Brewers Tell Us Their Favorite Beers To Pair With A Juicy Hamburger


It’s hard to beat a juicy, flame-grilled burger on a hot summer day. We’ll even take a well-made veggie burger or an Impossible Burger, as long as we can sneak a few slices of aged sharp cheddar on there. The only thing that can make a flame-licked burger better is being paired with the right beer — something to contrast those umami notes and cut through all the dense fattiness.

The beer-burger combo is extremely important to the overall experience, but it’s not always as easy as grabbing whatever’s on top of the cooler. That’s why we decided to ask some of our favorite brewers to pair their favorite beers with a juicy, greasy, rich, grilled burger. Check out their answers below and get grilling!

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale

Mark Safarik, brewmaster at Dogfish Head

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. What could be more quintessentially American? This is my desert island beer. It’s exceptionally crafted, well-balanced and just plain delicious.

Bell’s Two-Hearted Ale

Shawn Steele, director of brewing operations at Coronado Brewing Company

I’d have to go with Bell’s Two Hearted Ale. I’m from Detroit, and this is my favorite mid-west IPA. It’s a great pairing for a cheeseburger because it’s a little bit maltier than west coast IPAs and brings out the caramelization of the meat, while the hops help cut through the richness.


Scott Ungermann, brewmaster at Anchor Brewing

Budweiser. Straight up American lager with straight up American cheeseburger. Eat it fast, drink it fast. Done.

Deschutes Fresh Squeezed IPA

Rhett Dougherty, Head Brewer at Veza Sur Brewing Co.

My favorite beer to pair with a nice juicy burger has to be Deschutes Brewery’s Fresh Squeezed. The key to this pairing is the how well the amazing citrus profile of the hops cut the fat of the burger, while the sweet caramel malt character matches the weight of the burger.

Three Weavers Expatriate

Joe Peach, head brewer at Kairoa Brewing Company

This crisp, clean, perfect example of a West Coast IPA is bursting with tropical fruit and citrus flavor that complements the slight sour character provided by pickles, which belong on all burgers. The negligible amount of bitterness is just enough to enhance the umami character provided by the meat to create a truly comforting experience.

Ballast Point Grunion

Doug Pominville Jr., head brewer at Thorn Brewing Co.

This might be cheating, but Ballast Point’s Grunion pale ale. The tropical fruit flavors complement the savory flavor of the burger and cuts through the fat.

Ps. I created that beer when I worked for them.

Firestone Walker DBA

Phil Leinhart, brewmaster at Brewery Ommegang

Firestone Walker Brewing Company’s DBA has a subtle sweetness from specialty malts and a slight oak character. This combination just blends well with the flavor of a juicy burger.

Guinness Extra Stout

Jim Richards, brewer at Blue Point Brewing Company

What’s my favorite beer to pair with a burger (or cheeseburger) and why? I’ll take a Guinness. Specifically, a Guinness Extra Stout and a blue cheese Cheeseburger. It’s a classic.

Odell 5 Barrel

Carl Heinz, brewmaster at Breckenridge Brewery

5 Barrel Pale Ale – Odell Brewing Co complements a cheeseburger well because of its modest hoppy character that balances the rich nature of the cheesy, greasy goodness of a burger — while having enough flavor of its own that it still enhances the whole experience.

Jackalope Thunder Ann

Brian Morris, innovation brewer at Deep Ellum Brewing Company

You can’t beat a pint of Thunder Ann from Jackalope Brewing and a cheeseburger. That balance between malt and bitterness between bites makes you come back enough times that you may need to order another before you finish your burger.

Odell Mountain Standard

Adam Curfew, chief operating officer at Wasatch Brewery

Odell Mountain Standard because it’s delicious and not overly bitter but has a nice refreshing hop presence.

Pilsner Urquell

Mark Hellendrung, CEO of Narragansett Beer

I tend to stay with any of the macro domestic or European lagers for their crisp taste, and Pilsner Urquell is one of my favorites because of the unique hop profile.