The Heritage Meats Burger at Pike Brewing Co.

In the course of researching this week's food lead on the Puget Sound's new artisanal, sustainability-minded butchers, I learned that Tracy Smaciarz of Heritage Meats supplies local, grass-feed beef burgers to Pike Brewing Company.

I wouldn't have known that the three burgers on the menu of the Pike Place Market brewpub are from local beef -- the sandwich pictured is the William Tell, topped with swiss and mushrooms -- if Tracy hadn't mentioned it. Pike Brewing Company doesn't change its menu often enough to list the specific farm, or even the butcher, just that it's grass-fed beef.

The burger I ate there last week tasted great -- just the right shade of pink at the center, with a robust, straightforward beefiness. The texture of the third-of-a-pound patty was a little dense -- something that a lighter touch in the molding of the patty, or a few extra percentage points of fat, would correct. A few days after this meal, in fact, I ordered a burger at another local spot (more on that later), and the meat didn't have the same depth of flavor. Here's to brewpubs that use local beef, especially when you get to order a pint of Pike's Naughty Nellie with your burger.

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