beer: narragansett summer ale

Ryan Hudak of In Search of Beer is back to review Narragansett’s summer ale.

This summer, I’ve been trying to do three things: run at least four times a week, try to avoid leaving air conditioning at all costs, and explore lighter, more refreshing summer beers. While I’ve been having mild success with the first two (they don’t really go hand-in-hand, after all), I’ve been able to make a lot of headway on the third item. Oddly enough, one of my discoveries came as I was blatantly ignoring #2 on my list and camping.

The Narragansett Summer Ale, from Rhode Island, is a light, crisp and clean blonde ale that doesn’t overwhelm in any sense. It’s 4.2% ABV allows you to “refresh” yourself multiple times throughout the day while the citra hops lend the flavor of grapefruit and citrus. These flavors blend perfectly with the pale malts to give you a laid back and refreshing beer that’s not only highly drinkable, but highly affordable ($26.99 for a case of 18-oz cans).

When the weather has been such that you break a sweat just opening the front door to get your mail, the last thing you want to be drinking is anything that reminds you of thick chocolate milk or bitter hop syrup. Keep it light and keep the alcohol low and you’ll have a much better time than if you were sitting in the sun drinking a 14% barleywine—trust me, I’ve already made that mistake this year.

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the industry – the industry burger

The Industry, the new industry dedicated restaurant/bar by the folks who own Good Dog Bar, has been open for almost a month now in Pennsport. The menu features several delicious sounding items, but what brought me there Monday was The Industry Burger. More particularly, on Mondays, they have a special titled, Burger & Bubbles. The deal is you get The Industry Burger paired with either the “Dive Bar” option, a bottle of Miller High Life, or the “Fine Dining” option, a glass of sparkling Cava.

The Industry Burger is a 1/4 lb. patty made from ground brisket topped with Cabot cheddar, lettuce, tomato, red onion, and pickle mayo. It’s served on a sesame seed bun and accompanied with Kennebec shoestring fries and a side of ketchup. You have the option of having a single, double, or triple burger, as well as adding Nueske’s slab bacon.

You’re not asked how you want it cooked, they take care of that. The thin, 1/4 lb. patty was cooked perfectly to medium-rare! The cheddar was melty, sharp, and complimented the burger well. The red onions weren’t overwhelming. I think some places give you way too many and they gave you a perfect amount here. The burger was delicious. The fries are insanely good. They’re perfectly salty and addictive in that “fast-food” French fry way.

The bun is a little thick, so next time I may get a double to get the vertical meat to bread ratio a little closer. Yup, I just said that…

Here’s my dining partner‘s “Fine Dining” Industry Burger paired with a glass of sparkling Cava:

The beer list is great, the cocktails tasted good (I tried some of my friend’s), and the burger is absolutely delicious. I will surely be coming back to The Industry.

The Industry Bar
1401 E Moyamensing Ave.
Philadelphia, PA 19147

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burger, tap & shake

During my DC trip, I stayed in the Foggy Bottom area. Just a couple blocks away was Burger, Tap & Shake, a burger joint with a good tap list, milkshakes, and even a handful of breakfast burgers.

My family and I were so close that we decided to have brunch at Burger, Tap & Shake. By the time we arrived, I got myself hyped for their Five Buck Chuck breakfast burger consisting of a pork sausage patty, egg, and American cheese. Unfortunately, they were out of pork sausage so I had to go with Plan B, The Big Daddy. The Big Daddy consisted of an 8 oz., 3-day aged blend of Pineland Farms brisket & chuck topped with Benton’s bacon, buttermilk blue cheese, Lea & Perrins mushrooms, and AP sauce (a house sauce made up of mayo, ketchup, mustard, BBQ, and chipotle) on a housemade bun (all of the burgers are served on em).

