RED FANG II
Burger of the Month at Kuma’s Corner for February, 2014
- Onion rings battered in Cane and Ebel
- Housemade jalapeño beer cheese
- Bourbon BBQ sauce
- 10 oz. Beef patty
- Pretzel bun
There are two very good reasons why you’ll never fall victim to the dreadful “there’s-a-fly-in-my-soup” cliche over at Kuma’s Corner. First – there are no friggin’ soups, because soups are not metal, much to the dismay of toothless Meth addicts. Second – no fly would ever make it in an atmosphere with such heavy metal-laden sound waves. There are, however, stranger complaints to be made. Consider February’s BOTM named after Portland’s heavy metal and stoner rock band Red Fang, which, in a stroke of genius, has the 10 oz. beef patty bedecked with housemade jalapeño beer cheese and then topped by two large, drenched in bourbon BBQ sauce onion rings battered in the sinful wackiness of Two Brothers Brewing Co.’s Cane and Ebel Hopped-up Red Rye Ale [7.0% ABV]. With that being said, It wouldn’t be completely out of the ordinary for someone looking at the crimson sauce spurting out of two 1.5” diameter holes of onion rings to exclaim “Waitress, I think a sabre-toothed cat has taken a bite out of my burger!“. Humor me for a bit. In such a situation I imagine the waitress inspecting the “puncture wound” and giving the individual the following two answers: The cryptic, “Yes, you are right, I know a giant pussy when I see one!“, or the significantly more technical, “Actually, by looking at the “Red Fang” cover, the number of premolars, their distribution on the mandible, and the dirk-shaped bite marks, it is quite easy to identify the perpetrator as a machairodont felid of the Smilodon genus. Also, you’re a giant pussy.”
Additionally, if you don’t like metal you might make the grave mistake of confusing the onion rings for punctured ear drums. Shame on you for doing that.
And now that that’s settled, one can finally enjoy the crunchy, tangy dedication to the PBR-chuggin’, beer-destroying members of “Red Fang” – a burger so succulent and juicy at medium rarity, yet clearly possessed by the spirit of deep-fried carnival food saved from being impaled on a stick at the last second. No frills, no exotic ingredients or combinations that will make you tilt and scratch your head. Red Fang II is just a very simple, flavorful pub-style burger with the jalapeño beer cheese definitely stealing the thunder here, giving “Red Fang” that primal-scratching satisfaction we all crave. I didn’t find the burger to be too spicy, thought there was definitely a bit of sweetness coming from the combination of the saccharine in the bourbon BBQ sauce and the leftover hints of fruitiness and sweetness of the Thai Palm Sugar that the Cane and Ebel beer has been brewed with. Additionally, due to the lack of too many complex flavors, the sweetness of the pretzel bun is also loud and clear. I could actually see myself eating a couple of these during a long night of alcohol consumption and would pay a moderate amount of money to see a Slider Burger/Burger Bites variant with (obviously) a smaller beef patty and maybe a single onion ring. Being able to devour a mini-version of the Red Fang II, slam a beer and then repeat would be glorious.
I am usually not an appetizer kind of guy, but as soon as I glanced at the short list of appetizers available, I almost immediately asked my friend Kevin to split an order of Fried Japaleño Poppers! At $12 for 6 it sounds pricey, and it is, but as soon as you try this you’ll be utterly flabbergasted. OUTRAGEOUS Fried Japaleño Poppers appetizer, which delivers a half a dozen of Panko-breaded peppers stuffed with cream cheese AND chorizo, offered with a spicy jalapeño raspberry jam dip! It’s so good, it’s evil, it’s subtle and lethal. The extra bit of hot stuff and jalapeño goodness play along just fine with the Red Fang II’s cheese and the sweet combination of the chorize and cream cheese filling, plus the jam simply perfects the rest. If you possess enough self-control and resist the temptation of devouring these as you wait for your burger, you should try eating them in between the giant bites you’ll be taking.
Red Fang II was created in collaboration with Dryhop Brewers brewery and kitchen and the Illinois Craft Brewers Guild as the first wave of a three month long celebration called Metal Beers & Burgers, where burgers and beers are released monthly as a carefully crafted pairing. Kuma’s Corner’s Red Fang II burger was February’s Burger of the Month and was paired with the DryHop Brewers Reverse Thunder Imperial Red Ale [8.0% ABV], named after a song from Red Fang’s opus eponymous album. Now, I didn’t get a chance to try the Reverse Thunder with its intended burger because I had it on February 1st and the beer was not available for sale until the 6th, but I did manage to order a week or so later with a different burger. I can’t realistically speak about my the experience of pairing the burger with the beer, but I do have a decent memory, especially when it comes to good flavors, so I reckon they meshed pretty well. True to the name of the band and the type of ale, Reverse Thunder was a pleasantly red, malty ale with a tint of barley in the color and a hint of caramel in the body of the beer but not too much, and the rest, of course, was the plaything of a series of hops giving this potent beverage a nice, hoppy.. well.. everything. Kind of piney. The alcohol definitely snuck up on me on the ride home even with a nice greasy burger [in that case, the One Day Only Veilburner]…. which is always a good thing! Overall, with the hint of caramel I dare say it was a nice All American beer fit for an All American burger and a great palate cleanser to boot! Something about it reminds me of the Three Floyds Brewing Co. & Brewpub Alpha King American Pale Ale [7.0% ABV] all hopped up on steroids, though I’m probably wrong because it’s totally a different kind of brew with totally different hops in the mix. I guess I’ll miss Reverse Thunder when it’s gone. I tried ordering one a week ago and they were out. Hopefully a bunch of people got to try it!
As far as actual pairing experience goes, I decided to play it safe that day and went for Two Brothers Brewing Co.’s Cane and Ebel Hopped-up Red Rye Ale [7.0% ABV], which is another red concoction that I know well and love even more. It supplemented whatever flavor was left in the batter after burninatin’ the majority of the alcohol in the cooking process and it’s, well, a great beer overall and superbly balanced. It’s easy to drink, easy to enjoy and good for what the Red Fang II brought to the table and the slightly sour, spicy hints of the rye ale really worked for me, especially when it came to the jalapeño beer cheese, which is why the chef at Kuma’s probably used this beer in the batter of the onion rings. Obvious, I know.
Dessert Pairings: There are no “desserts” at Kuma’s Corner, but given that this a Smilodon-influenced burger, why not have the Mastodon burger for dessert?
Nah, you should definitely go for it. Then tell me allll about it.