A Sneaky Good Burger at the Matador in Ballard

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You wouldn’t think that a restaurant that is known for Mexican food and strong tequila drinks would have a good burger, but it sure does.

The Matador, with four locations in the Seattle area, does a burger that is large and tastes delicious. The burger is comprised of the following: 1/2 lb. patty, Monterey jack, bacon, pickled red onion, roasted jalapeño, seasoned lettuce, tomato, cilantro-garlic mayo.

Having had this burger now twice, at two different locations, I can assure you it is delicious no matter where you decide to indulge in this treat. The sauce can be a little messy at  times, but the other toppings blend nicely above the patty, creating a mouth-watering aroma. With every bite you crave it a little more, and are extremely happy about the size of the burger, even if you first were surprised by it’s eye-popping size.

This just goes to prove that good burgers can come from anywhere.

Where’s a place that you found a good burger that you wouldn’t expect? Comment below to respond.

I would rank this a 4-star burger. Great taste, cooked perfectly, and nice fixings.

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For You Beer Photographers

You do it, we do it, most everyone does it at this point. People love to take pictures of whatever they’re currently drinking, as long as it isn’t something embarrassing like a Coors Light or Milwaukee’s Best. Even Untappd, everyone’s favorite beer based smartphone app, has now introduced some Instagram-like functions for when you “check-in” your beer.

Here to help you become the best beer photographer you can be is Draft Magazine. They have put together some tips from Dale Swanson (Instagram: @Brewtographer) on How to Beerstagram Better and you can put them into use starting this weekend:

1. “You get a lot of shots of pint glasses when you shoot in bars, so be mindful of the background to put the beer into context. I’m notorious for taking time to move napkins and straws out of the way to get the tap handles in view for a better composition.”

2. “Instead of cropping photos square, I shoot directly with Instagram. Be sure to check the Instagram option that saves photos to your image file as soon as it snaps.”

3. “The only two filters I use are Lo-fi and black and white.”

4. “I don’t ever use a flash. I use the SnapSeed editing app, which gives you a lot of control over brightness, color and saturation. Also, use the HDR feature on your camera; it gives you an average of the lighting that evens your photos out. Instagram’s sun button is the Instagram HDR, which also works OK.”

5. “Tag the location! I actually ask servers if the bar has an Instagram account to tag, and they don’t mind because it’s free publicity for them.”

So break out those smartphones and let’s see what you’ve got! And don’t forget to follow us on Instagram: @burgersbrewssea and on Untappd: EmeraldCityBurgersAndBrews to stay up to date on what we’re drinking.

Cheers!

Two Breweries in South Park for Your Friday Night

This Friday evening we’ll be headed south to say hello to a new brewery, Lowercase Brewing, and welcome back to another friend, Burdick Brewery.

Lowercase Brewing is the newest addition to South Park, the next brewing community sprouting up in the Seattle area. They will open their doors to the public for the first time Friday night at 6PM. We’re really looking forward to checking it out.

We’re also excited to have Burdick Brewery reopening (at 330PM) after some renovations and an extended brewing session. This new brewery’s excellent beer has been in high demand and they’ve worked up a few treats for everyone to try this week, including a whisky barrel aged red ale, stout, and IPA. If you haven’t been to Burdick yet then you’re really missing out, but hopefully that can be remedied Friday night.

See you all there. Cheers!

Go for Gold at The Winter Beer Olymipics at The Pine Box

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Didn’t qualify for the games in Sochi? That’s okay! You can still live your dream tomorrow evening at The Pine Box by competing in the Winter Beer Olympics. And let’s be serious, you’re probably better suited to this form of athletic competition anyhow. 

Firestone Walker, Oskar Blues, & Hales Ales host the first ever Pine Box Winter Olympics! There will be great beers available from each brewery. Throw one back and then compete in Pine Box versions of four Classic Winter Olympic Events. Bring your team of 3 to compete or simply go to view the spectacle. Team Registration is at 6pm.

