Surprise, It’s Not Just All Cold Brews
There’s no better combination than a nice cold beer and a juicy burger to make your heart and stomach sing simultaneously. Of course, that’s a very true and obvious statement, but, there a few cocktails pairing that might taste just as good or better with a quarter-pounder of ground beef.
To tantalize our taste buds, we stop by Rouge in the Rittenhouse section of Philadelphia. With a menu with decadent dishes like Spanish octopus, steak frites and their signature gourmet Rouge Burger (found on both their brunch & main menus), we knew this was the ideal place to challenge the beer & burger status quo.
With the help of their beverage specialist, Matthew Brenner, we’ve come up with three drink pairings to complement this burger masterpiece.
Wine: Cune Rioja Crianza 2015
Before we getting into the drink pairing, let’s break down this burger. We have a perfectly cooked, medium-rare Angus burger with caramelized onions, melted gruyere cheese and crisp french fries (and a dill pickle). Not surprisingly, the flavor profile is rich, savory and creamy (thanks gruyere).
Now, as we were crafting what three drinks for this feature, a red wine was top on the list. Thinking of how well a dry red pairs with a juicy porter house steak was the inspiration behind this, but, accounting for the flavor profile of caramelized onions & gruyere cheese threw me for a loop. Matt suggested a Rioja because of the fruit forward notes and peppery finish.
End result, the Rioja pairing is my favorite of the three. Surprise! Because of how savory this burger is, having a drink that complemented richness because it was so full-bodied and fruity without being too dry, turned this into an experience.
Cocktail: Classic Old-Fashioned (Made w/ WhistlePig Rye Whiskey)
Ok, so this is my sleeper combination and for good reason. On its own, an Old-Fashioned is a meal into itself. It’s smooth, has a little bite and fruity finish that always hits the spot. To be honest, it has all the similar qualities of the Rioja wine but it’s much brighter with the rye whiskey profile and bitters.
What I loved most about this pairing is how the zest for the orange and the savory flavor of the meat and cheese do a little dance. Each component doesn’t compete for attention, but, their profiles meld rather well.
Beer: Sip Of Sunshine IPA
Lastly, we went to a tried and true classic — a beer and a burger. This isn’t rocket science because the combination works, but, I think we’re so use to lagers that really only cleanse the palette without adding any flavor. Honestly, I think we’re more addicted to the effervescence of a hoppy lager than the flavor it provides to it meaty companion.
So, my suggestion is to try a fruit forward IPA. This was my first time trying out Lawson’s “Sip Of Sunshine” IPA and let me tell you, I now understand what summer tastes like in a can. It’s fruity without being sweet, hoppy without being bitter and just light enough to not overpower your burger.
Big thank you to Rouge for letting me indulge in great drinks and an amazing burger!
Visit Rouge98.com to make a reservation or pop-up for brunch.
Founder & Creative Director of Men's Style Pro, Sabir has a deep passion for menswear and all things manly. Selected as one of the "5 Best Dressed Men In America" by Esquire Magazine in 2010 & as #GQFall 2013 Best Dressed Man. As of 2014, Sabir serves as a freelance brand ambassador & executive stylist for GQ Magazine & GQ Report. Outside of that partnership, Sabir serves as an independent brand consultant as well. Reach me directly at SABIR@MENSSTYLEPRO.COM