Battle of the Burgers: 24 Burgers Paired with Craft Beers

Local Restaurants Fire Up the Grills for the Tastiest, Juiciest Bout Between Two Buns

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Repeal Bourbon and Burgers
Photo by David Uhrin

Repeal Bourbon and Burgers

El Diablo

Like the Boston Red Sox in 1916 and Joe Louis in 1937, Battle of the Burgers defending champ Repeal Bourbon and Burgers is girding up to seize its first back-to-back title with El Diablo. Possessing many of the 2018 victor Fire & Brimstone’s elements—grass-fed beef, jack cheese, Tabasco onion strings, brioche bun—it relieves F&B’s habanero chutney and Sriracha aioli with jalapeno-honey chutney and habanero-lime aioli. Still an interplay of sweet and heat, it’s more devilish tickle than hellfire. Head Chef Zack LaShure serves it as a lunch slider at this bite-sized, speakeasy-ish Oceanfront hideaway, part of Moliar Hospitality Group (including three Hair of the Dogs, Calypso, Croakers and soon-to-open Sticky Thighs). Just as it’s myth that you can’t trust a skinny cook, LaShure proves that you can trust a vegan burgermeister. If this tempting burger clinches the title again, he might need to rechristen El Diablo the Repeal Repeat.

202 22nd St., Virginia Beach. 757-321-8885.



Fair Winds Brewing

Fair Winds Brewing Company


Siren's Lure Farmhouse Ale/Saison

It’s a hop-forward Saison—hazy, straw-colored—farmhouse ale, brewed with Pilsner and Vienna malts with a touch of wheat. Zythos and Galaxy hop additions in the boil enhance the fruitiness provided by the French farmhouse yeast. It’s lightly dry-hopped with Galaxy and Hallertau Blanc hops to enhance the tart, dry finish.
7.2% ABV


Blue Pete's, Virginia Beach
Photo by Melissa Morgan Stewart

Blue Pete’s

Back Bay Burger

It’s no surprise that a local’s favorite like Blue Pete’s, a Pungo icon, would serve up a burger named after the beautiful natural wildlife refuge that surrounds this laid back and classic restaurant. The Back Bay Burger is an 8-ounce Angus patty sprinkled with Montreal seasoning and flame griddled before being placed on a pillowy Kaiser potato bun. The drippy (in a good way) meat is then covered with cheddar cheese, tomato, lettuce, a crispy onion ring for some textural crunch and a saucy mixture of applewood smoked bacon and onion caramelized in a house barbecue sauce.

Co-owner (with twin brother, Nicholas) Aristotle Cleanthes says he “puts a whole lotta love into this burger” that he has affectionately nicknamed “The Napkin Stacker.” Sometimes love can be messy, and we are OK with that.

1400 N. Muddy Creed Road, Virginia Beach. 757-426-2278.



Lickinghole Creek Craft Brewery

Lickinghole Creek Craft Brewery


Scarlet Honey Hoppy Red Ale

Bee power! Thank you for being a bee hero! Over 75 percent of America’s nutrition is pollinated by bees. A portion of the proceeds from Scarlet Honey go to protecting Virginia’s bee population through responsible, ecological farming practices. So with every sip you taste that sweet nectar of doing good.
4.9% ABV


Union Alehouse
Photo by Grace Silipigni

Union Alehouse

PB&J Burger

Imagine biting into a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Now add some heat, a few smoky strips of thick cut bacon and a grass-fed beef patty and you’ve got Union Alehouse’s PB&J Burger. This burger might be sans lettuce, tomato and onion, but it pays a delicious homage to a childhood classic.

Alehouse cuisine focuses heavily on the union of flavors, and the PB&J Burger is no exception. Like all Union dishes, Owner and Head Chef Bryan Connolly designed the patty to harness the unique combination of spicy, sweet, salty, sour and umami, all between two brioche buns.

Packing the heat is a house-made habanero peach jelly crafted with peppers harvested straight from Connolly’s backyard. Saccharine savors arise from Connolly’s homemade peanut butter made from local honey and Suffolk peanuts, followed by the umami tastes of a certified Hereford patty and salty bacon strips.

2224 Virginia Beach Blvd., Unit 113, Virginia Beach. 757-431-7322.



Sly Clyde Ciderworks

Sly Clyde Ciderworks



A blackberry mojito masquerading as a cider, Inkjet is fermented on fresh mint and finished with blackberry deliciousness. Made with 100 percent Virginia apples, it deftly combines sweet, savory and tart.
6.7% ABV


Sage Kitchen Virginia Beach
Photo by Jim Pile

Sage Kitchen Virginia Beach

We Created a Muenster Burger

Sometimes fancy schmancy burgers can seem a bit overdone, but that’s not the case with We Created a Muenster. On this opulent plate, chef Christopher Howard has come up with something outstanding—an elevated take on the familiar combination of beef, onions, mushrooms and cheese.

