Most of us will spend our Labor Day outside by the pool (weather permitting) and will likely use the grill to make our lunch or dinner. Barbecue ribs and steaks are great Labor Day meals, but so are burgers. And what goes best with burgers? Well, fries, of course, but the other major accompaniment is beer.
When pairing burgers with beer, it's more than just matching the type of meat to the brew; you also have to consider the other components. We're talking about the cheese, sauce, bread and condiments.
Local grocery stores have a wide assortment of local craft beers, so you don't have to visit a restaurant or bar in the city to sip on one of those fine selections. Check out these five burger and local craft beer pairings to enjoy this holiday.
Cheddar, Bacon Burger with Buffalo Bayou Brewing Co. More Cowbell Double IPA If you're topping your Angus beef patty with bold flavors, you need to match it with a bold beer. Strong, sharp cheddar cheese and crispy, greasy bacon needs something like the More Cowbell brew from Buffalo Bayou. The acidity from the hops in this Double IPA will wash away some of the bacon fat from your palate, but the bitterness perfectly balances with the sharp cheddar cheese. Throw on some lettuce and tomato, and serve it on either a classic white toasted bun or add a hint of sweetness with a brioche bun.
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Raspberry Chipotle & Goat Cheese Turkey Burger with No Label Ridgeback Ale When making the turkey patties for this burger, blend in sautéed diced onions, oregano, basil and thyme, one egg, breadcrumbs and raspberry chipotle sauce. The spicy, sweet barbecue-style sauce adds a kick to each bite, so pair it with something that can match the sweetness, but counter the spiciness, like No Label's Ridgeback Ale. The sugar from the sauce in the patty will caramelize on the grill, enhancing the dark Amber Ale's caramel notes. The hops are slightly sweet, but have a hint of bitterness, so add goat cheese for a compatible pairing, along with caramelized onions and more raspberry chipotle sauce. For a bit more natural sweetness, place it all on a toasted wheat bun.
Classic American Cheeseburger with Southern Star Bombshell Blonde Ale A simple cheeseburger with American cheese, pickles, tomato, lettuce, ketchup and/or mustard, and red onion slices needs a light beer, like the Southern Star Bombshell Blonde Ale. This American Pale Ale is easy to drink on its own as each sip is creamy and smooth. You want your beer to complement the classic cheeseburger, not overwhelm it. With simple flavors, comes a simple brew; the light, golden-colored Bombshell Blonde Ale is a perfect match.
Lamb Mediterranean Burger with Karbach Weisse Versa Wheat If you're making a lamb burger, it's best to top it with Greek and Mediterranean flavors, such as pungent feta cheese, an olive tapenade or roasted peppers, raw red onion slices and a tatziki sauce; think of the ingredients on a gyro. The boldness of the feta cheese and the garlic yogurt sauce pairs best with a wheat beer. Try Karbach's Weisse Versa Wheat with your lamb Mediterranean burger; it's a light beer that will balance with the freshness of the feta and coolness of the tatziki, while bringing out the juiciness of the lamb patty. Add a buttery element with a ciabatta bun, or keep it simple with a plain white toasted hamburger bun.
Mushroom Swiss Burger with Saint Arnold Santo Santo is a dark, rich brew from Saint Arnold, and it needs to be paired with strong, intense flavors. Roast a blend of mushrooms, such as shiitake, button and portobello, with onions, minced garlic and butter. Then, top a plain ground sirloin beef patty with a slice of Swiss cheese to melt and perfectly drape over the sides. Finish with a generous serving of the mushrooms and onions. The black Kolsch has enough malt to pair with the rich, savory mushrooms, and there's enough lightness to match the Swiss cheese. Of course, you can make this burger even more intense by replacing the Swiss cheese with crumbled blue cheese. Place it all on a toasted artisan bun.