sweetness of light brown sugar with floral hops. Paired well with this veggie cheeseburger. In addition, both options pair well with plant-based patties like Beyond Meat or the Impossible burger.
Got it. Now, How do I Market my Pairings to the Masses?
You made it this far. Your brain is sizzling as much as your grill. Here are some tips to promote your burger and brew pairings to the community and get a line out the door:
- Host an event or pop-up, or get involved in festivals and community events.
- Spotlight a pairing a week on social media (bonus if it is leading up to National Beer Day, yay)! Be sure to use juicy copy to highlight how delectable your burgers are paired with the perfect ale with top-notch photos.
- Offer a promotion for your paring of the week. Check out our recent blog post on how to Bootstrap Market your Burger Joint for more tips on leveraging your POS and more!
- Create a contest for naming your burger and brew pairings! The winner gets a free meal worthy of the name.
Does your POS offer features such as built-in Customer Loyalty, CRM, SMS, and email marketing, all while reducing your credit card processing fees? Leverage your pairings, foster a devoted fan base, save money, and optimize your marketing game today. Like a good pairing, let’s work together.