Every Friday through the end of 2018, the Rant will feature a dish that stands out among Lee County’s restaurant scene. We’ll usually focus on lunch, but there aren’t any rules – we just want to let you know (if you don’t already) about the many dining options we have that are owned and operated by people right here in Lee County. Today, try a bratwurst at Camelback Brewing Company.

Camelback Brewing Company hasn’t been open for very long at all, but its already made an impact in Lee County by offering yet another option for local craft beer. Less spoken but equally important are the brewery’s food offerings, which are based around a “European bistro” concept. If that sounds more fancy than you’re used to, don’t be fooled. It’s hearty, familiar fare – cheese melts, sandwiches, wraps, and perhaps most important, the bratwursts, which are what we’re focusing on today. Who doesn’t like a bratwurst?

THE DISH: Camelback offers the brats ($7.50) in three varieties – the only one we’ve been able to try so far is “the Saucisse,” and we couldn’t recommend it more. The pork and veal link is smoky and savory, and it comes on a bun smothered in mayonnaise (Duke’s, of course), Havarti cheese, and caramelized onions. It’s hard to think of a more perfect combo. You also get a curiously red pickle (it’s both sweet and salty at the same time), and a side. We recommend the German red cabbage to let the acidity of the brine brighten up the rest of the dish, but the cheesy colcannon (an Irish potato salad) is delicious as well, and we can’t wait to try the pickled farmhouse vegetables.

You can also get the brat in “Americana” (ketchup, mustard, American cheese) or “Bavarian” (brown mustard and hot sauerkraut) varieties. We haven’t had either, but they both sound great.

WHAT ELSE TO TRY: Like we said, Camelback hasn’t been open long, but we can already recommend the two cheese melt ($6) with bacon (add $2) and fresh jalapenos (add 50 cents) as well as the jalapeno hummus and benedictine appetizer ($9), in which the spice of the former is offset by the cool creaminess of the latter. The country squire roast beef sandwich ($11) looks great, and we’ve heard great things about the vegan wrap ($8, you don’t have to be vegan to eat it) as well. And hey, try the beers. They’re the star, and are all really great.

Camelback Brewing is located at 804 Spring Lane in Sanford. They’re open from 4 to 9 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, 4 to 10 p.m. Thursday, and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. Check out their full menu here, and their Facebook page here.

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