“What a chimera then is man! What a novelty! What a monster, what a chaos, what a contradiction, what a prodigy! Judge of all things, feeble earthworm, depository of truth, a sink of uncertainty and error, the glory and the shame of the universe.”
– Blaise Pascal
- Buttermilk fried frizzled red onions
- Poblano corn relish
- Herbed goat cheese
- Cholula lemon vinaigrette
- 10oz. beef patty
- Pretzel bun
Part goat, part snake, part burger, and dedicated to a band from the American doom scene, the Goatsnake is a heavy metal chimera, and one of Kuma’s Corner‘s most iconic offerings. This burger surprises with a complex, bold combination of chopped vegetables and emulsions, resulting in a very aromatic, slightly astringent dish with a kickpunch of acidity. Like in several other Kuma’s burgers, the Goatsnake incorporates frizzled onions, though this time they are fried in buttermilk, which gives them a slight hint of the tart sourness and acidity found in, say, yogurt. Nice and greasy, the frizzled onions really give a lot of surface and texture to the burger, while also holding together some of the looser ingredients, especially if you’re bold enough to eat your burgers upside down. Just like me. I found the poblano corn relish to be also very good. The sweet morsels of corn and the faint spiciness from the fresh poblano were like a sneaky way of delivering a small serving of vegetables in a very finely chopped form, which really sinks in the herbed goat cheese. Still can’t put my finger on the “herbs“, but just like the Valkyrie burger‘s herbed cream cheese, it really brought some of the ingredients together by dialing down the greasiness of the frizzled onions, and cranking up the buttermilk flavor with its richness. The winner here, however, is the
Bob Saget Cholula lemon vinaigrette. The additional mix of spicy chili peppers found in the hot sauce, mixed with the very vibrant, citric notes of lemon quickly take over and dominate the field. The vinaigrette is not necessarily hot, though its mildness flirts with the poblano relish in a frank, but casual manner and the acidity of the vinaigrette hides the creamy richness of the goat cheese very well. The Goatsnake really does a fine job of representing a bunch of flavors. It has a citric tartness to it, but the greasy, slightly earthy red onions and sweet corn do prevail at some point.. if only to succumb to the mild heat of of the various chilis. While it may sound like a disastrous and schizophrenic ordeal (for what else would such a chimeric monstrosity be?), the Goatsnake’s duality is thrilling, bold and definitely worth telling the tale of its devouring to your grandchildren.
Given the complex tug o’ war between the Goatsnake’s flavors, the range of beers that would be a good pairing is quite… wide. The choice is yours depending on whether you want to enhance the two milder flavors (sweet, spicy), or if you want to compliment the more dominant tart acidity. Would you rather bite the dust by being trampled by a hoof or taste the snake’s venom?
Sweet: If you choose to experiment with the sweetness of the corn, pair the Goatsnake with a variety of German specialty types of Dormunder and Kölsch lagers. Hefeweizen wheat beers will also enhance the sweet notes, while also pairing well with the acidity. I started with one of my favorites: Two Brothers Brewing Company Ebel’s Weiss Beer Hefeweizen [4.90% ABV], which is a light, cloudy beer which, typical to its breed, offers a nice mix of soothing clove and banana in the nose. The rest is somewhat spicy, a little tart, and yeasty. This is definitely a great beer to start the day and prepare your palate for the Goatsnake – it’s just tart enough to offer you an edge against this monstrosity, while also complimenting the sweet corn in the relish. For the actual consumption of the burger I had Great Lakes Brewing Co. Great Lakes Dortmunder Gold Dortmunder/Export Lager [5.90% ABV] (that’s… a mouthful), which is less wishy-washy when it comes to its purpose. The rich maltness makes the corn shine without distracting you with much else. This is definitely a single-minded lager, which cuts the acidity a bit in favor of the sweeter notes. Barely noticeable floral notes in the aroma and the aftertaste, like the heavier lingering scent of chrysanthemum and wild carnations. Just a bit.
Spicy(+Sweet): Red Rye IPA’s and other red ryle-related amber/rye ales should do the trick with their caramel notes and crisp, spicy finish due to rye malts. Founders Brewing Company Founders Red’s Rye IPA Rye Beer [6.60% ABV] is a good example which should be readily available at Kuma’s most of the time. It’s malty and sweet enough to enhance the sweet corn, while also fanning out the fire of the chilis. It’s also hoppy enough to cut through the vinaigrette and grease AND also improve the quality of fire in your mouth.
Tart/Citric Acidity: Special mention goes to (again!) to Off Color Brewing Troublesome Gose/Wheat Beer [4.50% ABV]. Hazy, straw-colored beer brewed with coriander and salt, with a creamy, full mouthfeel. It manages to be salty, sour and citrusy at the same time, thus really achieving a taste of its own. Its salty characteristic is nice, because it lingers as you wash down the flavor of whatever it is you’re eating, so when you get back to eating your palate is prepared for the next bite. It’s refreshing without diluting the flavor, which is why it goes so well with the acidity of Goatsnake’s buttermilk fried frizzled onions and Cholula lemon vinaigrette. Plus, the subtle coriander notes play extremely well with whatever herbs are in the cheese.
5 Rabbit Cerveceria 5 Lizard Witbier [4.30% ABV] is also another excellent pairing, though it focuses solely on the citrus flavors of the Goatsnake. It offers the typical medium body and hazy, yellow-hued look of a wheat beer, while also packing a serious citrus punch matched only by the burger’s vinaigrette. Passion fruit pulp added to the beer is gives it that tropical, exotic flavor, but the addition of lime peel is that which shines the brightest. If you really want to capitalize on the taste of lemon, then look no further.