Review: Strong buzz for Charlie's Beer Burger

By Vladimir Bunoan,

Posted at Jul 18 2012 08:37 PM | Updated as of Jul 20 2012 01:52 AM

Charlie's San Miguel Beer Burger

MANILA, Philippines – Beer and burgers make a classic combination but chef Robby Goco took this a step further when he used the country’s most popular brew in creating a rather unusual burger.

Facebook users were abuzz on Tuesday when an e-flyer from Goco’s burger joint Charlie’s Grind and Grill touting its “beer burger” went viral on the popular social networking site.

For several years now, Charlie’s has been drawing raves for serving one of the best burgers in town, helping spawn numerous upscale burger joints to offer a high-end alternative to the usual fast-food chains.

It also helped that Charlie’s has an out-of-the-way location (in Barangay Kapitolyo in Pasig City) and even sits beside a shop offering carwash and auto detailing services.

But despite this humble address, Charlie’s is definitely no mere hole in the wall. The burgers are made from either Wagyu beef or USDA choice or select Black Angus beef. The menu also include clam chowders, American-style hotdogs, salads and desserts like keylime pie. It even serves Beringer wines from California’s Napa Valley and American craft beer.

The San Miguel Beer Burger comes with your choice of Black Angus or Wagyu beef and is typical of Charlie’s – a fat burger cooked medium with still pinkish parts and topped with cheddar cheese, caramelized onions, large strips of home-made bacon, raw onion rings, a slice of juicy tomato and beer-braised mushrooms.

I ordered the Black Angus, which at P320, is just slightly less expensive than the Wagyu burger at P350.

The beer, in this case San Miguel Pale Pilsen, was used to create the barbecue sauce, which is served separately. No, the sauce doesn’t taste like beer as it has a more pronounced sweet yet smoky flavor. However, it does have a faint aftertaste of beer that helps cut through some of the sweetness.

Beer, this time San Miguel Cerveza Negra, was also used for the bun. I’m not sure if this is done in-house but the beer bread, which had a nice dark brown color, was delicious. Normally, beer bread can be a bit dense but this one is very soft. Maybe too soft such that eating the burger can be a very messy affair, considering the packed beef patty and all those toppings.

Verdict? I’d still prefer Charlie’s Burger with Gorgonzola but I’d love to buy the beer bread.

More beer

Charlie’s also has another dish that uses beer in the preparation: Beer-battered Fish and Chips.

Charlie's Beer-Battered Fish and Chips

This turned out to be a monster serving of fish and chips. The dory, battered in Cerveza Negra, which explains the darker color, was one huge piece, and placed on a mound of delicious skin-on French fries. The fish had a nice crispy batter that contrasts with the soft meat of the fish but after finishing the burger, this may be too much.

Going home, I actually felt a very light buzz even if I paired the burger with a root beer float. (I like the presentation of this one: They serve a tall parfait glass filled with several scoops of vanilla ice cream and a can of Mug root beer.)

Eat-all-you-can pancakes

Since we’re on the topic of Charlie’s, we might as well talk about another favorite item of mine. With the many eat-all-you-can offerings in numerous restaurants, Charlie’s came out with their own promo – this time, for breakfast.

Charlie's Breakfast Platter

Offered daily starting at 7 a.m. is Charlie’s eat-all-you-can pancakes as part of the breakfast platter. Diners can eat as much pancakes as they can in addition to eggs (scrambled or sunny side-up), potatoes (hash browns or skillet potatoes) and a choice of sage sausage, home-made bacon or ham. Plus bottomless coffee. (You can also order a la carte.)

Charlie’s is located at 16 East Capitol Drive, Brgy. Kapitolyo, Pasig City. It has another branch at the Ronac Art Center, Ortigas Avenue, Greenhills, San Juan City.