Beer Dinner Review – Lost in the Woods

I did not know that Pedaler’s Fork in Calabasas was not only a restaurant but also a bike shop and coffee spot as well. Plus it was the host of a beer pairing dinner with the challenging foudre based beers of New Belgium Brewing.
Thanks to the generosity of New Belgium, I was able to learn more on the Art (and Science) of Beer and Food pairing with the challenging and damn tasty, sour beers from the Fort Collins Foeder Forest.

Course # 1 – Shrimp Pasta with Black Pepper Nage and Pea Tendrils paired with Transatlantique Kriek
This was an odd choice. The bright and tart cherry from the Kriek was dulled by the cream and salt of the shrimp and the pasta. The cherry didn’t get a chance to shine and would have been better served with a salad that had some cheese and nuts in it. The ravioli were quite good as was the sauce and the beer was fantastic (my second favorite of the night) but combined they just didn’t add anything.

Course # 2 – Braised Pork Shoulder with Charred Celeriac Puree and Dried Apricot Sauce paired with La Folie Sour Brown
Now this worked! The light touch of apricot with the pork really found a willing partner in the La Folie which added a tart bite and notes of barrel wood to the food.

Course # 3 – Chocoloate Mousse Cake with Chocolate-Blackberry Ice Cream and Blackberry Sauce paired with NBB Love
First off, this beer is beyond excellent. It was so good. Subtle whiskey mixing with tart and a bit of blackberry as well. The chocolate mousse was fine. But in comparison it was the undercard of the dessert course. I had the cake and had sips of the beers and it was fine but it didn’t light a fire. A blackberry sorbet or gelato with chocolate cookies might have been stronger.
Kudos to New Belgium though for the thoughtful swag though. A really cool wood coaster with the Lost in the Woods logo, a napkin with the logo and a keychain bottle opener with wood and metal too. SO much better than a glass. Well done.

Review – Bell’s Beer Dinner @ Bourbon Steak


I have driven by and walked past the Bourbon Steak restaurant at the Americana at Brand quite a few times now and always wondered what it was like inside.  And on Friday night, I was presented with the perfect opportunity to find out.  (Full disclosure and tease of an opinion piece coming tomorrow, I had a media pass for the dinner)

Beer pairing dinners, for me, always have that item that you don’t like (for me it was the raw fish), an item that you don’t think will pair well with beer (Pad Thai) and an item that you know will be a home run (peaches, ricotta and Oarsman ale).

This was the 1st such beer pairing dinner for Bourbon Steak and partnering with Bell’s Brewing is a strong head start.  They have a wide variety of beers and aren’t loaded down with IPA’s which are notoriously hard to work with.

As expected the first course with the quasi/neo/sorta Berliner Weisse Oarsman was an excellent opening salvo to the night.  The cream and especially the cheese and the fruit were in marked contrast to the slight tartness of the beer.


Skipping over the raw fish course though, let’s go straight to the beer for that course, Oberon.  I learned the proper pouring technique from the Bell’s crew.  Pour the beer into your glass, swirl the bottle (or can) and get some of that yeasty sediment going.  That way you get a nice cloudy Oberon filled glass.

Course three was a trio of pork with (2!) beers to compare and contrast.  Amber Ale and the famous Two-Hearted Ale.  The pork was delicious any way Bourbon Steak presented it.  So much so that the food overpowered the beer.  I thought the sausage with the Two-Hearted worked the best because it was a battle of spice on hop.  The gentle amber with some tea notes was better as an after the course beer.

Then it was on to the steak and I really loved it.  Yes, it was oversalted but it melted on the tongue brilliantly.  Pure luxury.  And it came from a family farm that has been in business for a long time.  The Pad Thai noodles were also a bit on the salt side but paired so well with the licorice tinged Kalamazoo Stout.  A pairing that I thought would clash like boxers in a ring.  The stout dulled the salt and added that licorice bitter note that pulled the whole thing together.

I was dead full by this point.  Beer is a much more varied and interesting pairing partner for food but the downside is that it fills you up.  I so wanted to polish off the S’mores dessert which was excellent but I just couldn’t.  The Double Cream Stout played well with the chocolate which brought out more coffee ground flavors from the beer but it wasn’t a Wow pairing.  With each bite, I rotated through other Bell’s beers to see what would bring out more.


The verdict? – The sommelier at Bourbon Steak is a beer fan and if the Flat Iron is any indication, you will get a seriously good steak here and have some solid if not horribly exciting beer choices.  With $4 happy hour beers.  They also have a monthly “Down the Hatch” series which focuses on a tasting of different types of drinks.  August covered Digestifs and maybe a beer-centric tasting will be happening in future months.  But if Bourbon Steak puts on another beer dinner, buy it.  $55 plus tip is a steal for the amount of food and beer that you get.



Hops for Hopes

One of the charities that benefits from L.A. Beer Week doesn’t stop there. They have a November event (the 10th to be precise) at Santa Anita Race Track at 6:30 sharp. A beer pairing dinner. Check out their website and see if it strikes your fancy.

The York + Firestone/Walker =

where you need to be next week.

Here are the details:
“The incomparable Highland Park gastropub, The York will be hosting the second of what what will surely be a series of beer dinners on February 24th… with Firestone Walker Brewing Company!

Chef/bon vivant/all around good guy, Dimitri, will be announcing the full menu next week, but look for 5 courses, each paired with 5-6 oz. of Firestone’s beers. Beers lines up include Velvet Merkin, Union Jack and more…

The cost is $40 and includes all the food and beer.”

Jace from Firestone will be there to talk beer with the locals, and giving away some swag for the raffle.

Reservations available by calling (323) 255-9675 or