from other writers – Part 2 – CraftBeer.Com in LA

People are starting to see that L.A. is a destination for beer lovers as well as people who enjoy driving in traffic.

Now that will be even more evident when you read this piece on L.A.’s noteworthy beer bars and gastropubs that is online at the main craft beer website hub CraftBeer.Com.

It is an excellent primer for those new to our beer and also a reminder for those old hands of places that you should probably re-visit.

This will make Thanksgiving Better

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There are people whose brains I would like to download. and thanks to the Beer & Food Course a 60-page digital manual that you can download. You can get the combined food and beer wisdom of Co-authors chef Adam Dulye, Brewers Association culinary consultant and Julia Herz, craft beer program director at the Brewers Association.

The download is “constructed as a five-day course that offers an introduction to the beverage of craft beer, pairing beer with food and how to pour and present beer at the table.” But don’t let that format or target market scare you off.  This document has got a lot of good info.  Especially once you get past the beer style and brewing 101 information.  Though that too is helpful if you haven’t run across it before.

My suggestion is to check out the sections like this, which I sort of knew, but hadn’t read in one spot before:

Palate Interactions Between Craft Beer and Food

• Hop bitterness is balanced and settled on the palate by the addition of fat.

• Roasted malt notes are matched on the palate by sweetness.

• Carbonation is intensified by increasing the umami of a dish.

• Alcohol is calmed on the palate by both sweetness and fat.

• Notable malt flavor profiles match well with acidity.

• Hop aromas are transferred to the palate when paired with sweet aromas.

• Sweet malt notes calm spice on the palate.

• Hop bitterness enhances notes of spice.

• Carbonation is an effective tool to cleanse lighter fats.

It is a quick read and has a good section on beer and cheese as well.  So check it out.

How Many Stars? posted an editorial on its site that I think might ruffle the feathers of the tickers out there as well as the hop lovers and anything barrel-aged crowd.  You can read the article by Chris McClellan in it’s entirety HERE.

The hypothesis being that beer ratings are creating hype and driving less thoughtful beer purchases.

Now I haven’t been in a crowd that bought up a particular beer before a single mote of dust could sully the bottle (or can) and I am an ex whale chaser. So I am not privy to the mind of current beer hunters and thus more prone to give a “hallelujah” when McClellan asks us to not “let your phone tell you what your taste buds already know about your preferences.”

But I think that it isn’t the rating website that causes the problem. Sure there is bias a plenty when it comes to ranking pilsners vs IPAs but that is more the fault of the people who buy into it.

And in the connected age the people buying in seem to value their opinion less than the groupthink. I have reviewed a fair number of beers on my preferred site, Ratebeer and I have noticed that if I even glance at the score or read a previous review that my score and review might be affected.

Maybe my loathing of star ratings on Amazon or Yelp makes me an outlier but I prefer to make my decision first and then solicit opinion second. But I fear that others faced with a daunting variety of beers do not take the time to do that.

Which I find strange. I think it is easier to develop a coterie of friends or beer blogs to help guide beer choices that you can absolutely trust vs. hoping that a random sampling of strangers will provide you a better selection from the cooler.

But I think we can all agree that it is best to take your time with a beer and enjoy it and not always be playing the ratings game.

Craft Beer & Craft Food – another look


The Brewer’s Association and their associated Craft website came to Abbot Kinney Boulevard last Tuesday, and they brought a bevy of brewers with them from all across the country.

Why?  Because they want to show that beer should be on the dining table and cooked with at home and at restaurants.  Like the Tasting Kitchen in Venice which served up a five course meal that would change even the most light American lager buyers heart.  And certainly filled my stomach and changed my way of thinking of pairing beer with food.


The evening started with a hybrid hefe-wit canned by Karbach Brewing in Texas.  Weisse Versa took aspects from both styles and created a nice summery beer that was a great way to ease into the evening that was curated by Julia Herz from the Brewer’s Association, Chef Adam Dulye from Monk’s Kettle in San Francisco who is also the culinary consultant for the association and Chef Casey from Tasting Kitchen.

Then the first surprise was unveiled when the first course was accompanied by not one but two beers.  Usually it is one beer that is chosen to either “juxtapose” against the dish or “delve” into the flavors with a similar set in the beer.  The plan this night was to have each different beer have a hook into a different ingredient or part of the course.


The “a-ha!” example of this was the brown butter ravioli.  The Abita Amber from New Orleans tied itself to the caramelization in the pasta and added a level of malty sweetness while the Crystal Bitter from No-Li Brewhouse in Spokane, Washington attached itself to the garlic blossoms in the dish.

It also succeeded to a slightly lesser degree with the Speck and Melon with La Blonde from Ladyface and Colorado Kolsch from Steamworks.  And with the Bistecca Fiorentina paired with olive oil and two radically different IPA’s.  The Pupil from San Diego’s Societe and a Rye IPA from Harpoon in New England.

This method really showcases the variety of beer more than any expert can do in a book or that I can reiterate over and over in multiple blog posts..  The shortcoming to it is that you get full a lot quicker. Plus it also increases the complexity of choosing the beer for the chef and beer staff.  It’s hard enough with so many options available now to pick one that us opinionated beer geeks can agree on.


Food and craft beer was the focus of the evening but the side dish (as it were) was both talking to the brewers and the reps who were there and eavesdropping on them as they struck up conversations with compatriots they had and had not met before.  Each brewery was allotted time to talk about the beer that was being presented and about the brewery itself.  Though the space upstairs was loud, the opportunity to meet the head brewer at Bridgeport or talk to Mark from Great Lakes about the scene in Cleveland is priceless.  And it was great to have Cyrena from Ladyface in the house representing the Los Angeles scene.

I have been reading a history of wine and it is only within the last couple hundred of years that wine became the beverage of choice at restaurants and beer was pushed to ale houses and taverns.  And as with much of history it was more by chance and timing and economics than it was due to which would improve a meal.

Today is beer on the interwebs day. Because you shouldn’t just take my word for it. There are plenty of web voices about beer that we all should listen to. So here is the first site you should bookmark…
…. You can visit this Brewers Association created site at

There are featured breweries, beer and food pairing suggestions and a boatload of information and it is presented in a very classy way with a soothing color palate and layout.