“Humankind cannot gain anything without first giving something in return. To obtain, something of equal value must be lost. That is Alchemy’s First Law of Equivalent Exchange. In those days, we really believed that to be the world’s one, and only, truth. But the world isn’t perfect, and the law is incomplete. Equivalent Exchange does not encompass everything that goes on here, but I still chose to believe in its principle: that all things do come at a price, that there’s an end and a way, that the pain we worked through did have a reward, and that anyone who’s determined and perseveres will get something of value in return, even if it’s not what they’re expecting.”
– Alphonse Elric, “Full Metal Alchemist”
- Aged cheddar cheese
- Giardiniera mayonnaise
- Bread and butter pickles
- 9oz. beef patty
- Brioche bun
On a day of cityslickin’ and bar-hopping with my honey I decided that it was finally time to pay the evil geniuses over at Forbidden Root Brewing a visit. Naturally, it was time for botany in bottles and bright and early we beat the late brunch crowds and started day-drinking. Like you do. Now, our crazy, spontaneous bar-hopping took us from Forbidden Root to the fearful symmetry of Kaiser Tiger for some smooth velvety stouts, then to the Haymarket Pub & Brewery, market our territory at Lone Wolf Tavern and finished strong at Fadó Irish Pub for some Ól, Ceol, Bia agus Craic. Lots of stuff to be said, but we’re here to talk about Forbidden Fruit, so off we go…
I don’t know what happens behind the closed doors of Forbidden Fruit, though in my dreams it is a place where determination and industrialization epitomized by a small flock of haemonculi squeeze out the life out of baby-looking roots and botanicals. Delicious, delicious baby-looking roots and botanicals. I may or may not be right, though one thing’s fer sure – the entire place is magical, and you don’t even need to drink their potent botanical elixirs to figure it out. Take their sole and humble 8oz. Burger, for example. Many places would kill (and have killed) to have a pub staple like Forbidden Root’s, and the truth is that the 8oz. Burger is so great because it has been crafted by the union of leylines crisscrossing America’s Midwestern Heartland, and it shows. True to brewery’s motto, this burger taps into the underground. The strong, almost chthonic-like sharpness of the aged cheddar cheese from America’s Dairyland teases with a greasy nuttiness, followed by a refreshing crunch of onions (because this is Chicago damn it, it’s in our namesake, it’s in our… roots!), and then the vinegary bite of bread and butter pickles for that distant sweet, red pepper note. Sure, that’s enough for a perfectly quaint little burger, but this wouldn’t be a true Midwestern masterpiece without some Chicago-style giardiniera mayonnaise innit, would it? And we ain’t talking ’bout no weak giardiniera-flavored aioli or a spicy lite mayo, no sir. 8oz. Burger packs a punch with rich mayonnaise infused to the brim with chopped up giardiniera goodness. The relish-mayo combo’s red peppers elevate the pickles, and carrots and sliced n’ diced sport peppers add even more crunch and plenty of heat which is then balanced by the mayonnaise foundation. The body of the mayo actually does a great job containing all the vinegary components of the giardiniera, pickles and even the tangy acidity of the aged cheddar, and the final product has this great, lingering sensation of, well, a heartwarming hug. All of this on top of a well-seasoned patty and a pillowy brioche bun results in a pretty good goshdarned burger that would do quite well as Ms. Chicago in a Burger Pageant. It probably would win the “Most Likely To Replace Hot Cocoa” reward… and the hearts and minds of all the attendees from all the other inferior cities.
Oh, oh, and the French fries were a bit like McDonald’s fries but better. Crispy, salty, sinful.
Right. Forbidden Root does this thing where they have all kinds of crazy botanical beers infused with herbs, fruits, and all kinds of things that are good for you. Like I said, it’s like an alchemist’s lab inside a gin distillery. Draw some pentagrams, grind some herbs, says some words, and BAM! = beer. Or something like that. I’ll let you know more about the process when I eventually get my degree in Fermentation Science.
With this particular pairing, I really wanted to open up my palate and create a nice foundation for all the creamy, zesty and spicy notes of the burger to flourish in, and I don’t know about you, but a rye ale is definitely the style to go for.
Second, I grabbed a Forbidden Root Money On My Rind Witbier [5.00% ABV] for that pleasant plume of steam when you dip a red hot sword fresh from the anvil into a barrel of cold water. I love (some) gin, and I knew that a witbier would have the perfect body to help me decelerate. Just like a slightly bubbly gin, Money On My Rind has a light but creamy body with a good blend of juicy juniper notes and tangy grapefruit, and it’s yet another unusual beer with a dry, citrusy finish. Easy to drink and easy on the eyes, this beer has my favorite saison quality to it, and I quite enjoyed sipping on it with the lingering aftertaste of the 8oz. Burger stoking the juniper berries into a small bursts of brilliant light. Definitely a style that’s incresing in popularity and this gin-centric eccentricity is worth drinking again and again.