Spicy Lucy/Wild Range Brewing IPA/Royal Thunder “Wick”

 In Beef, Burgers, IPA, Recipes

After a week in the twin cities where grabbing a Juicy Lucy eluded us, or shall we say we eluded it, we’re back home now to grill it up for ourselves. We did one way back when (found here) but we went ahead and spiced things up a bit this time around with a pile of pickled jalapeños tossed on top. For the beer, we might have stretched the definition of “American Microbrew” that we normally try and feature by going with the contract brewed Wild Range Brewing IPA, but hey we were at Aldi getting everything else, so we took some liberties! It was a beautiful day to be outside grilling and the incredible sound of Royal Thunder was blasting through the neighborhood.

Spicy Lucy – There’s not really much that’s too different from our original Juicy Lucy recipe we referenced, we start with a pound 80/20 grass fed beef and separate them into 6 equal size balls then flatten them into round patties. Tear up two slices of yellow American cheese and place in the center of one patty.

Cover with the second patty and press down around the edges. Here’s where it gets a little tricky; mold the burger around the cheese, rounding this out so it kind of resembles a flat stuffed meatball with no cheese showing.  Season with salt, black pepper and garlic.

These are ready for the grill, the patties go over high heat for a couple of minutes per side to get that nice crust, then over to cool side covered to finish cooking.   Finally place on the bottom half of a toasted brioche bun.

That’s pretty much it, now we just need to build the top bun by adding a thin layer or yellow mustard followed by slices of yellow onion, dill pickles and pickled jalapeños.

Cover with the top bun, then slice it in half to unveil that gooey golden cheese oozing out. One of these days we’ll get an official hometown Lucy, but for those keeping score at home we are 2 for 2 in creating them at the house.

Wild Range Brewing IPA – As we mentioned in the intro, there were liberties taken here. The beer looks like an American microbrew, is named like an American microbrew and is packaged like an American microbrew, but it’s actually a contract brewed IPA brewed exclusive for the multi-national food giant, Aldi. Now that that disclosure is out of the way, let’s get to the important stuff: the beer. This IPA pours a deep clear orange color with a foamy head. The aroma is very malt forward and yeasty like a Pilsner with only a faint hops smell. The flavor is light and sweet with malt and the hops coming in on the finish as astringent and boozy. On the IPA spectrum this one would wind up on the “light” side, very easy drinking with only moderate hop bite. It was a good beer, though, to cut through the beefy and cheesy burger, it cut through the richness with ease.

Royal Thunder “Wick” – Atlanta’s Royal Thunder is one of those crossover friendly bands in the genre thanks mostly to the many facets of singer Mlny Parsonz with a voice that ranges from accessible alternative to full-on doom and everything in between, she’s one of the best vocalists in the business. Now out with their third full-length “Wick”, the band is really clicking on all cylinders. The band can rock out when they want, but they seem to be most at home when they’re churning out their slower, dark odes which is exactly how they start this release. “Burning Tree” is an eastern mystic-inspired haunting track with vocals that go from chant-like to airy all in a very chill environment. It’s a warm up of sorts to what is about to be unleashed in the next 11 songs starting with what might be the best of them all on “April Showers” which combines Pat Benetar’s throaty and catchy yet angst-ridden scowl with the modern day operatic doom of Mount Salem. “Tied” is a throwback to the late 70s/April 80s sound-wise but delivered with an edge vocally making for a cool sonic juxtaposition. “We Slipped” is more straight forward pop rock fun unleashing a Stevie Nicks vibe throughout. Things get a little darker and gloomier, as well as pick up speed on “The Sinking Chair”, the lighting fast riff and huge vocals are in full metal form. Seemingly leaving no vocal styling rock unturned, “Plans” is a raw, emotional tune that is dripping with pure soul as if Janis Joplin were singing Motown. The title track has a “Stranger Things” sci-if vibe making it lean to the eerie side. The melancholy “Push” is made even more so with the addition of the sweeping string arrangement that starts the song off. “Turnaround” builds quickly into a groove monster with some phenomenal guitar work strewn in throughout. The album ends on “We Never Fall Asleep”, a tune that starts off rather proggy with laser-sounding keyboards bringing to mind Styx or Kansas, the beat and tempo pick up about halfway through making for a cool sounding mid-tempo rocker. It’s a great release with one of the most solid side A’s we’ve heard in awhile.

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