Decemburger: Flying Saucer
First came 50 Burgers, 50 Days. Then Novemburger. 2011 wraps up with a burger a day for Decemburger.
Day 12: Flying Saucer
815 W. 47th St. in the Triangle. 454-8200, www.beerknurd.com/stores/austin.
Hours: 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. Monday-Wednesday. 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Thursday-Saturday. Noon to midnight Sunday.
By Mike Sutter | Fed Man Walking | 12.12.11
Monday’s a good night (and day) for the Flying Saucer, because a fair spread of the tap wall is just $3, which means I can go all foreign and domestic with a glass of Kostritzer black beer from Germany and a pint of pale gold Ranger Creek OPA from San Antonio. My two-brew lunch will be our little secret. The Saucer is part of a chain, which isn’t always a bad thing, because that buying power can put 60 taps on the wall and pay for seats inside and out for you and more than 100 of your friends. Judging from the dozens of plates in the “Ring of Honor” along the ceiling, the locals have embraced this beer-and-grill. It takes 200 beers to earn a plate, and you get to add something personal. “New Years, blacked out. Woke up on the railroad tracks. Top that.” Way to go, Nate.
The burger: Here’s one of those times when paying attention can really pay off. You’re in a beer bar, and one thing the Saucer does well is to put together meat-and-cheese trays that play nice with beer. That means they have good cheese on hand: Cotswold, whiskey cheddar, even Humboldt Fog, that big American cheese with power like a blue and the coy creamy texture of chevre. For $1 extra, you can skip the American or Swiss that comes with the Saucer Burger ($7.99) and go straight for one those specialty cheeses. Put Humboldt Fog together with a half-pound of medium-rare Angus and you have more than a cheeseburger. You have a burger with character and depth and the power to pair with the easy dryness of the Ranger Creek oatmeal pale ale and the crazy quilt of anise, prune and toffee Kostritzer brings to the table. The fluffy sweetness of a kolache-style bun is a wild card, one that works better with the OPA’s bitter hops and a factor that might influence the beer you order. Try the drier Austin profiles of Thirsty Planet Buckethead IPA, Circle Blur hefeweizen or even Real Ale’s Firemans #4.
Fries or rings? A choice of potato is built into the burger price: fries or hot German potato salad. Pay attention again and let the Germanic beer tradition take hold. That potato salad brings ham and herb and starchy bites of sliced spud. The fries bring only images of the drive-through. You know what to do.
(Photos by Mike Sutter © Fed Man Walking)