Amstel has corrupted me. Normally, I go out and do “Hot Dog Stories,” but every once in a while, I break out of the encased meat genre and venture into other foods. This is especially true when FREE BEER is involved. I received an email from the nice people at Amstel last week inviting me to the Boston Burger Breakdown at the Beehive in Boston.
The Beehive has a funky, old school nightclub feel to it. There’s a stage with little tables littered around it where patrons can listen to jazz while munching on anything from oysters on the half shell to steaks and just about everything in between. It has a chic but grungy feel to it; it’s in the old boiler room of the Calderwood Pavillion at the Boston Center for the Arts on Tremont Street- as evidenced by the remains of an old coal chute above the entrance to the main dining area. The bar area is set above the dining area and has plenty of room to mingle and sit. Acoustics were good, and the place was packed. I’d like to go back for a good band and some short rib and fontina grilled cheese some night, if I can drag Mrs. HDM with me, that is.
ALL About the Burgers
The night was all about beer and burgers: Amstel Wheat and gourmet burgers by Jaimie Bissonnette and Wil Gilson. Amstel was promoting their new wheat ale, which I found satisfying. I am not normally a wheat ale guy but the Amstel Wheat, much like their signature light beer, was clean and crisp, not too “wheaty” (as one of the Amstel models proclaimed).
Bissonnette and Gilson were chatting up their restaurants, and Bissonnette was messing with Gilson! The two local chefs are friends, and, in Boston anyway, that means they have an unlimited license to seriously mess with each other! Jaimie was telling patrons (myself included) he was Wil, and then people were calling Wil “Jaimie.” Wil was perturbed, Jaimie was filled with an evil, yet good-natured glee.
Their mischievous goofing didn’t stop them from banging out some seriously tasty burgers. These weren’t flat top grease patties, they were big, HONKING burgers with well thought out, gourmet toppings. The Amstel Wheat Turkey Burgers featured green curry, kewpe mayo, and a mango slaw. The flavors made you forget it was a turkey burger! It paired well with the Wheat Ale.
The Amstel Light Beef Burger was topped with a charred onion mayo, turnip kimchi, and arugula. Also very good- seriously, where do they come up with this stuff? This aint your father’s hamburger!
The star of the evening was the Lamb-burger. This burger featured ground lamb infused with cumin, coriander, cinnamon, all-spice, and garlic. It was topped with Greek yogurt, goat milk feta cheese, mint, basil, za’atar (whatever the hell THAT is), cucumbers, and “Wil’s dad’s tomatoes.” This was the only burger not put out on the bar, it was being brought out by servers and they were summarily gobbled up by anyone in the proximity of a plateful-EXCELLENT. Kudos to the chefs and to Amstel for a fun evening!
I bid farewell to the chefs – that’s Wil Gilson on the left and Jaimie Bissonnette on the right- and thanked them for some righteous chow. A beehive server was the rose among thorns. You can catch Jaimie at Coppa and Toro in Boston. I’ve dined at Toro, a Barcelona-style tapas restaurant, and it is superb. Wil Gilson is currently “pregnant” with his first restaurant, Puritan & Company, which will be opening “a little before Halloween” in Inman Square in Cambridge.
A big thanks to Amstel for making this “not-a-hot-dog-story” story possible! I brought my handy dandy video camera along. It’s not up to Hot Dog Story standards, due to the sound issues associated with a loud band in a crowded bar, but worth a look nonetheless. Enjoy.