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Wine Down Friday: What to Drink with a Summer Burger

Matchups by Jordan Mackay

A MELLOW PALE ALE The gentle hoppiness and maltiness of a medium-weight beer are the perfect foil for a burger with condiments.

Burgers have a lot going on, especially with sharp toppings like pickles, raw onion, cheddar, mustard, and ketchup. Unlike its superhopped cousin, the IPA, a classic American pale ale has a nice refreshing bitterness to parry those punchy dressings without overwhelming. A hint of grainy sweetness rounds off the beefy patty.

A LUSH, JUICY RED The succulent, berry-inflected fruit of a plush red complements a grilled burger's deep, beefy flavor.

Go for a cabernet sauvignon from Paso Robles, California. The warm climate produces cabs with plum and blackberry flavors that embrace the patty while providing enough tannins to tame layers of bacon, cheese, and tomato. A touch of oak offers a bit of toast to reel in the seared beef's smoky crust.

OOPS! Steer clear of light-bodied wines such as rieslings, rosés, and sparklers—their delicate flavors will be overwhelmed by a classic burger's hearty beef and punchy toppings.