On the Burger Trail: Company Burger at Company Brewing
In this series, we'll be hiking the burger trail to find the latest, greatest and most delicious burgers in Milwaukee. Click here for an explanation of the criteria used to rate each burger. Where have we been? Check out the complete catalog of burger reviews here.
I've always liked the laid back vibe at Company Brewing. You won't find anything fancy in the sometimes awkwardly large space, which has tables sprawled throughout its multi-leveled seating area. But there's something warm, inviting and lived-in about it. And when you pair that with owner and brewmaster George Bregar's beer, or one of the tap cocktails, it's a pretty great spot to hang just about any night of the week.
As for the menu, which has been recently updated, it's a nice mix of choices for folks looking for bar fare, or even something a bit more interesting. There are plenty of great snacks like mushroom walnut pate, blistered tomato dip and soft pretzels. But there are also fresh summer salads, gazpacho, a few sandwiches and entrees like steak and pork chops. Also some really nice vegetarian options, including a vegan burger made from beets.
I love taking a seat at the bar when I visit; however, because it's summer, there's all sorts of reasons to opt for a seat on the restaurant's rustic beer-garden-esque patio.
We happened to visit on Tuesday, which is burger night. That means there's not only an additional featured burger (this week it was a burger with pepperjack cheese, pork belly, shaved white onion and buffalo aioli served up on a pretzel bun), you also get a $5 drink token with the purchase of your burger.
The Company Burger features a good sized burger (I'd guess about ⅓ pound) with Wisconsin brick cheese, Poor Farm Pilsner braised onions and Company steak sauce ($11)
The burger looks good from the get-go, which is always a bonus. Its bun is the right size to support the burger, and the burger is a shapely one, topped with beer-braised onions that cascade down the burger's edges. Add the pile of crisp fries and it's enough to make you hungry.
The brioche bun is sturdy, yet soft. And it's a good match for the ingredients, meaning it provides good support for the burger, while adding just a bit of sweet, yeasty flavor.
As I've meandered the burger trail, I've discovered that – unlike others I've encountered – I'm pretty open when it comes to my burgers. I love them thin and smashed (but they should be crisp and nicely grilled) or thicker and cooked to order (and yes, I judge them if they can't give me a good medium-rare). But, my criteria either way requires the burger to have a good amount of meaty flavor, great texture and a decent amount of seasonings (always contingent on the toppings it accompanies). The Company Burger falls in the latter category. It came pleasantly medium rare, and it was juicy and meaty. It wasn't overly seasoned, but there was enough going on with the toppings to maintain balance. Overall, a really delicious piece of meat.
If you're anything like me, the toppings on the Company Burger are sufficient to keep you from needing condiments. The cheese, which has been pre-shredded, is melted nicely and adds just enough salt to round out the need for seasoning. The onions are sweet, well browned and touched with a nice hint of beer. The Company steak sauce is subtle. In fact, you won't find it oozing out all over your plate. But there's enough there to offer a bit of umami to the already delicious burger.
This is a nicely sized burger featuring quality ingredients, which comes with a generous portion of (really delicious) crisp fries. And that alone makes the Company Burger a pretty good deal. But, the deal gets even sweeter on Tuesday nights when you also get a drink token worth $5 off your beverage purchase.
At Company, you'll find more than solid burgers in a laid back venue with great beer and the food to match.
Company Brewing is open Tuesday through Thursday from 4 p.m to midnight, Friday and Saturday from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. (for brunch) and 4 p.m. to midnight. The kitchen is open from 5 to 10 p.m.
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