Sure, you’ve heard of peanut butter and jelly. But, have you heard of peanut butter, bacon, cheese and a burger? One of these things just doesn’t seem to belong.
Who would think to put peanut butter on a cheeseburger? How could that possibly work? It doesn’t make logical sense. It would mess with the space-time continuum. It could be a huge mistake!
At Two Rivers Brewing Company in Easton, however, the Peanut Butter Bacon Cheeseburger exists and it’s delicious.
This exciting type of faire, coupled with a beer list that rivals any in the area (and now features Two Rivers Brewing Company’s own on-site brews) makes the restaurant not only one with the best selection in the area, but gives it that je ne sais quoi quality that only the best establishments can claim.
Owner Troy Reynard and his wife, along with partners Barad and Judy Nelson, opened Two Rivers in 2011 at the site of the former Mount Vernon Ale House. The unique brick building features a turret and almost artistic fire escape platform that can be seen from blocks away from its perch on the peak of Northampton Street.
“I love Two Rivers because of the building, I love the way it looks,” Reynard said. “I love that we saved it from ruin and I love that we get to brew beer in downtown Easton!”
Ruin? Yep. Since the Mount Vernon Ale House closed at the 542 Northampton Street location in 2004, the beautiful and historically vital Easton building sat waiting for someone to reclaim it. It rested; dutifully hoping someone could come along and fill it with life again.
Through a crowd funding campaign, and the efforts of Easton Mayor Sal Panto, Two Rivers Brewing Company finally did come back to life, but as with any new establishment, there was still the question of whether or not it would last.
Were the new owners the right people for the job?
To say that the energetic Reynard was the perfect man for the job would be understating it. He’s a hands-on restaurant owner who greeted us at the door during our recent visit with a Guy Fieri type attitude and smile.
Reynard was determined to make sure that we, and the customers before us, and the customers after us, had the best time possible.
We visited Two Rivers on a Monday Night, their current Trivia Night, to get not only a feel for the menu, but also for the nightlife crowd. If you’re not familiar with how trivia nights work at bars, it’s not that dissimilar from that Trivia Crack app everyone was playing a few months ago on their smartphones.
While you can certainly play by yourself, the most fun way to get into trivia night is to bring along 5-6 of your closest friends and form a team (usually with a slightly inappropriate name).
The game last for three rounds with ten questions each. The questions and point values increase as the game goes on with team leaders submitting their answers on paper to the trivia host.
There’s one final question at the end and you can wager as many points as you’d like. Be careful not to wager too many, because even if you don’t get that question correct, you may still be able to win.
The winning team gets a prize and bragging rights until next week.
The odds of you waiting until next week to return, however, are pretty low.
Remember that Peanut Butter Bacon Cheeseburger? It’s made with half of a pound of Breakaway Farms beef, bacon, cheddar, peanut brittle dust, chili gastrique, and pickled red onions. Far from being strangers, the ingredients work effortlessly together. The taste of the peanut butter is evident with the first bite, but it merges so seamlessly with the juicy beef that it feels as though they’ve been friends forever.
“The Peanut Butter Bacon Cheeseburger does have a cult following,” Reynard said. “Personally I think it’s the marinated onion and chili gastrique that make it so good.”
Whatever it is, Two Rivers’ incredible tastes aren’t only confined to one menu item.
My fiancé, Crystal, had the Bourbon Mushroom Burger made of a half a pound of Breakaway Farms beef, Primordia Farms mushrooms, Swiss cheese, bourbon aioli and sweet onion jam.
“I could eat the sweet onion jam on its own,” she said, in between bites. “It goes so well with the mushrooms and Swiss. I think I may have found my new favorite burger in the Lehigh Valley.”
Some may have found their new favorite local brewing company in the Lehigh Valley, as well.
While it was always the intention for Two Rivers Brewing Company to brew beer on site, there were a few setbacks that had eager fans waiting until only recently for the restaurant to start tapping their own suds.
The wait was worth it.
We have eleven of our own beers on tap right now,” Reynard said. “Our flagships are Bankers Brown Ale, Getter’s Island Pale Ale, Colonel Left Eye IPA and Pine Street Blonde Belgian Witbier. “
I tried the Banker’s Brown Ale and Crystal and the Pine Street Blond Belgian Witbier. Both were reason enough to come back to try the rest of the samplings and plan on taking an Uber home.
“Other beers we have on are Easton Uber Alles Altbier, Free Bridge Belgian Triple, Silk Mill Belgian Single, Gallows Hill Amber, Batch One Session IPA, Hexenmeister Hefeweizen and Danny Mann Irish Stout,” Reynard said. “Upcoming beers we have fermenting are an English Style IPA, Double IPA, Black IPA and Doppelbock.”
Easton residents will notice the local names for the brews, which gives it that extra bit of signature style.
In fact, they should have used some of those beers as the basis for the trivia game that was going on around us while we attempted to get through the hearty portions on our plates.
Crystal and I both thought we knew the answers to many of the trivia questions being asked.
But, that’s always the case when you’re at a trivia night and you’re not playing. You instantly start thinking about how you’d be winning if you were playing.
When you’re actually playing, however, it’s much, much different. And, much like karaoke, trivia night is not a fun night with your friends; it’s also a great way to make new ones.
And, it’s popular. There were literally no seats available in the restaurant or at the bar once the trivia game started. We were lucky we got there around 7, because by the time the first questions start getting asked just after 8 p.m., local residents and Lafayette College students already have their thinking caps on, food ordered, and Two Rivers Brewing Company beers at their tables.
Once we were finished, I honestly contemplated ordering another Peanut Butter Bacon Cheeseburger to bring home with me to eat later. But, then I spotted the duck fat fries.
If you haven’t ever had a religious experience, please try the duck fat fries at Two Rivers.
They take what would be ordinary strips of spuds and turn them into something that could be ordered in and of itself as a meal and no one would bat an eyelash at the fact that you just ordered a plate of fries for dinner.
There were still some left on both of our plates, the result of trying the burgers first and not having enough room left to finish them. What a glorious decision.
We asked for a to-go box for the duck fat fries, bid adieu to Troy, who was busy wading through the tables and helping his staff where he could, and walked out onto the bustling Northampton Street on what turned out to be a beautiful summer evening.
Looking back at the signature turret of Two Rivers Brewing Company hovering over the top of Easton as we walked to our car, it was easy to come up with a new trivia question they could possibly work in next week.
“What’s the most eclectic and delicious brew pub restaurant in Easton?”
I think you know the answer.
Two Rivers Brewing is located at 542 Northampton St, Easton, PA 18042. Trivia Night is held very Monday evening at Two Rivers Brewing.