Burgers and Brews: Beer and Food pairings at Square One Burgers

Before delving into burgers, whet you appetite with fried dill pickles and peppercorn ranch dressing. Not like I travel around the world tasting fried pickles, but the fried pickles at Square One are the best I’ve ever experienced. Thick cut chunks of lightly cured goodness toe the line between cucumber and pickle, staying crispy during frying. Dale’s Pale Ale by Oskar Blues Brewery is the perfect companion for this heap of pickle heaven. The 6.5% ABV American pale ale’s hops bite blends nicely with the abundant vinegar and dill action of the pickled cucumber.

“Buffalo Bob” is a glorious union of sesame bun, buffalo patty, applewood smoked bacon, onion rings, and spicy beer cheese sauce. The slight gaminess of lean buffalo meat blends well with Brooklyn Brewery’s 5.5% ABV American style Brown Ale. Saltiness from bacon and onion ring breading tones down the brew’s caramel flavors and allows robust coffee flavors of roasted grain to shine through the malty sweetness.

Simply named, the “Turkey Burger” dresses a ground turkey patty with Canadian bacon, cranberry and apple compote, curly leaf lettuce, provolone cheese, and teriyaki ginger sauce. Grain flavors from a whole wheat bun and the sweetness of fruit compote and Japanese-inspired sauce mixes well with the malty spiciness of Dead Guy Ale. This 6.5% ABV ale from Rogue Ales Brewery is inspired by German maibock lagers, traditionally brewed in the winter months for consumption during spring.

The award winning “Valerie and Jason’s Toga Party” showcases a Myers Angus burger topped with feta cheese, grilled tomato, sundried tomato mayonnaise, and fresh basil leaves on a whole grain bun. In order to appreciate the abundance of flavor, a mild, yet unique, beer like Anchor Steam from Anchor Brewing would be an excellent choice. This 4.9% ABV brew is the prime example of a rare style -- the Steam Beer. Also called California Common, this type of beer uses lager yeast, but instead of being kept cold, as is common during lager fermentation, the brew evolves in open vats at temperatures that are appropriate for brewing ales.

Add a little spice to your life with “Geoff’s Firebird” -- a ground turkey burger topped with pepper jack cheese, applewood smoked bacon bits, sautéed sweet peppers, jalapeno slices, curly leaf lettuce, red onion, and chipotle ketchup on a wheat bun. With an intense hops bite, the 9% ABV 90 Minute IPA from Dogfish Head Craft Brewed Ales is the perfect brew to balance the burger’s fiery pepper fury.

“Tuna Burger” features a sashimi tuna steak, sliced avocado, sautéed sweet peppers and garlic, wasabi sauce, and a sesame bun. The citrus, banana, and clove profile of 5.5% ABV Paulaner Hefeweizen pairs well with the 5 ounce tuna steak and tones down the mild warmth of wasabi. Traditional Munich brewed beers like those produced by Paulaner Brauerei are bound by Reinheitsgebot, a purity law instated in the early 1500’s which specifies that only four ingredients can be used to make beer – malt, hops, water, and yeast.

The “Decadent” burger tops Kobe beef with caramelized onions, curly leaf lettuce, brie, and sundried tomato mayonnaise. Served on a Kaiser bun, this decadent burger deserves an equally decadent beer. Premiere (red label) from trappist brewery Chimay is the best call. Produced by Belgian monks of the Cistercian order, the 7% ABV dubbel’s subtle roasted malt sweetness balances the rich meaty flavors of the burger without overpowering the brie’s earthy flavors.

The Square One menu also includes Make Your Masterpiece, which offers complete burger destiny control. My personal burger fantasy includes a veggie burger topped with spicy beer cheese sauce and roasted corn and black bean salsa, squished inside a whole wheat bun. Beside this sexy hunk of vegetarian burger madness, I would enjoy a 5% Organic Ale from English brewery Samuel Smith. The subtle hops bite of this English pale ale is just enough to balance the spiciness of beer cheese and salsa, while the clean organic finish laden with pale malt flavors blends well with the wheat grain bun.

I challenge you to find a more suitable, adult appropriate, companion for a well assembled burger than a flavorful brew. But not every beer has the power to bring out the best in every burger. Some matches are just better than others. Thankfully, Square One Burger has an extensive beer list and a huge variety of killer burgers, so no matter what your preferences include, you’ll be setup with the ideal burger/ beer scenario.

Scroll to read more Food News articles


Join Creative Loafing Tampa Bay Newsletters

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.