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Bites & Beverages: Best Brews with Burgers

This is the first-ever installment of Dishin’ It Out’s “Bites & Beverages” feature. Every few weeks, we’ll take a look at the best things to drink with the best things to eat. Today, we’re paying homage to that bastion of between-bun goodness–the burger.

Going with the classic cheddar cheeseburger? Maybe a slice of tomato and some crisp lettuce for extra crunch? Accompany it with an amber or brown ale. They’re drinkable, all-purpose beers with a delicate balance of sweet maltiness and bitter hoppiness. And if you’re more into hopps than I am, an IPA would also pair nicely.

Adding a slice or two (or four) of bacon to that burger? First off, that’s awesome. Good for you. Second, if you’re planning on drinking some liquid bread with that fatty monstrosity, you may want to think about a porter. It’s a dark, sweet, malty ale that balances exceptionally well with the smokiness of the bacon.

Perhaps sauteed onions and mushrooms (like the Mushroom & Swiss Burger at Sobelman’s in Milwaukee, pictured above) are more of your thing. Trust me, I’m right there with you. The caramelization of the onions, the meatiness of the mushrooms, and the heartiness of the hamburger coalesce into the perfect bite. It’s certainly a richer sandwich, and a richer sandwich can stand up to a richer beer. Don’t shy away from stouts like Guiness; they may be just what the doctor ordered. Or, on the lager side of things, try a bock or a dopplebock. Warm, caramel-like notes are characteristic of these brews of German origin.

Not all burgers are made of beef. Turkey, lamb, bison, and salmon can all be scrumptious additions to your burger repertoire. Of course, there’s also vegetarian burgers. Made of nuts, beans, and other vegetables, these meat-free alternatives can pack a real wallop of flavor if seasoned well.

Pilsner is a classic pairing with fish. Slightly bitter yet light and crisp, it is the perfect complement to a salmon burger. Turkey and lamb would go well with any golden ale or lager. Being a red meat, bison is a great counterpart to any number of different beers, from light to dark and sweet to bitter.

Then again, maybe today just isn’t a burger day. Perhaps munching on some salty french fries is exactly what will satisfy your hunger pangs. To that, I say sprinkle on some malt vinegar and down a Flemish sour ale. You won’t be disappointed.

Is your mouth watering yet? Head over to EatStreet.com for burgers, french fries, and more.