Vegan Burger Wins Coveted First Place Prize for Best Burger of the Event

Hundreds of ground beef and beer fans gathered on a gorgeously hot and sunny afternoon at Golden Hill Park to enjoy an afternoon of live music, and to feast on a cornucopia of cheeseburgers and brews for the annual Reader Burgers & Beers festival. Then a funny thing happened: they voted for a vegan burger to win the coveted first place prize for best burger of the event!

Recognizing the Potential of the Impossible Burger

Credit Pacific Beach restaurant and bar Backyard Kitchen & Tap for recognizing the potential of the Impossible Burger, which uses highly advanced food science to create a beef alternative that almost tastes like the real thing. Perhaps better known for its made from scratch burgers that use a blend of ribeye and brisket, or its many takes on mac & cheese, Backyard Kitchen & Tap surprised everyone with the quality of its vegan burgers, which balanced chipotle flavors with garlic “aioli”, black bean hummus, crispy onions, and avocado on a pretzel bun.

Everyone who tried it knows why it garnered the most votes! Talk about tasty…

And it wasn’t alone in that regard. Three runners-up also delivered on the promise of delicious burgers. Previous burger fest honoree Funky Fries & Burgers brought it’s A-game with a burger topped by both pulled pork and mac & cheese, attracting long lines all day.

Meanwhile, Raglan Public House lived up to its New Zealand roots by furnishing slider-size portions of its Bare Lil Lamb burger, which dresses a lamb patty with bleu cheese, mint dressing, beet root, and tomato chutney! There certainly wasn’t any burger more packed with flavor.

But don’t despair, burger purists! Fans did vote a genuine beef-only burger into the winners’ circle. East Village Tavern + Bowl earned its runner-up nod thanks to its Plain and Simple sliders. These offered nothing but cheddar, lettuce, onions, and tomato on a brioche bun. No pulled pork, no Silicon Valley science, and no bleu cheese: the far simpler construction of this winning burger proves that you really have to work hard to beat a classic burger at its own game.

Of course, all the terrific burgers were only half the fun. Helping to wash them down were more than 30 breweries, meaderies, cideries, and kombucha-makers on hand to pour all manner of craft beverage. The 21-plus crowd had the option to sip on crisp pilsners, fruited sour ales, and of course some of the nation’s greatest IPAs, both hazy and West Coast styles. Better yet, nobody had to choose — unlimited pours meant guests got a chance to try them all. Some were even treated to a sour mead by Oceanside’s Golden Coast Mead, the first meadery to produce such a style.

There was innovation all around, and we’d expect nothing less from the burger and beer makers of San Diego. Thanks to our sponsor Jensen Meats for another terrific event. See you next year!