For Hamburgers, mid to full-bodied red wines pair best. You want a bit of tannin to grip on to the meat, but a balanced red with a bit of acidity helps cut through the fat. Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot all love grilled meat and complement the charred flavours. Zinfandel is slightly sweet and acidic like ketchup, and this highlights the meatiness of a well-made burger, as well as any toppings you may add.
- Cabernet Sauvignon
- Baco Noir
Shiraz and Hamburgers
Shiraz, mainly Australian Shiraz, is dense, dark and rich. Soft and juicy in the mouth, you get lots of blackberry jam flavours and a sprinkle of pepper. For that reason alone, you simply have a red wine that loves red meat. Those jammy fruit flavours are perfect with the many sweet condiments we toss on burgers like ketchup, pickles and sweet onions. My advice is to barbecue the burgers up in front of her out on a patio where she can sit in a comfy chair in the late afternoon/early evening. Have a glass of Shiraz to warm up and let the smell and taste of the food do the rest.
Zinfandel & Burgers
Zinfandel works as it is acidic along with fruity, thus it acts much like ketchup would, bringing out all the beefy flavours. I find Zinfandel also has smokey notes, which mirror any grill marks on your tasty burger.
Zinfandel is perfect for burgers topped with a wide range of toppings. The acidity of Zinfandel, ensures it won’t clash with vinegar based condiments like ketchup, relish, pickles, pickled peppers, or mustard.
Medium Grilled Burgers and Baco Noir
Like Zinfandel, Baco Noir is low in tannin and high in acidity, so it’s perfect with medium cooked hamburgers slathered in ketchup. The less fat that is cooked out of the meat, the more this fruity wine is going to complement it.
With Baco Noir, you also get smoky, earthy and rustic notes, which complement grilled burgers, or would be fantastic with burgers topped with grilled mushrooms, bacon or onions.
Cabernet Sauvignon / Merlot & Hamburger Pairing
There’s more to hamburgers than a patty of beef, and below we explore several other hamburger and wine pairing options.
What to Pair with a Hawaiian Burger?
If you’re feeling like a Hawaiian burger, and plan on throwing a slice of grilled pineapple on top, you’ll love this burger with a light Beaujolais.
Not in the mood for red wine, then look no further than a tropical Chardonnay. The vanilla and toastiness will go great with the grilled pineapple, and still hold up to the meat of the meal.
Sauvignon Blanc will go great with burgers topped with Avocado, Bean Sprouts and cucumber slices.
Chicken Burgers and Wine Pairing
Trying to live a healthy life? Then you’ll probably pass on the beef, and request a grilled Chicken burger. In this case, a glass of Sauvignon Blanc will marry well with this tasty dish. Chicken burgers tend to become dry on the grill, and a zesty Sauvignon Blanc will breathe some life back into this dish.
Cabernet Sauvignon with Bison Burgers Pairing
Finally, we can’t leave without mentioning the low fat and hearty Bison Burger. On a cool summer night, try this rich burger with a warm and spicy Cabernet Sauvignon. Sit by the campfire while you enjoy this great combination, the black fruit flavours of the wine will bring you to the frontier lands that the cowboys used to roam.
Beer and Burger Pairings
India Pale Ale (IPA) is the first beer to spring to mind as it has been incredibly popular in the past decade and available everywhere. An IPA is malty, sweet, along with citrusy and earthy hops, will go great with tomato, bacon, mustard and ketchup. Plus, an Indian Pale Ale will cut through the grease of a well-made burger, making each bite taste fresh. We prefer a bracingly sharp IPA like Boneshaker from Amsterdam Brewery, especially if the burger is topped with sharp cheddar cheese.
If you are looking for a more unique hamburger and beer pairing, here are a few more suggestions.
Rauchbier and Hamburgers Topped with Bacon
For a grilled hamburger topped with bacon, there is nothing better than a Rauchbier. This beer contains natural smoke flavours that just love anything charred. The smokey flavours also love anything pork-based, such as bacon. Just think of how your mouth waters if you’ve ever attended a pig roast. The way the smoke and pork aromas lift your spirits in the open air. Seen as a novelty beer, Rauchbier is more difficult to find but well worth the effort to seek out.
If you’re adding hot peppers or something spicy to the burger, go for a American brown ale or a or Scotch ale as the maltiness will cut through the heat (whereas an IPA will make your mouth much hotter)
Altbier and Hamburgers
A recently discovered Hamburger and beer pairing for me is Altbier. Previously only available in Germany, many North American craft brewers have brewed their own version, which you should be able to pick up locally. This is a slightly fruity beer is like no other.
Altbier has a crisp biscuit like center when you get into the thick of things. This malty flavour complements the charred flavours of the meat, as well as the bun. The clean hoppy finish ensures this beer can handle whatever your burger may be loaded with, such as fried onions, peameal bacon, and all the sloppy condiments.
Nut Brown Ales and BBQ Sauce
If your burger has BBQ sauce on it, try a richer beer like Black Oak Nut Brown Ale, to bring out the smoky and sweet flavors in the BBQ sauce.