How about an Elvis Juice to wash down that B-Rex, Sir?
A burger and a beer. Sounds simple, doesn’t it? But in a world where there are many takes on the humble pattie in a bun, so too there are so many beers you could wash them down with.
That’s where Byron Burger is ahead of the game with some hop-savvy staff helping choose a rotating craft beer list purpose-built to match their ‘proper hamburgers’. Canny, eh?
The upmarket chain, with three outlets in Manchester – Corn Exchange, Deansgate and Piccadilly Gardens – is renowned for its attention to detail and it shows in their beer list, draught and in bottle. Why, they even offer their own specially commissioned in-house beers, brewed for them by London’s Camden Town Brewery – Byron Lager and Byron Pale Ale.
Camden has a strong presence on the list, dating back to the chain’s London origins. Its reliable easy-drinking Dortmund-style Camden Hells is there on draught, but the two in-house beers it brews for Byron are more interesting, especially the fruity, hoppy Byron Ale, available in 330ml cans for £4.35.
What the 'ecks a B-Rex?
A classic patty topped with streaky bacon, chunky onion ring, American cheese, jalapeños, pickles, onions, BBQ sauce and mayo - phwoar!
The Byron Lager is on draught, alongside a rotating local beer, on this occasion Marble’s more-ish session ale, Pint. It is good to see it there alongside global names such as Brooklyn, Peroni and Sierra Nevada and that’s the first beer Corn Exchange assistant manager (and beer buff) Tom Mackrell pours us on our visit. This 3.9% session ale is brewed with an all pale malt bill and then hopped with a blend of New Zealand and US hops. There’s a grapefruity zing about it and (at the risk of sounding pretentious) a hint of lemongrass.
As it happened, the decidedly citrussy Brewdog Elvis Juice (£4.75 for a 330ml can), from the ‘Speciality Range’, rose to the challenge best. Beware, though. While dangerously drinkable, this grapefruit peel-infused, pithy IPA weighs in at an unsessionable 6.5% alcohol.
A safer bet for your Smoky or Double Bacon Cheese lies in the Pale Ale selection. Perhaps the unfiltered but beautifully balanced Moor Revival from Bristol (£4.50) or, brewed just across the Yorkshire border near Hebden Bridge and a bit stronger, Vocation Pride and Joy APA, whose exotic melange of hop, mango and berry fruit works well across the burger range.
Wild card and built for the beef in your burger is Beavertown 8 Ball Rye IPA, maltier, earthier and creeping above the 6% mark. Just have the two then… or, going for it, you could upgrade your beer to a Boilermaker by adding a shot of Bourbon on the side for £3.
And while you are waiting for your burger check out the Byron tasting notes blog online.
Here’s an extract. We told you they were serious about their beer!
'Brewing a beer is analogous to building a great burger (stay with me – I think this might work). The patty is equivalent to the grain in a beer. It’s the difference between beef, chicken or mushroom, or lager, pale ale and stout, while fat content is comparable to dryness in beer, where there’s optimum amounts of both and they work on opposite trajectories: juicy meat is good and dry meat bad like sweet beer is bad and dry beer is good.
'These are the heart of a good burger or beer. The hops in beer are like the cheese, condiments and seasoning in a burger. Hops can be gentle or powerful, deeply bitter or beautifully aromatic; tropical, citrusy, peppery, herbal, savoury. And do you just want ketchup and mustard? American cheese or cheddar? How about some hot sauce? These are what ultimately change the overall beer or burger into its final flavours.
'The bun holds a burger together like the yeast and alcohol forming the structure of a beer; if the bun, or beer, is too weak or strong then everything is out of balance and not enjoyable.
'To thumb-in this analogy even further, you can then add anything you want onto a burger. An egg. Some onion rings. Peanut butter, bacon, pineapple, kimchi. Whatever you like. And beer is the same. You name it and someone has probably brewed a beer with it. In a burger you only really need bread, meat and seasoning and you can build it up from there. In beer you only need grain, hops and yeast (plus water, of course, but I’m not sure how that relates to the burger… yet what makes beer such an excitingly varied drink is that there’s limitless ways in which to combine those ingredients to produce different drinks.”