I love a good burger and a beer. They just go together. So I’ve probably spent a lot of time in my teenage and adult life sampling the wares of all the burger joints I’ve come across in New England and beyond.
In my teenage years, my tastes were a bit unrefined, and my wallet, mostly empty, and so I wolfed down tons of flattened patties from low budget burger chains. But I just cant eat that stuff anymore. What’s needed now is deliciosity in a bun and a cold draft beverage to wash it down.
There are dozens of burger places in the area, but after years of sampling, re-sampling and giving each place its due, I’ve come to realize that by and far, the BEST burger your going to eat around here comes from our own Elm City Brewery and Pub. In fact, I just finished devouring a fantastic BBQ Bacon Cheeseburger with Fries, a pickle, and a Lunch Pale Ale. I had to waddle uncomfortably back to my computer, having eaten the entire burger, but I was so inspired, that I decided to write this down and get it out of my head.
Elm City Brewery is located in the Colony Mill Marketplace on West Street in Keene, New Hampshire. The Colony Mill is one of those huge brick textile mills from the 1800’s that was converted to a shopping mall, offices and restaurants in the 1980’s.
Its very comfortable and casual, with an inside dining room, a bar area, an atrium dining room with a view outside to the courtyard and to the active brewery, and an outside dining area. You can find a comfortable spot to park yourself and enjoy great food and delicious beer in a variety of atmospheres.I usually opt for the outdoor spots during nice weather and the bar when its cold or rainy out.
Elm City has a fairly expansive menu. There are the burgers, of course, but there are also other delicious menu items: appetizers, sandwiches, pub favorites, soups, salads, stews and fancier gourmet entrees and deserts. The 45 cent wings at happy hour are fantastic. The food is delicious to eat and wonderful to look at, and everything is made with quality ingredients.
The burgers are the best! No stamped out burger patties with wonder bread buns here. The core of the burger plate is a ½Lb. ground beef burger served on a grilled bulkie roll.
From that basic setup, you can choose from a number of different burger styles, like the Blues Burger with caramelized onions and bleu cheese; or my favorite, the BBQ & Bacon Cheese Burger, a grilled burger topped with homemade peach BBQ sauce, bacon and cheddar cheese. All the burger plates come with French fries and a pickle, and lettuce, tomato & red onion on the side that you can add or leave at your discretion.
I haven’t even mentioned the beers yet. At ECB, they brew at least 8 beers and ales regularly, along with seasonal favorites and some special beers for special occasions. I remember back years ago, they brewed a turn of the Century New Years ale that was fantastic. You had to buy it in 6oz glasses because it knocked you for a loop. I’m a bit of a hop head, so I usually get the Lunch Pale ale, but I haven't had a bad beer there yet, and I believe I tried them all at least on time or another.
It’s a busy place. Even at noon on a weekday, the place is lively. If you arrive on a Thursday or Friday night around happy hour, you may have to wait a while for a spot. People linger. It’s a great place just to eat, relax, talk and put the work week behind you. The bar tenders, wait staff and hosts are always polite and friendly. And the Brewmeister, Bill Dunn, really knows his stuff.