Ferran Adria + Beer = ……..

The highly acclaimed chef/star of El Bulli in Spain has gotten together with Estrella Damm brewery to concoct something new. Inedit. Which means Original in French.

From the New York Times, “It actually starts as two beers, Mr. Adrià said: a straightforward lager and a German-style weissbier that is seasoned with orange peel, coriander and licorice. Because each ferments at a different rate, the beers are not blended until just before bottling in black 750-milliliter wine bottles. The marriage undergoes a second fermentation in the bottle, like Champagne. The beer is unfiltered, making it slightly cloudy. It has 4.5 percent alcohol and delicate yet persistent carbonation.”

This may be another one to add to the “must try” list.

Anchor Steam – Our Barrel Aged

Wow! I had the pleasure of sampling this on Sunday and I was blown away. I am not a big fan of the whisky/bourbon aged beers. To my palate the vanilla and oak tastes tend to obliterate the actual beer. But this was something else. It is a mix of Old Foghorn, Liberty Ale and Anchor Bock. And it is almost like dessert. Roasty and whiskey notes dominate but not overpower and at around a skosh over 8% abv it is not going to drop you under the table.

Beer Geek Shop

I read this on their website and I knew these people are kindred spirits.

“you might be asking, what exactly is a beer geek? Simply put, a beer geek is someone with a passion for beer.

Not to be confused with a beer snob, beer geeks never look down their nose at people who drink industrial swill. In a pinch, they’ll even drink a can or two themselves.

But deep down inside, beer geeks love the good stuff. They will search out rare and unique beers from all around the world, even if that means trolling internet message boards to find a trader 2,000 miles away. Beer geeks also love turning other people on to new and interesting beers. Their motives aren’t always selfless, since another friend on the craft brew wagon means another friend with good beer at their house.”

I love that attitude!

Upcoming Southern California beer events

July 29: Beer dinner at Rock Bottom brewpub – Long Beach, 6:00 p.m. rockbottom.com.

Aug. 8: Open house at Skyscraper Brewing, El Monte – 12:00-6:00 p.m. skyscraperbrewing.com

Aug. 19: Beer Showcase Dinner with Boston Beer Company – Tony P’s, Marina del Rey, 7:00 p.m. (different brewery each third Wednesday) tonyps.com.

Aug. 25-31: Sour Beer Festival, Beachwood BBQ – Seal Beach. beachwoodbbq.com

Aug. 30: OC Beer Festival – Irvine Lake, 2:00-5:00 p.m. drinkeatplay.com/ocbeerfest.

Sep. 19: Septemberfest – Paramount Studios, Hollywood, 2:00-5:00 p.m. drinkeatplay.com/septemberfest.

Oct. 17-25: L.A. Beer Week – various locations. labeerweek.com.

How I choose a beer

You need beer! Either for a party or for dinner or just to have sitting in the ‘fridge in case of emergency. But what to choose… Here are my rules.

1. Pick a good beer shop – (or two) I go to various places to buy beer. BevMo, Whole Foods, liquor stores heck there is a 7-11 near me that stocks a small list of good stuff. Point being that one store does not carry all of the world of beer. Take a Saturday and scout out places near you.

2. Talk with the people who select the beer – You will be amazed. One of two things will happen. You will either encounter someone who knows nothing who asks the manager who knows nothing and you will know to leave. What happens far more often is that you will get great suggestions that you might not have otherwise thought of as you walked in the store.

3. Ask for it – Again you will be amazed. Flat out ask the store if they will carry something or even special order. Some items like The Abyss from Deschutes just won’t happen but if you ask for Full Sail Session Black you just might get it. Maybe not there and then but maybe next week. And if enough people ask for it, they will regularly stock it.

4. Weather – I buy according to the weather. If it is hot (like now), I head to the pale ales and kolsch’s of the world. A great stout doesn’t have the same zing in summer as it does in winter.

5. Food – What are you eating tonight? If you are having steak, a good malty amber or brown ale might be the best bet. Or are you going to a picnic? A lighter fruit beer might be the ticket.

Harpoon Brewing

Thank goodness that people traveled to Europe after college! That is when Harpoon Founders Dan Kenary & Rich Doyle caught the beer bug and we are the better for it.

They are probably best known for their UFO Hefeweizen and their IPA but they also have a tremendous set of beers under the Leviathan banner. A big Bohemian Pilsner, an Imperial IPA, a Quad and a Baltic Porter.

And if the beer isn’t enough for you, how about this…
Harpoon Helps Missions: Each mission is different. There may be missions in Boston, Vermont, Maine, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, and Connecticut. Past missions have included sorting food at the Greater Boston Food Bank, serving meals at a soup kitchen in Portland, an American Red Cross blood drive, and volunteering at a Harpoon road race to raise money for ALS research.

Beers I had in Portland

Fort George – Vortex IPA – on a scale of 1-10, 6

Deschutes – Red Chair IPA – 6

Laurelwood – Hop Monkey – another 6

(Oregon IPA’s are getting less hoppy or my tastebuds expect more hops now)

Caldera – Pilsner – 7 1/2

Amnesia – Pale Ale – 5

Fort George – Spruce Ale – 6

Deschutes – Ocho Negro – 8

Deschutes – Armory XPA – 7