On a rainy Labor Day weekend, the 14th Annual Taste of Hamburg-er Festival took over the streets of Hamburg, Pennsylvania.
Berks County Eats braved the weather and enjoyed some of the unique burger creations that you will only find at the festival. Here’s a look back at our afternoon in Hamburg.
Driven by Food
I had not heard of Driven by Food until I saw the name on the festival website. But as soon as I saw that they were serving a chorizo burger, I knew the caterer would be my first spot.
The line wasn’t long, but the burgers were made to order so it was a good 10-minute wait until my name was called and my burger appeared in the window.
Chipotle mayo, cheddar jack cheese and a poblano pepper were piled atop a chorizo sausage patty.
The chorizo held its shape on the bun, but unlike a ground beef patty, this was melt-in-your-mouth. Chorizo itself has so much flavor that it made a perfect burger base.
While the poblano pepper served more as a garnish, the chipotle mayo added a zing to the dish. It wasn’t spicy, per se, but it was flavorful and tied all of the ingredients together.
Overall, it was an outstanding burger that I was glad I tried.
The Perk-Up Truck
Sometimes, you just want dessert first. The Perk-Up truck is Julie’s favorite food truck. Anytime she sees it, she has to have a smoothie.
With the Perk-Up Truck parked just a few stands away from Driven by Food, she just had to stop.
A peaches and cream smoothie was her choice on the day. It was rich, sweet and creamy, everything that you could hope for from a smoothie.
It was also filling, and helped calm Julie’s hunger until we found the burger she was looking for.
Scott’s Gyro Box
I knew that I wanted to try one more burger before I left. It came down to two choices: a gyro burger from Scott’s Gyro Box or a shepherd’s pie burger from the Hamburg Diner.
Both were on the same block as Driven by Food. In the end, the long line for the diner was the deciding factor for me choosing Scott’s.
I was going to get a gyro burger, but the tropi-terranean burger piqued my interest. Similar to the gyro burger, it was served on a pita and featured feta cheese, tzatziki sauce and lettuce (the Mediterranean) with the addition of pineapple (the tropical).
To make it worthy of a burger festival, sliced hamburger patties replaced gyro meat as the dish’s protein. This change didn’t result in much change in flavor as it was still very clearly a gyro. The biggest difference was made by the pineapple which added a bright, sweet flavor that worked surprisingly well with the more traditional ingredients.
It was a good second act, but didn’t quite match up to the chorizo burger.
Salem E.C. Church
Proudly proclaiming that its burgers are the most heavenly at the event, Salem E.C. Church is a multi-time award winner – again this year it was judged best burger for a local organization.
After hearing about it every year, Julie decided that this was the year to try it.
The Heavenly Hog burger is topped with bacon, French fried onions, balsamic vinegar and Italian cheeses, but what makes it unique is the blend of beef and pork in the patty.
It gave the burger a different flavor, almost making it sausage-like, but not as flavorful as the chorizo. The toppings were overloaded and fell out of the bun, but what remained were good. After experiencing the other flavors, the balsamic hits. It’s a lingering taste that evokes a love or hate reaction.
It’s a good burger that aspires to be great, but for us, it didn’t quite live up to the hype.
While we tried three burgers on the day, judges chose winners in multiple categories and fans picked one winner for the People’s Choice award. Here is a full list of the day’s best burger winners:
Bull & Bear
Salem E.C. Church
Best Mobile Food Truck
Uncle Paul’s Stuffed Pretzels
Best First Time Vendor