Events will include:
Nordictrack Biathlon
Freestyle Skiing
Iceless Curling
Ding Dong Hockey

Beers on Tap:
Firestone Walker
2013 Sucaba Barleywine
Wookey Jack
Union Jack

Oskar Blues
White Buffalo West Coast IPA
Icy Wheat IPA

Hales Ales
Cask Super Goose
Un-blended Bourbon Barrel Aged Barleywine

So break out your sweetest head band and the gym clothes that haven’t quite fit you right since your high school, junior varsity, glory days and go be the athletic superstar you (and only you) know yourself to be!

*Please ensure to properly stretch so as not to suffer any devastating drinking injuries.

Winter Beer Fest is Coming

Winter is coming, and this Friday and Saturday (Dec. 6-7th) is the Winter Beer Festival. This year’s festival will be moving from its past location at Hale’s Palladium to its new spot at Hangar 30 in Magnuson Park (in the Sand Point neighborhood). This year’s festival will be home to more breweries than any previous year and approximately 1,000 winter beer lovers at each session. While there will be more people at each session than ever before there will be plenty of beer to go around.

Winter Beer Fest

The list of breweries (and their hometowns) for the event includes:

  • 7 Seas Brewing Gig Harbor
  • Airways Brewing Kent
  • American Brewing Edmonds
  • Anacortes Brewery Anacortes
  • Bainbridge Island Brewing Bainbridge
  • Bellevue Brewing Bellevue
  • Big Al Brewing Seattle
  • Big Time Seattle
  • Black Raven Brewing Redmond
  • Boundary Bay Brewery Bellingham
  • Brickyard Brewing Woodinville
  • Chuckanut Brewery Bellingham
  • Der Blokken Bremerton
  • Diamond Knot Craft Brewing Mukilteo
  • Dick’s Brewing Centralia
  • Duvall Springs Brewing Duvall
  • Elliott Bay Brewing Burien
  • Elysian Brewing Seattle
  • Fish Brewing Olympia
  • Foggy Noggin Bothell
  • Fremont Brewing Seattle
  • Georgetown Brewing Seattle
  • Hale’s Ales Seattle
  • Harmon Brewing Tacoma
  • Hi-Fi Brewing Redmond
  • Iron Horse Brewery Ellensburg
  • Issaquah Brewhouse Issaquah
  • Kulshan Brewing Co. Bellingham
  • Laht Neppur Brewing Waitsburg
  • Machine House Brewery Seattle
  • Maritime Pacific Brewing Seattle
  • McMenamin’s Seattle
  • Naked City Brewery Seattle
  • New Belgium Brewing Seattle
  • No-Li Brewhouse Spokane
  • Odin Brewing Seattle
  • Old Schoolhouse Brewery Winthrop
  • Paradise Creek Brewery Pullman
  • Pike Brewing Seattle
  • Ram Restaurant & Brewery Seattle
  • Rainy Daze Brewing Poulsbo
  • Redhook Brewery Woodinville
  • Reuben’s Brews Seattle
  • Schooner EXACT Brewing Seattle
  • Silver City Brewery Bremerton
  • Snipes Mountain Brewing Sunnyside
  • Sound Brewery Poulsbo
  • Stoup Brewing Seattle
  • Strong Arm Brewing Renton
  • Two Beers Brewing Seattle
  • Urban Family Brewing Seattle
  • Valholl Brewing Poulsbo

For a complete list of what each brewery will be serving click here.

There will also be food options from:

Event specifics including dates, location, and ticket info is listed below:

Dates:
Friday, December 6th, 2013
5:00 pm to 9:00 pm

Saturday, December 7th, 2013
1st Session: Noon-4pm
2nd Session: 5:30pm-9:30pm

Location:
Hangar 30
Warren G. Magnuson Park
7400 Sand Point Way NE
Seattle, WA 98115

Admission:
Advance tickets now available at Brown Paper Tickets.
$25 advance/$30 at the door

Includes a tasting glass and six 5oz. beer tastes. (WABL members get 10 tastes).
Additional tokens will be $1.50 apiece.
Designated driver admission will be available at the door for $5.

