Burgersmith Ale

2010 October 11
by Dave
Burgersmith Ale

After a couple swallows of the head

Ever since I spent some time in Baton Rouge and had a “House Beer” at a little place called Schlittz & Giggles, I’ve been fascinated by the concept. Most of the time when a restaurant features house drinks, it means it’s dirty, not so good, but cheap and will get the job done. Think about it. House margaritas, House wine by the glass. They’re the cheap alternative made with lesser ingredients for people who just don’t care, people like me.

Well, when it comes to Burgersmith Ale, featured at The Burgersmith, a local fast casual burger place that also has a nice repertoire of beers, this is simply not the case. Brewed by Louisiana brewery Heiner Brau (brewer of fine other house beers for Zea’s), this great, lighter ale stands up to any of the other microbrews on tap.

It is in fact so light and crisp, that it might be easy to think that they took some high end lager and re-branded it as an Ale for marketing purposes. But that distinct malty, meatyness gave it away from the first sip. I was quite surprised by the carbonation it. It had a large, creamy head on it, and was overall quite fizzy. It had tiny bubbles that tickled my nose.

It was very inoffensive, delicate in all respects. It was thin, almost to the point of a continental lager, but not watery in the same way. It had a bit of a sweetness to it which I liked. It was sweet, but not in a wheat beer kind of way.

Bugersmith Ale

Don't you just love the way the light catches it?

I believe that this beer is important for two reasons, and they sort of go hand in hand.

The first reason is the availability of alcohol. Now, I’m not saying that hooch should be everywhere. I don’t like the idea of walking into a McDonalds and ordering a margarita. There is a time and a place for everything. But there are also times and places when I really want a drink. Eating a good burger is one of them. I like the fact that I can go into a burger joint that isn’t Chili’s or Applebee’s and have nice cold beer with my food. There is something comforting about that. I think more places should offer at least a few beers, even if we’re just talking Miller Lite.

More so, I’d like to see more draft beers in places like this. I think that was what impressed me the most. This, to me, says that they aren’t just interested in making the extra buck with a couple coolers of beer. They really care about the customers enough to offer good, and interesting, draft beer choices. It made me smile inside.

The second reason I think this beer is important is because it’s a specialty house beer. I’m surprised that a small establishment such as this is one of the early ones to get into this game. I would have though the big bar-and-grill players would have jumped on this idea years ago. I don’t really think I’ve ever seen any sort of house beer at a T.G.I. Fridays. Is it more work? Yes. Any eatery with a bar attached can make a house cocktail using cheap liquor, but I think it says something about a place when they’ve gone through the trouble to source a brew just for themselves.

Now, I’m not also not saying that every burger joint should turn into a brew-pub. Too many choices, too little focus on the food, tasting notes that make your head spin. That’s a bad model for everyone to move to. But it would be nice if more establishments rolled out the house beer welcome wagon and ushered in a new movement in eating out.

Burgersmith Ale

Good to the last drop.

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