Food & Drink

How to Pair Beer with Burgers

The warm weather is here, which means it's time to fire up that grill with a beer in hand, but what choice of beer is best when cooking up a juicy burger? Believe it or not, the choice really does matter depending on your burger preference.

Plain Burger Lovers

If you're a beef lover, a lighter beer can be easily overpowered by the succulent taste of a hearty burger. On the opposite end, other beers can drown out the flavor.

When choosing your beer it's best to go for a medium to full bodied beer. A beer with a strong malt taste offers the perfect balance so you can quench your thirst and still taste optimal flavor at the same time.

Recommendation: Malt beer like the Black Chocolate Stout from Brooklyn Brewery would pair perfectly. Brooklyn Brewery says, "It achieves its dark chocolate aroma and flavor through the artful blending of six malts and months of aging." The dark chocolate flavor helps to bring out the sweetness of the burger.

Flickr/Bernt Rostad
Flickr/Bernt Rostad

Cheeseburger Lovers

If you like your burger piled high with toppings such as cheddar and bacon it's best to go with a hoppier beer or a pale ale. Melody Daversa of Karl Strauss Brewing Company out of San Diego told Serious Eats, "for me, nothing goes better with a juicy, medium rare cheeseburger (with extra sharp cheddar) than a bracingly bitter West Coast IPA. The hop flavor cuts through the richness of the meat and contrasts nicely with the sharp cheese."

Experts Recommendations: An imperial IPA like Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA will cut right through the salty bacon and bring out the rich flavor.

Flickr/Bernt Rostad
Flickr/Bernt Rostad

Turkey and Veggie Burger Lovers

If you're a turkey and veggie burger lover, you'll want to steer clear of malts as they're a bit too intense and will wash out the leaner and lighter flavor of your burger. Sticking to a brown ale will really bring out the flavor of the grill.

Experts Recommendations: Brown ales and lagers like Newcastle are light enough to pair perfectly without overpowering the taste.


If you've been combining a different type of beer with your burger choice, it will be an interesting experiment to see if the richer flavor comes out once you start with the right beer choice.

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How to Pair Beer with Burgers