Keep an eye out for White Walkers. Cheers!

Big Wood – Brouwer’s Wood Aged Beerfest

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Brouwer’s Wood Aged Beerfest titled “Big Wood” starts this Thursday (Dec. 5) and goes through the weekend. Brouwer’s hosts a number of festivals throughout the year in Fremont but this may be our favorite. As the name wood (intentional barrel aged pun) imply this is a celebration of all things wood aged. From stouts to sours, they will have a large selection from which to choose. And if you’re hungry, there aren’t many better places for food in the Seattle area. We recommend the lamb burger, which we reviewed here (from their sister restaurant, Burgundian).

The beer list will be as follows:

  • Alaskan Rough Trade Barrel Aged Smoked Porter
  • Allagash Curieux #1409
  • Alameda Barrel Aged RIS Nitro
  • Almanac Barrel Noir
  • American Stupid Sexy Flander
  • Anacortes Dubbel Bourbon Critters
  • Avery Samael’s Oak Aged
  • Ballast Point Victory at Sea Rum Barrel Aged
  • Ballast Point Barrel Aged Sea Monster
  • Big Al Jupiter’s Blood Sour
  • Big Sky Four Roses Barrel aged Old Bluehair.
  • Big Time Sour Trombipulator Belgian Tripple
  • Black Raven Cognac Barrel Aged Birdbrain Barleywine
  • Black Raven Gunsmoke Porter Nitro
  • Bokor Cuvee Des Jocobins
  • Boneyard  Barrel Aged Suge Knight
  • Boulevard Rye on Rye
  • Boulder Mortimer
  • Breakside  Rye Barrel Aged Fresh Hop IPA
  • Cascade Barrel Aged Karma Citra Cide
  • Cascade Sang Noir
  • Cascade Vlad the Imp Aler
  • Deschutes Black Butte XXIV.
  • Dogfish Head Burton Baton
  • Double Mountain  Experiment 16 IRA
  • Elysian Dry Fly Aged Split Shot
  • Epic Big Bad Baptist
  • Finn River High West Rye Barrel Aged Cider
  • Firestone Hat Trick Sour
  • Flyers Barrel Aged Brouwers 8
  • Fort George Roses on Roses
  • Fremont Vanilla B Bomb
  • Fremont Old Bridgerider Barleywine
  • Great Divide Oak Aged Yeti ’12
  • Logsdon Cerusus
  • Lost Abbey Deliverance ’12
  • Lost Abbey Angel’s Share ’13
  • Mad Viking Cognac Imperial Stout
  • Midnight Sun Berserker ‘13
  • Midnight Sun/Black Raven BEAK
  • New Belgium La Folie ’13
  • North Sound Sucellus BBL Porter
  • Pike Entite ’13
  • Schooner Exact Imperial Bourbon Barrel Aged Porter
  • Snipes Mountain Terror ’13
  • Sound Brewing  G’Indescretion (Gin Barrel Aged)
  • Speakeasy Syndicate #1
  • Stone Vertical Epic 09.09.09 aged in Red Wine Barrels
  • Stone Vertical Epic 10.10.10 aged in Bourbon Barrels
  • Surly Misanthrope
  • Surly Pentagram
  • The Bruery Bottleworks XII ’13
  • Uncommon Oaked Porter

So get your game plan set because a number of these will go fast. And if you feel overwhelmed when you get there just ask any of their friendly and knowledgeable staff for advice, they’re always ready with a suggestion.

Thanks for reading. Cheers!

Beer and Brats with Burdick Brewery

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This Friday break out of your Thanksgiving turkey coma with our new friends at Burdick Brewery. Starting at 3PM their taps will be flowing and they’ll be serving up some brats cooked up in their Belma Pale Ale. This is one delicious brew so we recommend grabbing a pint to go along with your food.

