This past Saturday, the PGA National Resort hosted its third-annual Craft Beer Festival & Burger Bash, showcasing the works of local restaurants in a competition to see who will be crowned the King of Burgers.
Burgers pair great with beer, especially craft beer, of which there was a decent mix of American craft and imports available at the festival. From Founders, with its appropriate-for-the-afternoon All-Day IPA, to Terrapin, with a peach-infused farmhouse ale called Maggie, the selections were spot-on for an outdoor afternoon fest.
See also: Ten Best Burgers in Palm Beach County
Some other highlights in the beer department were the imperial black IPA Dubhe from Utah's Uinta Brewing, The Illinois double IPA from Goose Island, and the Homemade Apple Pie cider from Cigar City Cider and Mead. Like I mentioned, there was a fair mix of craft, including the massive Brown Distributing refrigerated tractor-trailer that held all of the local brews from Due South Brewing, Native Brewing, Cigar City Brewing, Funky Buddha Brewery, and Saltwater Brewery, among others. The best part was that these were all under one of the two massive tents, providing a reprise from the afternoon sun.
Walking around the event, you'd have been inundated with the aromas, and smoke, of grilling meat. For $45 a person, it was easy to get your fill of well made and average burgers, some with an interesting take on the idea of what constitutes a hamburger. Three Forks came with a mix topped with a slice of salami and green aioli. Aah Loi Thai & Sushi produced a bunless patty, formed of a 70:30 mix of lean to fat including pork fat, topped with caramelized red onions and accompanied by steamed rice. Juicy and delicious.
Personally, I was a big fan of Burger Bar's creation, an Angus beef patty topped with pulled pork, bourbon barbecue sauce, cole slaw, white cheddar and onion crispers which hit everything right in what a burger should be: meaty, salty, lots of umami, and succulent. It's key to have the right lean to fat ratio in your meat, and I feel they stepped up to the mark and knocked it out of the park.
For the third time in a row, making it a hat trick for the competition portion of this bash, Chuck Burger Joint came out on top as the best burger of the festival, and having recently snagged the #3 spot in our Ten Best Burgers in Palm Beach County list last month, it's not surprising.
Beyond the heat, at least the weather held up for the afternoon, with no rain to be had. Having to park in a business center and taking a shuttle bus back and forth was a surprise, and something to keep in mind for timing next year. Unsurprisingly the rest of PGA continues to operate as normal, even during a burger and beer festival. Finally, we ran into only the odd festivalgoer who over indulged. Ain't nobody got time for that.
*Correction, I indicated Lanna Thai when it was Aah Loi Thai and Sushi.
Doug Fairall is a craft beer blogger who focuses on Florida beers and has been a homebrewer since 2010. For beer things in your Twitter feed, follow him @DougFairall and find the latest beer pics on Instagram.
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