The Ultimate Triple Threat: Gourmet Cheese, Burgers, and Brew Match-Ups

When the weather gets warmer, one of our favorite things to enjoy is a cheesy burger paired with a cold brew. And while the traditional burger with American cheese and whatever beer is on hand absolutely hits the spot on most occasions, sometimes we like to take things up a notch and explore other pairing possibilities.

This week, three Oliver’s employee owners from the Meat, Cheese, and Wine Departments got together and created four tasty burger trifectas for you to try – and the line-up even includes a Portobello burger option. You’re welcome!

Of course, all great food begins with great ingredients. Our Oliver’s Own Burger Patties are all made fresh daily in our Meat Departments in a rotating selection of flavors using Oliver’s Own 100% Choice Angus Beef and other high-quality ingredients.

Our Gourmet Cheese Department is your next stop for when you’re craving that melted perfection in a burger experience. Our Gourmet Cheese team is knowledgeable and passionate about both our domestic and imported cheese selection, and brought some outstanding options to the table for this pairing.

Last but not least, we need some fantastic beverages to make all of the ingredients come together and ‘sing’. Our beer selection is a celebration of all the talent and innovation that local, national, and international producers have to offer, and of the endless variety that keeps life interesting. There were plenty of great options to choose from for this challenge.

So how do these pairings come together? Oliver’s Gourmet Cheese Coordinator Wade Johnson sheds some light on the process:

“The goal of each pairing starts with an idea and theory based on previous pairing experience and understanding of flavor affinities,” Wade explained. “We try it out, take notes, and then discuss. A group is needed for this to make sure palates align. Individual tastes can really vary, but when you get all three to agree, you know you have something.”

The Tasting Process:

Is there a right or wrong way to evaluate a food and beverage pairing? “You always taste the beverage first to get a sense of style and structure,” Wade explains. “Next, you taste the dish, then another taste of the beverage, and wait for the finish of the flavors as they come together.”

How do you know if a pairing is successful?  Wade suggests looking at how the flavors mingle and whether they provide a unique and special experience. A successful pairing should elevate all of the individual ingredients to be better together than they are individually.

Challenge Goals:

Wade noted that the goal of this challenge was to showcase and then elevate our classic and proprietary burger patties using cheese and beer. The Portabella Burger was added to the line-up to throw the tasters a curve ball!

The Match-Ups:

This week, try these pairings and get inspired to create your own — with a little help from Oliver’s.

Note: All quoted prices are in effect from May 15-21, 2024 at all four Sonoma County Oliver’s Market locations.


  • Oliver’s Own Mesquite Bacon Burger
  • Abbey Farms Powerful Welsh Cheddar
  • Barrel Brothers Dark Sarcasm Porter









Tasting Notes: “An epic battle in your mouth that I highly suggest you sit down for. The Welsh cheddar and mesquite bacon burger combine into a flavor behemoth that is only matched by Dark Sarcasm’s robust flavor. Instead of clashing, the trio combines to bring out notes of vanilla from the porter and enhances the smokiness from the burger patty.” – Brandon Witwicki, Windsor Wine Department Manager

Featured Ingredients:

  • Barrel Brothers Dark Sarcasm Porter, 4 pack/16 oz. Cans, $12.99+CRV, LOCAL
  • Oliver’s Own Gourmet Burger Patties, Selected Varieties, $7.99/lb. 
  • Abbey Farms Powerful Welsh Cheddar, $11.99/lb.

Check out the full recipe for this pairing here!


  • Oliver’s Own Lamb Burger
  • Allagash White Belgian-Style Wheat Beer
  • Skyhill Farms Feta









Tasting Notes: “This Mediterranean pairing brings a kick with the change of the seasons! The brightness of the Skyhill Goat Feta marries beautifully with the rich lamb flavor and Mediterranean herb blend. Paired with Allagash Wheat – the lemon and floral notes complement this experience that boasts a symphony of herbal flavor.” – Dylan Lane, Windsor Cheese Department Assistant Manager

Featured Ingredients:

  • Allagash White Belgian-Style Wheat Beer, 6 pack/12 oz. Bottles, $11.99+CRV
  • Oliver’s Own Gourmet Burger Patties, Selected Varieties, $7.99/lb.
  • Skyhill Farms Feta Slices, 6 oz. Package, $8.99/ea.