We recently made our first trip down to South Park to visit Burdick and absolutely loved what they had to offer. Their Stout, IPA, Mild, and Belma Pale were all very well crafted brews. We’ll be reviewing those soon but wanted to make sure you don’t miss out on a fun event over your holiday weekend.

So if you need something to get you going after all that turkey, or maybe you need to wind down because you’re one of those Black Friday shopping warriors, we recommend a stop at Burdick Brewery for a brat and a pint (or a few of each).

Happy Thanksgiving!

First Time Having The Li’l Woody from Li’l Woody’s

I had been hearing about Li’l Woody’s for a while now but as I don’t get over to Capitol Hill all that often I hadn’t yet gotten around to trying any of their burgers (menu here). Lucky for me, with all their success in Capitol Hill, they eventually opened up a location in Ballard (much closer to me and plenty of local breweries). So a little over a month ago I finally made my way over there with another member of our Emerald City Burger and Brew Crew.

20131026_152109We got there pretty much right after they opened for the day and made our way up to the counter. The person that greeted us was extremely kind as she put up with our indecisiveness; the menu had so many tasty looking options. However, we ultimately opted to start with the basics. I grabbed a 1/4 lb. Li’l Woody for myself while my buddy grabbed the 1/3 lb. Big Woody (which he’ll be reviewing soon).

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Having gotten there so early we had our choice of table. We grabbed a spot anwaited for our order to come up, all under the watchful eye of Li’l Woody himself. Our order was out pretty quickly and we hurriedly grabbed it and got back to our seats in order to finally give their burgers a try. 

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The Li’l Woody, which I got with fries, is a ¼ lb. burger with Tillamook Cheddar Cheese, chopped onions, pickles, ketchup and mayo. I opted to skip the onions however, I’ve never been a big fan of chopped onions and I didn’t want to ruin this experience with their inclusion. The bun was a pretty standard brioche that was lightly toasted, which is my preference. I like for the bun to have a little bit of crunch and this one did. I really dug the chopped pickles, this was actually my first time having them that way on a burger. They didn’t go to heavy on the ketchup and mayo, another preference of mine. I tend to prefer that the chef errs on the light side and I can add more later if I want. The Tillamook Cheddar is a personal favorite of mine.

Now, on to the important part, the burger patty itself. Li’l Woody’s uses hand formed Painted Hills Natural Beef. Painted Hills supplies some of the best beef there is to work with for a burger, so it was no surprise how tasty it was. The meat was nice and juicy and not too well done, which isn’t always easy with a smaller patty. That being said, as a 1/4 lb. burger and the smaller of the two options available at Li’l Woody’s, it was gone pretty quickly. I can’t say that I ate with any more voracity than normal, it was just a pretty small burger. Even with the fries I ordered I was still left fairly hungry. I thought about ordering another but balked at the $4.50 price tag (burger only, no fries) for a burger of its size. If it wasn’t for the quality of the meat and the genuinely good taste I probably would have been disappointed.

The major drawback for me was the size of the burger. I’m a very average sized guy and I’m far from gluttonous when I eat. A good size burger and fries can leave me feeling full for hours, but this just didn’t cut it. If I was judging solely based on taste I have to say this basic burger was very good. However, I probably won’t order it ever again. I’m looking forward to trying some different things off their menu, especially The New Mexican (hatch green chilies and queso sauce, yum!). All in all I was left feeling pleased with my first experience at Li’l Woody’s (albeit a li’l hungry as well). The Li’l Woody weighs in at a respectable 3-stars.

Burger 3 Star

Thanks for reading. Stay hungry!

Movembeer at Hi-Fi Brewing

Put down your razors! Hi-Fi Brewing in Redmond will be holding a Movembeer Celebration this Saturday, kicking off at 4pm and running to 8pm. Festivities will include a mustache contest, sausages from A Happy Hot Dog, and the release of two new winter seasonals. Prizes will be awarded for both the best and the worst mustache.

