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Steins Up For Shacktoberfest

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As an admittedly large person working in beer, eating healthy is a primary concern of mine. I say “concern” because it is the most polite way of describing my face as I look at yet another sad-yet-healthy salad lunch. Day in and day out, I toil at the grindstone of this diet, and truth be told it mostly works. But yesterday, I deemed myself a free man and headed to Shake Shack for lunch instead with some brave coworkers to truly eat lunch, not just consume it.

Seeing as the Brooklyn Brewery brews Shackmeister Ale specifically for Shake Shack’s burgers (oh! those burgers!), it’s no secret that we love the place. We particularly treated ourselves by trying the entire special menu in place for Shacktoberfest. Black Forest and Apfelstrudel shakes, soft pretzels, a bratwurst-topped Brat Burger, and a special Shackmeister Brat served with cheese sauce and Shackmeister-marinated fried shallots, plus some steins of beer, sounds like a lot of food. And to be fair, it is. Here, look closer:

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As we took turns passing around food items, we reached a unanimous and impassioned conclusion. While the rest of the menu was great in its own right– particularly the nap-inducing apfelstrudel– the Shackmeister Brat was head and shoulders above the rest.

After a brief struggle to determine how to bite the heaping dish, the eater is rewarded with a headrush of hearty Old World flavor. Shake Shack’s justifiably famous griddle imparts an incredible smoky-charred snap to the brat. The crunchy shallots rain forth after, before everything is married in a rush of cheese sauce to become truly greater than the sum of its parts. A sip of beer to pull your tongue back to earth, and you were back to the experience.

I had an audible reaction to each bite, ranging from gentle murmurs to half-shouted unprintables. If you’d shown me a picture of leather overalls, I would have transcended timespace altogether and landed in Munich. And yes, we ended up ordering cheese fries as a misguided sort of dessert.

Truth be told, I may be going slightly overboard on the description of this divine sausage. But if you can’t trust a food recommendation from a lifelong patron of the “husky” section, recently freed from a salad-barred, self-inflicted gustatory prison, who can you trust? Show me that person, and I’ll show you someone who strapped their FitBit to the dog to make up steps.

Shake Shack’s Shacktoberfest menu is, sadly, coming to a close after this Sunday, October 2. Be sure to treat yourself and pick up the souvenir stein, filled with either our Shackmeister or our malty Oktoberfest lager. Just remember: you must order the brat, and you only need one order of cheese fries for the table after.

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