7/08/2013 12:30:00 PM

The Best Thing We Ate This Weekend: Burger at Dryhop

Burgers are the one-hit-wonders of the food scene. A burger can have nothing to do with the overall concept or cuisine of a restaurant, but put a good burger on the menu and the place is set. A good burger, like a good single, requires thought. It must be catchy, have a good beat or meat, and compete with others on the market. So when we heard that the burger at DryHop Brewers is climbing its way to the top of the charts, we had to try it.

Chef Pete Repak makes his burger with a blend of naturally raised brisket and short rib. The juicy meat is packed with flavor, a necessary characteristic to stand up to the array of aromatic toppings. First, it sits on a sweet and smoky chile-tomato jam. Then, it is covered in aged raw milk cheddar – a rich and creamy cheese. This is adorned with arugula and pickled sweet onions. An optional addition of hickory-smoked bacon is offered. But seriously, bacon is never an option; it’s a requirement.

In our humble opinion, good burgers shine in their simplicity: well-cooked meat on a soft bun with minimal toppings. This is not the case with DryHop’s burger. Rather, it is remarkable in its complexity. The chile-tomato sauce, which soaks into the bottom bun, contrasts against the bright pickled onions. It may read like the burger patty itself is an afterthought to these sophisticated toppings. No, it is the glue, the baseline, that ties the flavors together.

When ordering such an overpowering burger, be careful with the beer pairings. DryHop’s portfolio of in-house brews is very hops-forward. But this burger requires something more refreshing, like the Batch 001, a semi-sweet "pre-Prohibition cream ale and steam beer hybrid." Trust us, between the burger and side of beef fat fries seasoned with hops salt and served with garlic parmesan aioli and house-made dragon sauce, this dish needs little more than a glass of water and a napkin to enjoy.

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