Check out the full recipe for this pairing here!


  • Oliver’s Own Black Pepper Burger
  • Mitica Drunken Goat Cheese
  • Iron Ox Brewing Plow Pilsner









Tasting Notes: “This is a seamless transition from sweet to savory and back to sweet. The savoriness of the Toma cheese compliments the sweetness in the black pepper burgers while the pilsner rounded out the sweet and savory flavors of the wine-soaked cheese and teriyaki style burger. A crushable combination great for a hot summer day.” – Jenny Elmer, Windsor Meat Department Manager

Featured Ingredients:

  • Iron Ox Brewing Plow Pilsner, 4 pack/16 oz. Cans, $9.99+CRV, LOCAL
  • Oliver’s Own Gourmet Burger Patties, Selected Varieties, $7.99/lb.
  • Mitica Drunken Goat Cheese, $17.99/lb.

Check out the full recipe for this pairing here!


  • Portabella Mushroom Burger
  • Central Coast Creamery Holey Cow and
  • North Coast Brewing Le Merle Saison









Tasting Notes: “The Holey Cow creates an unholy alliance with a grilled portabella mushroom and a bright springtime beer. This unassuming combination of flavors make for a great pairing that any vegetarian (or meat eater) would love. Perfect combination for lunch on a warm spring day.” – Jenny Elmer, Windsor Meat Department Manager

Featured Ingredients:

  • North Coast Brewing Le Merle Saison, 4 pack/12 oz. Bottle, $8.99+CRV
  • Organic Portabella Mushrooms, Grown by Farmer’s Fresh in Canada, $5.99/lb.
  • Central Coast Creamery Holey Cow, $15.99/lb.

Check out the full recipe for this pairing here!

Burger Season Checklist

In addition to these four amazing pairings, our buying team has lined up some great deals on everything you need for the coming grilling season, so check out this list and see what else you want to pick up this week at Oliver’s. (Pro Tip: If you have not tried our Baked Potato Salad, this is your week to do so!)

  • St Pierre Hamburger Buns, Plain or Seeded, 7-8.8 oz. Package, $4.99
  • Organic Hot House Tomatoes, Grown by Magic Sun in Mexico, $1.99/lb.
  • Italian Sweet Red Onions, Grown by Pam Pak in Mexico, $1.69/lb.
  • Lazzari Mesquite Charcoal, 6.7 lb. Bag, $6.49
  • Heinz Ketchup, Easy Squeeze 20 oz. Bottle, $2.99
  • French’s Yellow Mustard, 14 oz. Bottle, $1.59
  • Kinder’s BBQ Sauce, Selected Varieties, 15.3-15.5 oz. Bottle, $2.79
  • Kettle Brand Potato Chips, Selected Varieties, 5 oz. Bag, 2 for $5
  • Woodstock Organic Pickles, 24 oz. Jar, $3.99
  • Ojai Cook Organic Mayonnaise, 16 oz. Jar, $3.29
  • Oliver’s Own Baked Potato Salad, $7.99/lb.
  • Oliver’s Own Coleslaw, $3.99/lb.

Useful Tips

How do you make the most of your Oliver’s Own Burger purchase? We have the recommended cooking instructions here. And what about a Portobello Burger? How exactly do you prepare the one featured here? Wonder no more: click here for the recipe! Looking for a unique topper for your burger? Break away from traditional raw or grilled onions and consider using green onions – check out this recipe for Grilled Green Onions. Don’t forget other sides and sweets to take your patio party to the next level! This Creamy Cucumber Salad would be the perfect side to enjoy with your lamb burger. These Grilled Potatoes are a fun alternative to fries, and oh-so-good sprinkled with parmesan cheese and fresh herbs. Impress your guests with these Blueberry Lemon Popsicles – sure to please kids and adults alike!

Cheers to the coming season of delicious grilling, cool beverages, and warm evenings ahead!


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  1. Wow, that Portobello/Gorgonzola sounds great!

    Comment by Keith Rhinehart on May 17, 2023 at 11:48 am

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