Oaked Arrogant Bastard Ale and Charlie’s Grind and Grill
I was introduced to Charlie’s as a freshman in law school, and now, in my senior year and living literally three blocks away, I’ve been patronizing their original Kapitolyo branch more frequently. This entry has actually bobbed around my drafts for months, and it was only after another visit that I decided to finally get to writing everything down.
The first time I tried their Black Angus burger, I felt like Jason Segel’s Marshall Eriksen in How I Met Your Mother – I had discovered the perfect burger, and after that, no other will do. Sadly, however, there has been a bit of a drop off in terms of the quality of Charlie’s burger, but I’d still rate it as one of the best, especially for its price.
What used to be an over-sized patty overflowing with juices seems to have shrunk. The bun was tough and chewy, perhaps from absorbing too much of the meat’s juice. Nevertheless, this still was a satisfying burger. I ordered a side of fries with black truffle oil, black truffle salt and chicken liver. Again, this was disappointing, as the livers were overcooked – tough, bitter and nowhere near as creamy and rich as I would prefer. The hints of truffle were definitely overwhelmed by the liver.
Luckily, the Oaked Arrogant Bastard Ale was there for the rescue. It’s aggressive combination of caramel malts immediately followed by bracing hop bitterness was truly palate cleansing. I’m sure this wasn’t the dynamic Sang Yoon had in mind when recommending this pairing, but in this case, the in-your-face flavors that Stone Brewing is known for were very much welcome. I may have been worthy for the Bastard, but it appears that the truffle fries and the burger were not.
A much better pairing was one I sampled much earlier. I was supposed to write this back when this blog was still in its infancy, but I just never got around to doing it. The Bastard fared much better with Charlie’s sliders and their regular, thick-cut fries. Sliders are a distinct portion of the burger family. Some even argue that they technically aren’t burgers in the first place, and especially not mere mini-burgers. Sliders are ideally steamed with cheese and sauteed onions on the griddle. I don’t know if this was the exact method Charlie’s used, but the end result is pretty damn good.
The toast potato bun was pillowy-soft and squishy – ideal for a greasy burger. I do wish there was a slightly more substantial patty and more onions, but otherwise, this was perfect. The beer also fared much better with the sliders as the combination of strong flavors was more complimentary than contrasting. I’ve learned my lesson now. Having the choice between a regular burger and three sliders, I’ll always go for the latter.
For those looking to try the Arrogant Bastard, or better yet, it’s badass older brother, the Double Bastard, the latter beer will be released in a few weeks time by Global Beer Exchange here in the Philippines. Add them on Facebook to find out when.