My quest for the best burger in the City of Pittsburgh took me to the Rock Bottom Restaurant and Brewery in the Waterfront…
Before I stepped foot into Rock Bottom, I assumed that it was a hokey T.G.I. Friday’s style family-feed-bag chain restaurant. This was a gross misconception. Although Rock Bottom follows the traditional corporate structure of a chain restaurant, and the majority of their food may be fashioned by a cookie cutter for the lowest common denominator, their beer, on-site crafted and brewed at each of their individual locations, is gosh darn fantastic. It is totally off the charts, bro! So despite the fact that the burger at Rock Bottom was not very impressive, and the Objective Burger Score was significantly poor, I would strongly recommend stopping by Rock Bottom to sit at their extra cool Ice Bar, and sampling the beer. In Fact, Rock Bottom is one of the few places in Pittsburgh, that I am aware of, that currently features a cask beer system. If you have never tried a cask beer, I insist that you stop what you are doing presently, go to Rock Bottom (or in the alternative, Church Brew Works) and sample an amazingly textured, unfathomably mouth-watering beer from cask.
The burger at Rock Bottom was unsatisfactory. It was served well done, despite being ordered medium rare, and the texture was dry and chewy. The flavor of the meat was also extremely salty. The highlight of the burger was the blue cheese, strong and delicious, it combined well with the crispy onion straws to create wonderful texture and flavor contrast. The bun was toasted and tasted good, but did not stand up to the girth of the burger, and by the end of the meal, it had fallen apart. I have to report, the service was excellent, and despite the over crowding of the restaurant and the huge wait, our waitress was second to none. I think in the future, at Rock Bottom, I will stick to Nacho’s and Beer.
Cask Beer is a rarity in Pittsburgh, and I believe that is because it has limited exposure and is not part of common bar knowledge.
I believe that if we can raise our community’s cask awareness, that might generate some demand, and just maybe create an increase in supply of local cask beer. Cask beer starts with the same brewing process as bottled or keg beer. At fermentation, when kegs and bottles are typically used, cask beer would be sealed up in a cask, and treated a bit differently. When served, it is pumped directly from the cask by gravity and hand pump, instead of Co2 and Hollywood magic. The result is an outstanding texture and consistency, silky smooth and slightly thicker than a common tap or bottled ale, coupled with crisp and unique flavor.
Cask beer is delicious, spread the word, better yet, go to rock bottom and order one for yourself.
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Official Burger Sheet
|Pitts-Burgers||5.5||Great Beer Place, Average Burger Place|
By Andrew Capone