Here, Muenster-studded, grass-fed meat from Pungo-Tuck Local Beef Company is layered with an oyster mushroom ragout made with cream, Riesling wine, garlic and onion; chipotle glaze created by reducing sugar, raspberry preserves, vinegar and spices; caramelized shallots; and a propriety blend of microgreens from Mini Acre Farm in Newport News. And let’s not dismiss the house-made black pepper, truffle and honey brioche bun that lovingly hugs this earthy, gourmet rendition of an old favorite. That bun is on to something because there is no doubt we would easily embrace this burger for as long as possible.

1925 Fisher Arch, Virginia Beach. 757-296-8464.



Wasserhund Brewing Bitchin Bacon Stout

Wasserhund Brewing Company

Virginia Beach

Bitchin' Bacon Stout

This full bodied chocolate, oatmeal and bacon stout is a full breakfast with every sip. It has a cocoa aroma with a slight smoky finish. If you like stouts and you’re looking for a rich, full-bodied beer, this is the one for you.
8.4% ABV


Peninsula Burgers


Photo by Arielle Patterson


Bubba's Burger

“Everyone loves bacon,” proclaims Richard “Bubba” Christian, co-owner of Bubba-N-Franks Smokehouse. It is this love of bacon that was the inspiration behind Bubba’s Burger, the restaurant's top-selling smoked burger. Bubba’s Burger offers a pleasant sweetness to stand out from savory burgers.

House-ground beef patties are topped with a slice of cheese, candied bacon and a crispy onion ring. The strips of bacon are coated with a brown sugar mix, creating a sticky glaze that drips off the burger and onto lettuce, tomato and sautéed onions, giving the burger a tantalizing sweetness. The toasted bun is your only defense from this finger-licking good burger.

299 Floyd Thompson Blvd., Hampton. 757-788-7060; 15149 Carrollton Blvd., Carrollton. 757-238-2148.



Virginia Beer Company Elbow Patches

Virginia Beer Company


Elbow Patches Oatmeal Stout

Roasty, creamy, chocolatey, it’s an oatmeal stout to be enjoyed with breakfast, lunch, dinner or anytime in between. The use of flaked oats creates a smooth, velvety base that sets the stage for pronounced aromas reminiscent of chocolate and coffee. The surprising lack of astringent bitterness rounds out this dark beer’s wide appeal.
6.2% ABV


Sage Kitchen Newport News
Photo by Jim Pile

Sage Kitchen Newport News

It’s Pasture Bedtime Burger

Sage chef Mike Nobile says he drew inspiration for his It’s Pasture Bedtime Burger from The Pickleback, a shot of Jameson whiskey followed by taking down some pickle juice. Whether or not you are brave enough to throw that back, you won’t want to miss the creative and completely addictive burger version.

Nobile begins by placing Jameson- and maple-glazed 80/20 grass-fed beef from Virginia Beach’s Pungo-Tuck Local Beef Company on a house-made black pepper, truffle and honey brioche bun and then adds bacon, Guinness-infused cheddar, a lightly fried pickle and a sunny side up egg dribbling with decadence. This sinful combination is undeniably lush, but it is served alongside a shot of pickle juice, of course, to cut the richness and cleanse the palate after each satisfying mouthful.

11250 Jefferson Ave., Newport News. 757-296-8464.



Wasserhund Brewing Purebred Pilsner

Wasserhund Brewing Company

Virginia Beach

Purebred Pilsner

If you are into big name American beers or just love a great lager, this beer is for you. This German pilsner is pale, golden and clear with a sweet and very mild spice aroma. While a light bodied beer, it is full of flavor. The beer starts with a dry malt sweetness and it is appropriately bittered with hops to leave a crisp finish; it leaves you needing another sip.
5.9% ABV


Viking Burger
Photo by Jim Pile

Viking Burger

The Valhalla Burger

If you ever wondered what a taste of heaven is like, the Valhalla from Viking Burger was created to take you there via an explosion of volcanic cheese served with various toppings. It’s an all-beef hamburger patty, stuffed with American and cheddar cheeses, topped with Viking Sauce and then another slice of American cheese for good measure. The recipe for Viking Sauce is said to be guarded by the Valkyries themselves, but it’s a house-made, turkey-based chili sauce, described by Viking Burger Owner David Coman as if “Manwich, spaghetti and chili had a baby. It’s very difficult to describe because it’s not quite chili and it’s not quite spaghetti sauce. But it’s our signature sauce, and we’re the only ones who have it.” It can be a little messy, but we think Odin would be proud.

