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Thursday, May 28, 2009

Reward Good Behavior

[Post edited for clarity. Man, I gotta start proof-reading these things before hitting "publish post."]

I have been meaning to mention Burgerville's bold experiment for some weeks now. As beery types, you have probably already heard and digested the news. In a pilot program, a Vancouver store is now serving beer and wine.

In some ways, this seems like a no-brainer. Adding locally-made beer and wine is perfectly consonant with Burgerville's commitment to our local bounty. The hard par, I'd imagine, was making the selections. For beer, they went with Full Sail Amber, Widmer Hefeweizen, and Terminal Gravity IPA. Amber is an obvious choice--it is versatile and goes well with food. Hef isn't a bad choice, either, for the same reasons--not to mention its popularity. TG IPA, though--that's bold. I suspect they have it there to match strength with their Anasazi bean burger--as a veggie, I have relied on it when I go. A burly IPA would be a tasty combo. And in any case, the idea of TG IPA at a burger joint is beautifully subversive.

Wines are harder, because they vary year to year. (Parenthetical diversion. A few years ago, Sally and I were introduced to La Bete's Aligote on our anniversary. It was sublime. A year or two later, we bought a bottle at the grocery store, and it was really an inferior vintage. This is the scourge of vinting--Ma Nature has final say. Sidebar to the parenthetical--Alex Ganum scored barrels in which to age his beers from ... La Bete.) The current selection: Ponzi Tavola Pinot Noir, O'Reilly Pinot Gris and the Eyrie Vineyards Chardonnay. Given the difficulty of finding a bottle of local pinot for under $20, it's not surprising that a glass of wine at Burgerville runs you $6.50-$9.

Fantastic, right? Well, oddly enough, Burgerville's gambit has come in for some criticism.
The group Oregon Partnership worried it could lead to trouble, since the restaurants employ underage workers.

“Fast food restaurants are filled with young customers and young employees,” Pete Schulberg, Oregon Partnership’s Communication Director said. “That’s a mix you don’t want when you are considering the sale of alcohol.”
This is mystifying to me. The presence of beer and wine cannot, by their presence, corrupt young minds. (One could more plausibly argue the opposite.)

Resist this controversy and support the local chain. It's a cool idea by an innovative and purely Northwest institution. I regret that it's up in the 'Couv, for I rarely find myself north of the Columbia. I encourage anyone who is to stop in and have a burger and a beer and try to encourage the pilot program. Because there is a Burgerville right over on Hawthorne, and I would love to see that branch follow suit.

Salmon Creek Burgerville
13309 NE Hwy 99
Vancouver, WA 98686
(360) 573-8223


  1. I'm pretty sure that I've been to a Pizza Schmizza or a Hot Lips or a Laughing Planet were the person behind the counter was under 21, and I was served a pint of beer.

  2. I remember when i was a kid going out with my father... it seemed as though every place served macro-beer. Fudruckers (sp?), and I swear even a KFC... could be wrong. But what about all the bowling alleys, golf courses and countless other places that employ minors? How 'bout all that gangsta rap and their 40's of St. Ides? How about energy drinks w/ alc. like Joosed that all the kids seem to go for....

    Big F'in deal... lower the drinking age then! lol

  3. Pete Schulberg = HACK from WAY BACK

  4. You only have to be 18 to serve beer and wine. Also, you have to go into the store to be served--no beer or wine through the take-out window.

  5. I've only seen the edited version of this post, but I'm pretty sure this wasn't supposed to be in the final draft:

    "Vineyards Chardonnay. Since it's hard to find a Wines are harder, because they vary year to year."

    Also, I'm pretty sure it's TG's ESG that Burgerville's carrying… at least, that's what it was when they first started the program.


  6. Anónimo, thanks. Blogger's doing something weird. I (think!) I've corrected it. We'll see.

  7. you sure they didn't pilot it in Washington because of Oregon's draconic liquor laws? i'm sure the battle with the OLCC will be all uphill.

    i worked at a fast food-esque mexican chain when i first moved to Portland (Macheesmo Mouse, anyone remember?) and we served beer and wine. i was around 18 - as were most of the employees - and i don't remember it being a big deal.

    Oregon Partnership can go fish...they don't know their ass from a hole in the ground.

  8. I just ate at Red Robin... where there is a full bar.. and they too employ ages under 21! It's everywhere... OMG wgat are we Oregonians going to do to correct all the worlds faults?