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The City Burger comes with local beef, sauteed mushrooms, blue cheese, citrus aioli and arugula on a brioche bun.

The City Burger comes with local beef, sauteed mushrooms, blue cheese, citrus aioli and arugula on a brioche bun.


The Union is open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Learn more at

The old brick building that once housed a downtown Carson City brewery is now brewing up a combination of beers and gastropub cuisine. The Union is an aptly named combination of amenities. It has a coffee bar in the back and a sizeable patio area that includes swinging benches, fire pits and games. Inside, there are a couple of dining rooms and four bathrooms. A person could host one humdinger of a party in a place like this.

I started with a flight of house brews ($12) that included Happy Days IPA, Carson Blonde, The Governor Hefeweizen and Brickhouse Red. The blonde ale was slightly sweet. The wheat beer had a yeasty finish. The IPA a straightforward punch of hops, and the red was noticeably fruity with a background bitterness.

A few friends and I shared Lamb Poutine ($11), hand-cut crispy potato fries covered in braised lamb, cheese curds and grated horseradish root. The Union’s take on the Québécois comfort food of fries, brown gravy and curds is on another level. The gravied lamb was succulent, the melty curds plentiful, and the horseradish finish was fresh and flavorful. My friends had never heard of poutine. I’m a little jealous that this treat was their first experience.

A cast iron crock of roasted beets ($7.50) with crushed pistachio and goat cheese vinaigrette was next. The cubed root vegetables were roasted just to the point of releasing that tender and earthy, some-love-it-some-hate-it sweetness. The nuts added crunch and flavor, and the dressing was sublime.

Burgers are a staple of brewpubs, and the Union’s City Burger ($14) called to me with its grass-fed, local beef with a cajun spice rub, topped with sauteed mushrooms, blue cheese, citrus aioli and arugula and served on a brioche bun. The burger was done medium rare, and it had a ton of flavor. In hindsight, I kind of wish I’d been able to taste the seasoned half pound patty solo, to appreciate it on its own merits. Combined with all the other stuff, it was pretty intense. My lone quibble would be that the deeply tanned pastry was enormous, providing way more bread than burger. It looked gorgeous, but was just a bit much. My side of fire roasted tomato soup was seasoned well and tasted quite fresh. It was served piping hot—a hearty complement to the burger.

The Union also serves wood-fired pizzas, and we definitely had to sample that action. These pies start with a very thin, crispy crust with a bit of char, the sign of a super hot oven that means business. They had great, chewy edges, but the aroma and flavor were reminiscent of English muffins—not bad, just different. This crust was the perfect delivery vehicle for a Fun Guy pizza ($17) with crimini mushroom, mozzarella, balsamic vinegar drizzle and a sunny-side-up egg front and center. It was really tasty, though I don’t know that the egg added much more than dazzle.

The Bee Sting pizza ($15.50) was surprisingly enjoyable with fresh serrano pepper, basil, red onion, salami, mozzarella and honey. It was easily my favorite of the two and definitely the first time I’ve thought that honey made sense with pizza. The sweet stuff was lightly applied, allowing the herbaceous and savory elements to make their marks, and that bite of serrano drove the whole thing home. The unique crust worked particularly well here, and having enjoyed this sweet, fiery, savory combination, none of us felt compelled to order dessert.