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We Try Burgerville's Fresh Blackberry Shake

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[Photographs: Adam Lindsley]

With strawberries and raspberries under its belt, Burgerville closes out its summer milkshake series with a fruit that almost anyone living in the Pacific Northwest can find growing in their backyard: blackberries. Be they a child's delight or a gardener's bane, blackberries are an unstoppable force in the Northwest, so it makes good business sense for Burgerville to cash in on the berries' wide availability and round up as many of them as possible for its shakes, smoothies, and lemonades.

The primary drawback of Burgerville's raspberry shake lay in large, frozen chunks of raspberry drupelets that got lodged in the straw and prevented a smooth sucking experience. Luckily, this problem didn't surface with the Vancouver, Washington-based chain's blackberry milkshake. With more finely chopped pieces of berry swirled throughout the vanilla ice cream base, drinking the entire shake through a straw was effortless.

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But these are real blackberries we're talking about, so the sharp textural contrast of the seeds cannot be avoided. Resign yourself to swallowing a small handful of them as a gesture of Burgerville's commitment to local produce. Liepold Farms, located less than an hour from Portland and just one of the 26 different farms and businesses in the area partnering with Burgerville, provides the fresh fruit for nearly all of the chain's seasonal shakes, including the blackberry variety.

Pity then that, like Burgerville's fresh strawberry and raspberry shakes, it feels as though the fruit has been augmented with some sort of flavored syrup. This unfortunately eliminates any authenticity when it comes to what actual blackberries ground up into vanilla ice cream would actually taste like, although perhaps that's not what Burgerville's customers are looking for.

Quibbles of purity aside, Burgerville's Fresh Blackberry milkshake is a cheap dessert that's refreshing on a hot late-summer day, as long as the seeds don't drive you bonkers. At the very least, it should scratch the blackberry itch until Burgerville switches gears and releases its popular pumpkin shake next month.

Burgerville

1122 SE Hawthorne Blvd., Portland, OR 97214 (map)
503-230-0479; more locations listed at burgerville.com

About the author: Adam Lindsley is a Pacific Northwest-based writer, musician, and the author of the pizza blog, This Is Pizza. You can follow him at @ThisIsPizza on Twitter. Astonishingly, he really enjoys burgers, pizza, beer, and doughnuts.

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