Smashburger and Summit beer held a press-only party last night to unveil their new partnership in Minnesota Smashburger locations: Look for local Smashburger locations to highlight a Summit beer-pairing menu.
How in the world did Summit’s head brewer, Damian McConn, tackle the daunting task of pairing beer with hamburgers, you ask? With quite a bit of thought and sophistication, actually. At the event, McConn charmed with his Irish brogue, explaining that beer and food can be paired as contrasting or complementary flavors, but that complementary is a better way to go. With that in mind, the jalapeno laced Baja burger pairs with Summit’s heavily spiced Saga IPA, and the mushroom and Swiss burger pair with the malty Summit Great Northern Porter.
Tom Ryan, the companies’ founder and chief burger idea man, walked the crowd through some of the unique features of the Smashburger concept. For one, they smash their burgers—duh. According to Ryan, each burger starts its day as freshly ground Angus beef. The cooks then shape the beef into a loosely packed meatball. The meatball is placed on a buttered griddle, where it is then smashed with a medal paddle. As Ryan demonstrated (how often do you get to have a fast-food CEO cook your burger?), the loosely packed meatball makes for a fast-cooking (3 minutes) burger. Smashing then helps create more surface area for a “crusted” burger finish. Loosely-packed-meatball-smashing or not, they are tasty with a good beefy bite.
In the end, it’s nice to see a national chain make the effort to highlight local ingredients, like Summit beer, especially with such tasty combinations.