First-Timer's Guide to the Bag Burger
Food enthusiasts in the Carrabassett area can rejoice: The Bag is back! After a brief hiatus at the end of ski season, the Bag has reopened for summer—perfect timing too, because I had just mentioned to Noelle Tuttle that I had never tried their famous Bag Burger, and voila, this blog was born.
A little bit of background: located at 21 Village West, The Bag & Kettle has been serving beers brewed on-site, stick-to-your-bones good pub grub, and soups made from scratch to the Sugarloaf community for fifty years now. In that time, its legendary Bag Burger has amassed a cult-like following, even winning awards for its excellence (like being crowned New England Ski Resort’s best burger).
The Bag Burger is a 6-ounce beef patty cooked to your preference and served with a slice of American cheese, lettuce, and tomato as well as a side of curly fries and their top-secret “Bag Sauce.” I just had to see for myself what all the fuss was about, so snowmaking guru and summer maintenance marvel Dan “Dano” Barker joined me for lunch at the Bag in Village West—and, of course, I also had to get a Bag brew.
The Bag has been brewing their own alpine attitude ales for five decades, maintained by the belief that their elevation at Sugarloaf raises them above the rest of other eastern microbreweries—that, and the clear, sparkling mountain spring waters that are used by their master brewer.
I went ahead and ordered the Trout Brook Gold, a light German-style lager with a mild malt body that was crisp, refreshing, and all-around well-balanced; I chose this ale for its description as “an all-around beer” that would pair well with any entree.
Dano and I sat outside, looking out at Village South; the Bag Burger arrived a few sips later, open-faced and concealed beneath a well-portioned pile of curly fries. After just one bite, I understood the obsession: the bun-to-meat ration was (and I do not use this word lightly) perfection, the patty was fresh-tasting and flavorful, and the “Bag Sauce” not only complemented the burger but was also well-matched for dipping fries in.
There is something so understated about simplicity, and the Bag Burger embodies excellence in this pub's version of this classic dish: the Bag Burger is a hefty serving that maintains a delicate balance between bun, burger, condiments, and cheese. This first-timer gives the Bag Burger two very enthusiastic thumbs up!
There's little else I can say besides you ought to experience it yourself, so if you're in the area, this is a must-order item to be added to your itinerary straightaway. The Bag’s current hours of operation are Fridays through Tuesdays from noon to 8:00pm; they are closed Wednesdays and Thursdays.
I’m only slightly worried about the proximity between the Bag and my office, and how convenient it will be to order Bag Burgers on potentially an all-too-regular basis… but hey, they say variety is the spice of life, and I’ve already got my sights set on the Gucci Burger next—a “designer” dish and local fan-favorite where the patty is paired with cheese and pepperoni—and after that, the Dior, served in a garlic and herb cheese sauce. This may be the beginning of a beautiful relationship.