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Smashburger teams up with Four Peaks to offer burger and beer pairing menu

Posted on: January 31st, 2013 by Rodney Hartwig No Comments

Burgers and beers. Beers and burgers. Recently I had an opportunity to sample the new food and drink pairings from Smashburger and local craft brew favorite Four Peaks all while chatting with Smashburger founder Tom Ryan and four Peaks brewmaster Andy Ingram about not just the food and drink, but how the beers and burgers compliment and play off of one another.

Any thoughts that this may be just another dinner were soon dispelled when Andy and Tom, as they insisted  they be called, displayed their food and beer nerdery in all its glory, immediately delving into such topics as ‘Maillard reaction‘ and ‘umami’.

Here are a couple takes on my favorites from the new collaborative menu:

My surprise favorite of the night was the Mushroom Swiss Burger. I am not usually a fan of mushrooms, but the crimini mushrooms on this were surprising in that they did not over power the burger. This was described an Umami (there is that word again) based burger and was paired with the Four Peaks 8th Street Ale. This is a super-rich burger — creamy, delightful, the epitome of a ‘dinner burger’. This was the only burger of the night where I really felt glad we were only having a “tasting portion”, but at the same time, I wanted to devour the entire burger!

Cucumber Goat Cheese SmashChicken

Cucumber Goat Cheese SmashChicken

 “Choosing the right burger and the right beer can double your experience.” – Tom Ryan

I was pretty amazed at the lightness of the Cucumber Goat Cheese SmashChicken. I would describe the combination of this sandwich with Four Peaks’ Sunbru as the definitive lunch pairing of the menu. I have to admit, it made me want to go back the very next day to have it again. Some of the reactions at our table: “This pairing is almost magical. This sandwich provides the best, most diverse pairing options of all.”

“Beer’s secret weapon is carbonation; it almost has a scrubbing effect on the palate.” – Tom Ryan

The Arizona Burger comes with fresh jalapeños, guacamole, habanero jack cheese, and chipotle mayo, with a chipotle infused bun. Just for kicks, I like to add grilled jalapeños, because… why not? All of this heat is offset refreshingly and aromatically by the Hop Knot IPA. While it does not quite put out the fire, it definitely takes it from a 3 alarm to a 2 alarm.

Arizona Burger

Arizona Burger

Crispy Buffalo SmashChicken — Frank’s Red Hot sauce and crumbled blue cheese on an egg bun. This is Tom’s second favorite pairing. I am a sucker for a well-executed buffalo-style chicken sandwich… and the addition of bleu cheese (while the abomination known as ‘ranch’ stayed in the kitchen where it belongs) did not go unnoticed by me.

Smashburger has 12 Valley locations, find your closest one here.

Four Peaks has two Valley locations; 1340 E. 8th Street, #104 in Tempe and 15745 North Hayden Road, #D5-7 in Scottsdale, plus a tasting room at their 60,000 square foot production facility located at 2401 S Wilson St in Tempe.

One last thought: Smashburger does offer a Veggie Black Bean Burger — as Tom says, “For those of you that practice that crap!”  — which pairs nicely with a Sunbru. After his good natured dig at veggieheads, Tom did say that this pairing was “all the shizzle”.

Rodney behind the scenes

Rodney behind the scenes

Announcement by Rodney Hartwig, Guest Contributor for PhoenixBites

*This meal was provided to us complimentary as a part of a media invitation. However, this has no effect on our opinions and comments regarding our experience. View our Disclosure Policy for further explanation.

About the Author - Rodney Hartwig

Rodney Hartwig is a Phoenix native currently living in Portland, OR. He sometimes eats crazy amounts of food, and always enjoys it. When he is not writing for Phoenix Bites, he is wondering what he will write next, eating, or running half marathons. Follow him on twitter at @thatrodneyguy.

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