I ordered the burger medium-rare and it was more medium-well. The ingredients all sounded awesome, but on the burger it just didn’t seem to be there. I was expecting a flavor bomb and got much less. Aside from the medium-well burger, it did have a nice slightly charred, grilled taste. Benton’s bacon is awesome. Bacon in general is awesome, as is pork belly. The problem I had with the bacon on the burger is that it was small, 1/4″ thick pieces of bacon. There is nothing wrong with this except when it is on a burger. The thickness of the bacon made it tough to bite through the burger. I ended up pulling pieces of the bacon completely out with each bite. It also could have benefited from more AP sauce. (I noticed there was more AP sauce available on my way out at the napkin/condiment station.)

The others ordered different breakfast burgers. I was able to try a little bit of each. There was the Skinny High Thigh (turkey sausage, egg whites, American cheese), El Camino (chorizo sausage, black beans, egg, pepper jack cheese, a spicy XXX sauce), and Mont Tremblant (Canadian bacon, egg, maple Fromage Blanc). I thought the breakfast burgers were better than the Big Daddy. The housemade buns tasted great, just a little too soft for my liking.

I really wanted to like this place. They have a great beer list, a custom aged blend of beef with several burger options, tasty house-cut fries, and delicious milkshakes.

Burger, Tap & Shake
2200 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20037

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the boilermaker – cheeseburger

Last week, I was invited to try some food and drink at The Boilermaker. The bar has a short menu consisting of small bites, sides, sandwiches, and rotisserie chicken. The beer selection, however, is quite the opposite. The downstairs bar features 28 non-local beers on tap. The upstairs bar has 12 local beers on tap. In addition to the beers, they serve boiler makers! Many of you are familiar the Citywide, consisting of a 16 oz. PBR and a shot of whiskey. That is offered here, too, as well as other beer and shot pairings.

It’s not surprising that I tried the Cheeseburger. The Boilermaker’s burger comes on a toasted brioche bun and is made up of two 4 oz. patties (cooked medium-rare), American cheese, and malt sauce. It’s accompanied by hand-cut fries, a spicy pickle, and a side of ketchup.

Despite the top and bottom burgers being cooked to different temperatures (top – medium-rare; bottom – medium), they were both juicy and delicious. The toasted bun offered a nice contrasting texture to each bite. It’s a simple burger without much additions; it definitely didn’t need any. The Yukon Gold hand-cut fries are pretty good and make sure you ask for a side of truffled creme fraiche!

ps. Their weekday happy hour from 4-6 features half priced drafts! I may have to add this into the rotation.

The Boilermaker
216 S 11th St.
Philadelphia, PA 19107

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appalachian brewing company – switchback burger

I was stuck in Harrisburg in need of a place to watch multiple NHL playoff games while having dinner and a beer. Multiple people suggested I check out Appalachian Brewing Company and sit at the bar. Without many other options, me and my friend checked it out.

To start off, I had the Trail Blaze Brown Ale and a Brewer’s Cheddar Ale Soup, which was made from their Water Gap Wheat Ale. I also gave into the urges to have another burger on my trip. They offered four different kinds and I went with their “Best Burger Grill Off” winning one, the Switchback Burger.

The Switchback Burger is made up of an 8 oz. Angus beef patty topped with lettuce, tomato, red onion, pickles, provolone, capicola, bacon, caramelized onions, and BBQ sauce (made from their house root beer). It’s sandwiched between a brioche roll and served with house made chips.

This burger was huge. It was easily one of the tallest burgers I’ve had in a long time. The burger was cooked to a slight medium and wasn’t as juicy as I’d hoped. Luckily, the toppings tasted so good that it made the burger quite enjoyable. The house made chips were pretty good, too. The burger went down nicely with a glass of their Hoppy Trails IPA.

I had a great time here. The bartender was really friendly, and she already had all the TVs at the bar tuned into hockey! I’m sure no trip out to Harrisburg in the future will be without a visit to Appalachian Brewing Company.

Appalachian Brewing Company
50 N Cameron St.
Harrisburg, PA 17101

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