On Wednesday, we begin a big, beefy battle to pick the best burger in Portland.
Burger Madness is a seeded tournament pitting up 64 Portland patties. Our critics ate through the list and will reveal their picks round by round until the best burger in Portland is crowned.
You can complete your own bracket next week. Whoever gets the closest to our winners will get $150 to spend on drinks and burgers at Bar Bar on Mississippi.
Welcome to Burger Madness! This is the play-in round, where we will determine the 16 seed that will face the top seed in the four regional brackets: bar, brewpub, bistro and classic burger.
Today, a brewpub battle between Portland Brewing, a regional conglomerate that also owns Pyramid, and Rogue Eastside Pub & Pilot Brewery, a Newport chain that operates several Portland pubs, including a new brewery in the former Green Dragon (review here).
Rogue Eastside Pilot Pub
928 SE 9th Ave., 503-517-0660, rogue.com. 11 am-11 pm Sunday-Wednesday, 11 am-1 am Thursday-Saturday.
Rogue's burger is a half-pounder ($13 with chips, fries or tots) made with kobe-style beef, and has a pleasant gameyness. With typical Rogueishness, they call it the "World's Greatest Burger." It is not. The patty is great, but it's served on a Pearl Bakery bun, which was dried out by the time we got it just before close. They say it has "wasabi mayo" but that didn't read for me. All I got was meat. But, meat good.
2730 NW 31st Ave., 503-228-5269, portlandbrewing.com. 11 am-9 pm Monday-Thursday, 11 am-10 pm Friday, noon-10 pm Saturday, noon-9 pm Sunday.
The taproom at this production brewery in industrial Northwest serves up a smoke-kissed charbroiled Angus patty on a super soft bun ($11.50 with garlic fries) that reminded me of a fancied-up Whopper. Well, except for it being perfectly medium, with a tiny bit of blood leaking out. Portland Brewing is dad beer and this is a dad burger—if your dad is a little stingy. It begs for more sauce, plus pickles and cheese. It only costs $1 to add cheese, but the strictures of this contest meant we went without, since we take the burgers as they come, without add-ons.
WINNER: Rogue Brewing. That big slab of Kobe beef was too much for good ol' dad.