Beer and burgers – they were made to go together, but Brouwer’s brought things to a whole new level with their Beer And Burger Battle, which took place last Tuesday 5/14, during Seattle Beer Week 2013. This epic gastronomic showdown pitted five different breweries against each other in a winner take all battle for beer and burger glory. Last year’s defending champ, 21st Amendment Brewery, took on challengers: Big Time Brewery & Alehouse, Snipes Mountain Brewing, Double Mountain Brewery & Taproom, Maui Brewing Company and Green Flash Brewing Company.
Each brewery was tasked with designing a unique burger that would entice the judging public, as well as providing a sampling of their beers that they felt would best pair with their burger offering. All burgers used the same patty, but the breweries were free to chose their own bun and any toppings they desired. The overall winner was selected by sales. This was the lineup:
21st Amendment Brewery – “The Birthday Suit”:
Horseradish cheddar, Pancetta, Lower de Boom caramelized onions, bread and butter pickle chips, Back in Black beer mustard aioli, Kobe bun ($12.50).
- 5 South Pale Ale
- MCA Session Stout
- Tripps IPA
Big Time Brewery & Alehouse – “The Big Time Breakfast”:
Coffee dry rubbed burger, maple-bacon jam, fried duck egg, Vermont x-sharp white cheddar, aioli, Texas Toast bun ($13.00).
- Bhagwan’s Best IPA
- Coffee Porter
- Icculus IPA
- Millennium Falconer Pale
- Trombipulator Belgian Tripel
Snipes Mountain Brewing – “Beast From the East”:
Cougar gold white cheddar, cottage bacon, pickled hop shoots, Snipes Pale BBQ sauce, Kobe bun ($13.50).
- Buckaroo SIPA
- Darkstrong Barrel-aged Flanders Black
- Bos Borrachos Mexican Helles Lager
- Terror in the Wood (aged in Red Wine Barrels)
Double Mountain Brewery & Taproom – “Oregon Umami”:
Pancetta from Olympic Provisions, “foitella” spread from Xocolatl de David, Picklopolis garlic dill pickles, Rogue Creamery smoky blue, caramelized onions, Kobe bun ($13.00).
- Black Irish Death Dry Irish Stout
- Black Famine Belgian Quad
- Dirty Deeds 6th Anniversary Ale
- Molten Lava Imperial IPA
- Pale Death Strong Belgian Style Imperial IPA
- Vaporizer Pale Ale (on Cask)
Maui Brewing Company – “Loco Moco”:
Coconut porter gravy, pineapple and pork belly fried rice, kalua pork, caramelized onion, butter leaf lettuce, fried egg, Hawaiian sweet roll bun ($14.50).
- Aloha B’ak’tun Belgian Imperial Stout
- Barrel-Aged Red Cock Doppel Bock
- Shifting Winds Belgian IIPA
- Wee Heavy Scotch Ale
Green Flash Brewing Company – “Voodoo Hamburguesa”:
Crawfish and pepper jack deconstructed Chile relleno, more pepper jack cheese, fried egg, jalapeño pepper relish, Cajun aioli, Kobe bun ($14.50).
- Imperial IPA
- Imperial Red Rye
- Serrano Chili Double Stout
- Belgian Trippel
- West Coast IPA
There was quite a bit of diversity and creativity from this year’s offerings. Each brewery brought something unique and distinctive and I wanted to try every burger on the list, but knew I couldn’t handle six burgers. As a compromise, a split a few burgers with a few friends and was able to try at least three of the choices from above. The three burger and beer pairings I had were:
- The Big Time Breakfast from Big Time Brewery & Alehouse, paired with Big Time’s Icculus IPA
- Voodoo Hamburguesa from Green Flash Brewing Company, paired with West Coast IPA
- Beast From the East from Snipes Mountain Brewing, paired with Darkstrong Barrel-Aged Flanders Black
My favorite of the three, which was also the winner from this year’s Beer And Burger Battle, was The Big Time Breakfast from Big Time Brewery & Alehouse paired with Big Time’s Icculus IPA. The home-made maple-bacon jam head brewer, Drew Cluley, home-made himself and the fried duck egg really helped put this one over the top. The choice of Texas Toast as a bun also made this one a standout.
My next favorite, which was also a close second for the winner, was the Voodoo Hamgurguesa from Green Flash Brewing Company. This burger took two of my favorite types of cuisine: Cajun and Mexican, and fused them together perfectly in a burger that had a deliciously complex and unique flavor. Juicy burger patty? Check. Crawfish? OMG yes – and check! Chile relleno? Deconstructed (which worked quite well)? Check. This is a combination I never would have dreamed up myself, and it worked amazingly well. The voting was quite close and Big Time barely edged this one out to take the title away from 21st Amendment.
The Beast From the East burger from Snipes Mountain Brewing was a bit of a disappointment. While the flavor of the hop shoots came though well. It was similar to just having pickles on the burger. That plus the Snipes Pale BBQ sauce and cottage bacon just weren’t enough to make this burger jump out at me. In fact, I found it a bit on the dry side (perhaps it needed a bit more BBQ sauce).
This was really a fun event, but you had to make sure you came hungry (the sharing strategy worked well for those wanting to try more than one option). Also, with the winner being decided by overall sales rather than a post-meal vote, it’s difficult to know how many people truly enjoyed the burger they ordered, or if they would have preferred one of the other entries more. Either way, it was a really fun way to spend a day enjoying some great beers and some delicious burgers. I’ll be back next year.
Drink responsibly and stay safe out there.