100 Austin Burgers: North by Northwest

North by Northwest
5701 W. Slaughter Lane, Austin (map), 512-301-6969, www.nxnwbrew.com
Hours: 11am-10pm Sun-Thu; 11am-11pm Fri-Sat
More locations: 10010 Capital of Texas Highway (map)
By Mike Sutter | © Fed Man Walking | 05.09.16
North by Northwest is a place to have lunch on a bad day at the office, because a good pint of real craft beer can can really sand down the rough edges. NXNW brews its own, and in great variety, to go with a restaurant menu that could stand on its own, from grilled duck to a pork chop porterhouse to a burger that plays first-class wingman to all that good beer.
 Angus Beef Burger: I showed up at NXNW South pre-sold on the burger, because my first one at the Stonelake location was tall and juicy and a real value at lunch for less than $10 with fries. The Slaughter location carries the burger banner just as high, with appropriately fatty beef that carries a medium-rare sear with grace. Lettuce, tomato, pickle and onion arrive on the side, the better to appreciate a Hunstman’s mix of blue and cheddar cheeses and a crusty kaiser roll. I added bacon for 75 cents, in a long, sweet, smoky braid. Best appreciated with mayo and NXNW’s really good ketchup. ($9.95, plus 75 cents for bacon)
 On the side: Their idea of beer batter onion rings and my idea of beer batter are different things. Mine would coat the ring like a smooth tempura. Theirs is as knobby and sharp as Cap’N Crunch. I can’t detect the Duckabish Amber beer at their hearts, but these rings score where it counts: hot, crisp, and big as bangle bracelets. They’re $6.99 a basket, or they’ll sub them for fries with your burger. Fries come from a bag here, but they’re rendered in clean oil for bright potato flavor and dusted with parmesan.
 Wash it down: Beer is at least half the reason we come to NXNW, right? Good luck choosing: They pour a dozen or more house-made beers on any given day, half from the Stonelake mothership and half from Slaughter. The piney Py Jingo pale is my favorite from Stonelake, but Slaughter’s Red Zeppelin is a powerful co-captain. It’s malty, with a dry hop nudge at the end to keep things from going all PDA sweet. Try it on nitro for a cream-in-your-coffee experience. A sampler of six short pours is just $5.50, and other top choices include a playful witbier called N2Wit and a light-bodied crowd-pleaser called Star View, which my beer-qualified server helpfully compared to Firemans #4.
100 Austin Burgers
(Photos by Mike Sutter © Fed Man Walking)