13650 Warwick Blvd., Newport News. 757-874-1269.



Big Ugly Brewing Saison Bold

Big Ugly Brewing



Saison Bold

Whether you are a Volkswagon or Corvette fan, this beer offers enough style and octane to please. It’s a traditional Belgian farmhouse ale fermented with Saison yeast that is hazy in appearance with fruit and spice notes.
6% ABV


Brown Chicken Brown Cow Hampton
Photo by Jim Pile

Brown Chicken Brown Cow

The Goober

In traditional linguistics, a “goober” can be defined as someone who is a foolish or silly person. In the South, a “goober” is a slang term for peanuts—a phrase that has been a part of the local lexicon for more than 150 years. But there’s nothing foolish about Brown Chicken Brown Cow’s Goober—a Virginia-sourced, 6-ounce, grass-finished beef patty from Charlottesville’s Timbercreek Farm, topped with salted peanut butter, jalapeno-blueberry jam, bacon, aged white cheddar and pickles. With all that gooey goodness, you don’t need to add any condiments, but you might be tempted to order a glass of milk to go with it. According to Head Chef Clinton Copeland, The Goober currently only makes random appearances on their Specials menu (and is a big hit when it is available), but it may become a full-time burger option in the future.

13 E. Queens Way, Hampton. 757-788-7500.



Buskey Hard Cider Tart Cherry Cider

Buskey Hard Cider



Tart Cherry Cider

Cherries lend this cider its signature blush color while complementing the apples to create one of the most bright and refreshing ciders you’ve ever had.
6.3% ABV


Stillwater Tavern
Photo by Jim Pile

Stillwater Tavern

The Stillwater Crab Burger

Stillwater Tavern has come up with the perfect solution for a hand-held surf ’n’ turf delight. The Stillwater Crab Burger is a quarter-pound, all-beef patty topped with a grilled crab cake, served with lettuce, tomato, melted provolone and homemade Pirate Sauce. As anything “pirate” should contain an air of mystery, Manager Courtney Pease is sworn to secrecy when it comes to the ingredients. But she did divulge that it was originally concocted by one of their previous chefs who was trying to find a new coating for their signature wings. The result—a sweet/spicy/creamy blend that leaves a lingering sensation on one’s tongue—was so tasty and became so popular, they now use it on a variety of dishes.

555 Settlers Landing Road, Suite O, Hampton. 757-224-3523.



MoMac Brewing Company Orizaba Mexican Lager

MoMac Brewing Company


Orizaba Mexican Lager

With a nod to their Sister City in Mexico, MoMac set out to brew a light and refreshing lager true to the Mexican style. The true-to-style pale Mexican lager has a slightly sweet note from the corn and a smooth mouthfeel. No limes needed. Clean and crisp!
5.3% ABV


Burger Theory
Photo by Jim Pile

Burger Theory

Classic Without Compromise

With hundreds of possible burger combinations on Burger Theory’s build-your-own-burger menu, Chef Daniel Plott decided to showcase his take on a mushroom Swiss burger with the Classic Without Compromise.

The heart of the burger is Burger Theory’s unique proprietary blend. Chuck, short rib and brisket get an added touch of roasted, ground cremini mushrooms to cultivate this savory, lower-calorie patty. Beneath the patty is garlic sautéed spinach, while the top is dressed with more mushrooms and baby Swiss cheese. The top of the brioche bun gets a spread of a light, smoked pepper aioli, giving the burger a subtle heat that isn’t overwhelming.

The mildness of the melted Swiss cheese delicately envelops the demi-glace sautéed mushrooms and tender beef. Served on a buttery, toasted bun, the rich combination of flavors and ingredients are reminiscent of a hand-held steak dinner.

980 Omni Blvd., Newport News. 757-240-4371.



Capstan Bar Brewing

Capstan Bar Brewing Company


Cream Ale

It’a a balanced, easy-drinking golden ale with mild hop bitterness. This beer is inspired by pre-Prohibition cream ales, which were once popular in the United States. Made with a generous addition of flaked corn to lighten the body and lightly hopped with Willamette hops, this beer is crisp and refreshing.
5.5% ABV


Amber Ox Public House
Photo by Grace Silipigni

Amber Ox Labor of Love        

Burgers don’t get more local than this. At Williamsburg’s Amber Ox Public House, nearly every ingredient in this towering handheld is locally sourced, hand-cured and house-made. The attention to detail in this extravagant burger has led Chef Troy Buckley to grace it with its affectionate moniker, Labor of Love.

Not only is the Labor of Love mammoth in size, but it’s vast in tastes and textures too. Its deliciously complex layers of sweet, smoky, savory and salty arise from a host of chef’s handcrafted toppings including from-scratch bread and butter pickles, a jammy sweet red onion marmalade made with local honey, house-cured, pastrami-style duck breast bacon and the infamous Amber Ox sauce.

At the heart of the burger is a sizable 80/20 patty crafted from the premium cuts of Lynchburg’s Seven Hills Food Co. The intricate tiers of smoked cheddar cheese, finely chopped lettuce, tender proteins and flavorful extras are sandwiched between a buttery bacon fat brioche baked in-house.

525 Prince George St., Suite 102, Williamsburg. 757-790-2299.



Sly Clyde Ciderworks Surf Hopper

Sly Clyde Ciderworks


Surf Hopper

Inspired by their craft beer buddies, Surf Hopper is an off-dry and aggressively dry-hopped Lemondrop hops cider. It’s bursting with citrus and herbal notes.
6.7% ABV

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