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Best burgers: 10 burgers to pair with beer (or cocktails)

Like a craft beer or tasty cocktail with your burger? These 10 places are for you.

New or updated entries are marked with an asterisk.

If you have other suggestions, please email them to us at eat@pioneerpress.com.


Other categories from our 2023 guide:

  • Overall: This year, the double-smash trend is still going strong, but a few new burgers are bucking the trend. Here’s the Eat team’s introduction to our 2023 guide to the best burgers in the Twin Cities (with links to all categories).

  • Cult burgers: These are the burgers for which people are willing to wait — sometimes as long as an hour or two. And these 4 burgers match the hype.

  • Destination burgers: City dwellers, these 10 places are worth the drive.

  • Dive bar burgers: They may not all have a website, but they have regulars, pull tabs, and griddles that have been around long enough to give their burgers a little extra seasoning. Here are 6 dive bars to check out.

  • Neighborhood burgers: These 8 spots close to home serve a crave-worthy burger.

  • Cheffy burgers: When some of the city’s best chefs put their minds to making a burger, the results are nothing short of amazing — so amazing that we have 26 options to consider.


Dark Horse Bar and Eatery

One of our favorite bars, period, Dark Horse offers a great tap selection, and of course, a delicious burger, which got an update this year. The Drive Thru burger features patties that are coated in mustard before hitting the grill (a la the In-N-Out Animal Burger), which gives them a little tang and crisp. American cheese blends in, without overwhelming, and there is caramelized onion for sweetness, shredded lettuce and pickle for freshness and lots of special sauce on a good, squishy, buttery brioche bun. Four napkins, five stars. And the chip-like fries that accompany it are worth the calories to boot.



Drive Thru burger at Dark Horse Bar and Eatery in Lowertown, St. Paul. (Jess Fleming / Pioneer Press)
Drive Thru burger at Dark Horse Bar and Eatery in Lowertown, St. Paul. (Jess Fleming / Pioneer Press)

Animales Burger Co.

Chef Jon Wipfli’s burger truck is back at Bauhaus Brew Labs, and it’s as good as ever. The Burger is a Peterson Meats grind, smashed and cooked until perfectly crisp and juicy, topped with American cheese and slightly sweet pickles. The sturdy milk bun is made in house. It goes great with any of Bauhaus’ beers — or a low-dose THC beverage.



The burger at Animales Burger Co., which is parked outside Bauhaus Brew Labs in Northeast Minneapolis. (Jess Fleming / Pioneer Press)
The burger at Animales Burger Co., which is parked outside Bauhaus Brew Labs in Northeast Minneapolis. (Jess Fleming / Pioneer Press)

Bricksworth Beer Co.

The Burnsville brewpub, run by BlackStack Brewing founders’ son, opened its second location in Minneapolis’ North Loop this year. The food menu is nearly identical to the wings and Detroit-style pizzas on offer in Burnsville, with one addition — a “handhelds” section — that contains precisely one item: The Bricksworth Smash Burger. And honestly, it’s fine. The two patties were smaller than expected but tasty, although they got lost under the cheese. The bright spot was the pickles, which are made in-house and have a spicy zing. It’s solid beer food, but the rest of the menu is a little more on-point.


  • Bricksworth Beer Co.: 305 N 5th Ave Suite 105, Minneapolis; 612-886-1848; bricksworthbeer.co


Inver Grove Brewing

I love this busy brewpub, which is really just what this south metro suburb needed. Everything, including the beer, is made from scratch, here, and the house burger, made from a brisket/chuck blend, is straightforwardly delicious. A single juicy patty, American, lettuce, tomato, house-made dill pickles and a zippy little house sauce make everything I need to make a tough day brighter.


  • Inver Grove Brewing: 9051 Buchanan Trail, Inver Grove Heights; 651-370-1565; igbrewing.com


Tipsy Steer at High Pines Brewing

East metro brewery High Pines wisely partnered with kitchen outfit Tipsy Steer, which serves a pretty giant menu of scratch-made bar food. We had a few burgers here, but are partial to the Fairibault Pride, a juicy, beefy patty made from Swanson Reserve beef and topped with aged cheddar and Gorgonzola as well as sweet caramelized onion and thick-cut bacon and nestled in a well-buttered bun. It’s greasy — but in the best way — and pairs perfectly with a crisp beer.



A-Side Public House

This brewpub in St. Paul’s West Seventh neighborhood has everything it needs to make it a must-visit for us: House-brewed beer, but also wine or cocktails, and a super tasty double-smash burger. The Station 10 burger is two juicy patties, gilded with melty muenster cheese and a few pickles. The house sauce has a sweetness to it that’s appealing — ask for some on the side so you can dip the tasty, thin-cut fries in it.



Brunson’s Pub

I love the beer list (and the affordable craft cocktails) at this east-side pub, which has a whole menu of craveable, upscale bar food at very downscale prices. There are three burgers, but we are partial to the classic double, which consists of two juicy patties, lots of melty American cheese and enough classic toppings that getting our mouth around the thing is a challenge. This is one of the only spots where we skip the fries and go for the house-made potato chips instead. Order a side of the restaurant’s onion-dill dip to go with them — you won’t be sorry.



Brunson’s classic double burger features two burly patties, ample amounts of melty American cheese and fresh onion, tomato and pickle. (Jess Fleming / Pioneer Press)
Brunson’s classic double burger features two burly patties, ample amounts of melty American cheese and fresh onion, tomato and pickle. (Jess Fleming / Pioneer Press)

Red Cow

This burger-centric restaurant has wisely also taken up the flag for craft beer, and its list is something to behold. Cocktails here are great, too, and wine-nerd owner Luke Shimp has curated a fun and very global selection. The burgers here are all decent, but we’re partial to the mushroom swiss. The fungus here is cooked in a glug of merlot for extra richness, and melty swiss and a swipe of garlic mayo are the perfect accompaniments.


  • Red Cow: 393 Selby Ave., St. Paul (and three Minneapolis locations); 651-789-0545; redcowmn.com


Pat’s Tap:

Much has been written about the Bacon Burger, in which bacon is ground into the (admittedly delicious) thick patty, which is topped with Swiss cheese and fried onions. But the burger that has this Wisconsin native’s heart is the Big Cheese Burger, topped with a fat slab of tangy cheddar that is flipped and griddled so the cheese is caramelized on top. The burger comes with house-made pickles and luscious, acidic heirloom tomatoes that serve as the anti-ketchup. Just thinking about that burger still makes me swoon. And the full-page beer list isn’t too shabby, either.


  • Pat’s Tap: 3510 Nicollet Ave., Minneapolis; 612-822-8216; patstap.com


Surly

The destination brewery knows that burgers and beer belong together. Two smashed patties, plenty of melty American cheese, crisp pickles, just enough red onion for bite and a swipe of “fancy sauce” keep things interesting. The brewery recommends pairing it with Furious, its flagship IPA, but you can’t go wrong with just about any of the brewery’s well-made, tasty beers.


  • Surly Brewing Company: 520 Malcolm Ave. S.E., Minneapolis; 763-999-4040; surlybrewing.com

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