The two seasonal releases are titled Little Czar and Gingerbread Boy. Hi-Fi Brewing describes these two new winter releases as follows:

Little Czar has made brief appearances in the taproom before, as a limited-release cask beer. Now we are bringing into the draught lineup, where it will stay for as long as it lasts. We like to call the Little Czar a Russian “seshperial” stout. Like a traditional Russian Imperial Stout, it’s a little bit licorice and a little bit chocolate and a lot of flavor. Unlike the traditional style, it won’t knock your block off with alcohol. Alcohol: 6.4% ABV, bitterness: 50 IBU

Gingerbread Boy tastes a bit like its namesake. It features a little bit of ginger, nutmeg, and cinnamon in the aroma and initial flavor–followed by a nice dry, roasty, chocolaty finish. Its opaque black color pairs well with our grey winter skies, and its combination of chocolate and spices makes it a great beer to sip while you watch the rain fall outside. Alcohol: 5.9% ABV, bitterness: 38 IBU

So get your handlebar ‘stache ready for the judges and go enjoy yourself a pint of some newly released brew.

Coffee Beer Fest at The Burgundian Today!

Two of the best types of brew are coming together today at The Burgundian for their Coffee Beer Festival. They’ll be serving up over 20 taps of tasty beer infused with coffee goodness for your enjoyment.

On tap will be:

  • ABC Espresso Maple Porter w/Stumptown Hair Bender (5.5%) CASK @3pm
  • Big Time Lollipop Weizenbock w/Stumptown (7%)
  • Boneyard Bourbon Barrel Backbone w/Backporch Coffee Cold Press (5.5%)
  • Emelisse Imperial Espresso Stout w/blend of Arabica/Robusta form Italy (10%)
  • Epic Ales Turkish Coffee w/Najjar Turkish Coffee (4.1%)
  • Evil Twin Imperial Biscotti Break w/Charleston Roasters Espresso Blend (8.4%)
  • Fort George Java the Hop IPA w/Coava Kochere Espresso
  • Fremont Coffee Kentucky Dark Star w/Tony’s Espresso Noir (11%)
  • Fremont Infused Wheat w/Tony’s Café Carmelita and Cinnamon (4.5%)
  • Humboldt Nectar Black Xantus Imperial Java Stout w/Jobella Coffee (11%)
  • Laughing Dog Anubis Imperial Coffee Porter 2012 w/Evans Brothers Cold Press Sumatra (9%)
  • Local Option Morning Wood BBN Amber w/Dark Matter El Salvador (7.3%)
  • New Belgium Cascara Quad w/ Cascara (10%)
  • Naked City Clouds in my Head Coffee Cream Ale w/Herkimer El Salvador (5%)
  • Ninkasi Vanilla Otis Oatmeal Stout w/Stumptown Cold Brew house Blend (7.2%)
  • No-Li Wrecking Ball Imperial Stout w/Gemmeli Sumatran Roast (9.5%)
  • Oakshire Ill Tempered Goat w/Wandering Goat Mexican Ciapas (6.7%)
  • Oakshire Goatshed IPA w/Wandering Goat Mexican Ciapas (6.8%)
  • Ram Sheepless in Seattle Black IPA w/David Lenard House Blend (7.5%)
  • Silver City Fat Bastard Scotch Ale w/Kona Medium Roast (9.2%)
  • Southern Tier Mokah 2012 w/Blue Mountain Coffee (10.6%)
  • Stone RIS Odd Year Espresso Bean w/Ryan Bros. (11%)

In addition to the brews they’ll also be serving up a few coffee inspired dishes for you to try:

  • Beer Braised Brisket, coffee bourbon glaze, yam waffle, sunny side up egg
  • Coffee rubbed burger, coffee chocolate BBQ sauce, coffee carmelized onion, cheddar
  • Pork belly with coffee beer glaze, blooming spring onion
  • Coffee ice cream sandwich with chocolate cookie
  • Cauliflower gratin, coffee beer béchamel, gruyere
  • Hop honey granola with coffee yogurt and mixed fruit

So stop by The Burgundian in Tangletown to try some of these unique brews and their delicious food.