If it’s flipping hamburgers,… be the best hamburger flipper in the world. Whatever it is you do you have to master your craft. — Snoop Dogg
I would rather be having a burger and beers with my mates but I can’t do that when I know I’ve got to dance. –Michael Flatley
I knew there was a reason I decided not to be a dancer.
At any rate, we’re at the tag end of summer — an unrelentingly hot, dry, and dusty summer. But sometimes new things happen in the fall; out here in the lake area, we’re about to get a P. Terry’s, which means yet more opportunities for good burgers. And I’ll be honest with you; I’ll go a long way for a good burger and a good beer. So while you’re thinking about your Labor Day cookout (which, depending on your local fire code, may be in your broiler), here’s some beer and burger ideas for you to wrap a bun around. (Note I say burger, not ‘hamburger’. Feel free to make your chosen delight out of beef, turkey, soy bits, or whatever you like; we’re fully supportive of your dietary choices, since none of them mean we can’t drink more beer.)
First off, I like big, flavorful, strong, stinky cheese. So one of my favorite burgers is the Blu(eu)e burger, topped with, say, Stilton or Gorgonzola. If you want to stay domestic, you could use Maytag from Iowa — which in my opinion is one of the reasons I love America. Match the big flavor of this burger with Samuel Smith Oatmeal Stout from Tadcaster, England. The aggressiveness of the cheese meets its perfect foil in the stout’s rich, smooth, fruity overtones.
I love mushrooms. I wouldn’t eat them as a child, and now I regret all the mushrooms I missed. Please, don’t make my mistake — pile your burger deep with sautéed mushrooms and onions. While the food cognoscenti enjoy exotic mushrooms, I kinda like plain old white buttons with butter and black pepper. No matter what your fungal choice, I think a Kolsch goes perfectly with those savory and earthy tones. Kolsch is “Germany’s only true, all-barley, pale ale” (Definition from the German Beer Institute). It’s close in spirit to a blonde ale, but has a soft earthiness to it that’s unique. There is, as of this writing, only one true German Kolsch in Texas — but it’s a decent one. I carry Sunner Kolsch in a 16.9 ounce bottle for $3.39 here at the Galleria.
Finally, the best food we can eat is the food in our memories — the things that mean more than just dinner on a plate. My home town had a strong Italian presence, so several of the local joints served a pizza burger. With garlic in the meat and pizza sauce and mozzarella cheese on top, these hybrids were some of my favorite things growing up. I haven’t had one in a long time, but I think I may have to change that soon — and I’ll probably enjoy it with a Victory Headwaters Pale Ale. This American pale ale has great citrus and herbal notes, a perfect echo for oregano and tomato acidity.
Until next month, keep your head up, your lace delicate, your malt toasty, and your hops snappy.