Killer Pairing #1
Meatloaf ($6) with Northgate Brewing Wall’s End
The loaf is achingly tender, made from pork, beef, and bison, and mixed the same way by the same prep cook every day for the last eleven years. “Talk about a staple of the Sample Room,” says Knudsen. “That’s Alberto, been here since day one. He’s the meatloaf guy. He’s got that touch. I can’t make it like him.”
The slab of meatloaf gets a crispy exterior from a short stint on the flat top griddle. It’s drizzled with a house-made smoked ketchup that once caused Bourdain to comment: “You make your own ketchup, what are you f—ing crazy?” If ketchup like this (thick and balanced, not too sweet) is crazy, we don’t want to be sane.
Killer Pairing #2
The Bottineau Burger ($12) with Fulton Sweet Child of Vine
It should be well known by now that a truly great burger begins (and largely ends) with great meat. At the Sample Room, it’s grass-fed, ground in-house, and griddled to a perfect medium-rare. It would be a fine burger if it stopped there. Instead, it’s topped with a beautiful slab of crispy pork belly confit, a tuft of tangy fried onions and a biting mustard aioli.
For a beer pairing, what else to cut all that richness and match the acids but the neighborhood’s finest hoppy IPA? Even if you don’t get the burger, get a side of fries. Before leaving, Hausmann convinced the ownership to finally outfit the kitchen with a deep fryer. The fries make you wonder how they ever got along without one.
John Garland also writes about beer and food for the Heavy Table