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Cicerone Rich Coffey's Burger-Friendly Beers

Yesterday we brought you the burger-and-wine musings of Canlis wine director Nelson Daquip. But we know that for a great many of you, nothing goes with a burger like a beer. And so we figured Rich Coffey would be the guy to ask about what beer brings out the best in your bacon cheeseburger. Coffey, the executive chef at Madison Park Cafe and a beer columnist at Seattlest, also happens to be a certified Cicerone, the beer equivalent to a sommelier. And as of right now he's the only one in the state of Washington.

Coffey is an avowed fan of beer and cheese together, so he says matching the beer with the cheese on the burger is a safe bet. However other elements like bacon or spice should be considered as well.

Bacon cheeseburger: For this most classic of burgers, Coffey can't say enough good things about Schlenkerla Rauchbier Marzen, a smoked malt beer from Bamberg Germany, or, for something a little closer to home, Alaskan Brewing Company Smoked Porter. These beers' smokiness goes well with bacon, says Coffey. Not surprisingly, smoked beers are "a perfect match with anything grilled over an open wood fire."
Bleu cheese burger: Go IPA, or stout, says Coffey. "You need a fairly big beer to stand up to the assertive flavor of bleu cheese." He recommends Schooner Exact's 3-Grid IPA or the Pike XXXXX Stout from Pike Brewing.
Southwestern-style burger: If your patty is topped with chili peppers and Monterey Jack cheese, Coffey says go for a Rogue Dead Guy Ale, which is basically a maibock, albeit a more assertive Pacific Northwest take on the style. Maibock or bock beers do well with spicy foods, he says, their sweeter, maltier notes "are a nice contrasting flavor, that helps put out the fire." On the other hand, "very hoppy beers will intensify spiciness if that's what you're into."
Lamb burger: "The resinous herbal flavors in well-hopped IPA are great with the Middle Eastern spices typically used in lamb burgers," according to Coffey. This one calls for a Boundary Bay IPA or HUB's Ace of Spades. Again, anything hoppy will intensify chili spiciness; if your burger has a bit of a kick to it, Coffey suggests a dunkelweizen as an alternative due to the style's "clove-like spiciness.' His local recommendation--Leavenworth Biers Boulder Blend Dunkelweizen.
· Here's to Beer! [Seattlest]
· All Burger Week Coverage on Eater Seattle [-ESEA-]
[Photo by A.Vermillion]

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