Christian Moerlein, Smashburger pair burgers and beers on new menu

May 6, 2013, 10:54am EDT

Smashburger and Christian Moerlein Brewing Co. took a classic American combo, the hamburger and a beer, to the next level.

The two companies released their burger and beer pairings for the Smashburger locations in Greater Cincinnati last week. Cincinnati is the eighth market where Smashburger has introduced the burger and local craft beer pairing.

To view a slideshow of some of the burger-and-beer-combinations, click on the image to the right.

“In the past, you got the burger they made and the beer they had,” said Tom Ryan, founder of Smashburger. “Partnering with the Christian Moerlein team, we created cool, modern flavor combinations.”

Ryan worked with Richard Dubé, brewmaster of Christian Moerlein, to design the pairing menu. There are seven sandwiches paired up with different beers.

One thing Ryan noted is that Smashburger does not have a formula for its pairings. Ryan doesn’t pick the same type of beer from craft brewers that worked in another market; each decision is made based on testing out the flavor combinations.

Beer sales are only about 3 to 4 percent of Smashburger’s annual revenue. But in locations that have already implemented the craft beer pairings, beer sales are up 33 to 50 percent. In addition, it helps raise overall sales.

“It’s a fabulous way for both brands to talk about each other,” Ryan said.

So what are Ryan’s and Dubé’s favorite combinations? Ryan said his favorite is the Mushroom Swiss Burger with Barbarossa Dark Lager. Dubé prefers the Spicy Baja Black Bean Burger with Northern Liberties IPA.

The new pairings are available at five existing Smashburger locations. A sixth store, located in Hyde Park, is coming soon.