There is this notion that great food can only be found in obscure tiny hole in the wall places that everyone thinks is their own little secret because most people don't bother to go in and give them a try. And while this does ring somewhat true, it does not mean you cannot find a superb burger sitting in a regular old restaurant. Now restaurants can get a little redundant. Everyone seems to basically have the same generic menus with an overly enthusiastic staff which borders on creepy. You know these places; they are the ones with all the goofy shit on the wall. ("Shenanigans!" Super Troopers reference, anyone?) The Big Bear Brewing Company is anything but generic. Now this may not have been my first time trying this place, but it was my first time ordering one of their burgers.
There was definitely something on the menu for everybody. It all looked good, but for me it was time for a burger. I decided to go with the Cheddar Chipotle Burger with fries and I paired that with a Kodiac Belgian Dubbel as the menu suggested. The waiter brought me out a sample first to try it as he explained, "People either love it or they hate it". I loved it. I took the sample shot and had him bring me out a draft. I liked the menu's description: "2002 Great American Beer Festival Gold Medal winner. A rich, full bodied belgian abbey ale. It has wonderful aromas of cloves, banana and underlying flavors of flum and raisins as a result of the authentic belgian ingredients we use." (WTF is flum???) About 15 or so minutes later the food arrived.
The plate was pretty. Burger, fries, pickle spear. "BIG BEAR" was branded into their bun, an increasingly common trend I see going around these days. I tried the fries first. They impressed me. Served really hot and crispy, not one damn soggy fry in the batch. Good start. A little palate cleansing with the pickle spear and it was time to try the burger. Yes, yes, impressed on the first bite; a very good sign. I looked at the patty; medium-rare - achieved, grill marks - present, taste - freaking delicious! The burger just made sense. All the ingredients worked together. The spinach and tomato were amazingly complimentary. The balsamic onion was delish and helped cut the fat of the burger nicely. The chipotle ketchup was not necessary, but welcomed as it provided some zing to the meal. The sesame Kaiser bun oozed out burger grease which collected on the plate like a tasty pond of flavor. The bun bottom did get soaked from the moisture of the beef and the spinach, but I really could have cared less. It was too good for me to have got finicky over that. Perfection was in the imperfection.
Give this place a try!
Cheddar Chipotle Burger
8 oz. burger with Vermont white cheddar cheese, chipotle ketchup, balsamic onions, spinach and tomato Burger Total: $12.00 (comes with fries) Burger Boi Rating (BBR) = 8.40