If you’re like, really, way into local beer but Orange County still seems like a schlep (yes, we’re lazy Angelenos), you’ll want to make it over to Steingarten on the Westside for some tap takeover action by one of our favorites, The Bruery.
Something special is coming up on Sunday – it’s so special it’s “to die for,” and luckily there are a few tickets left, so grab them quick. Yet again, there’s something brewing down in Long Beach – but for this 11th installment of Dionicess, you can forget it being holiday themed, and instead Walking Dead themed. Zombie themed. What-have-you.
To match, the series has been temporarily renamed as “Die”-nisis and will be serving food to accommodate their vision, including food and beer inspired by corpses, skeletons, brains and all of the above. Though they say it’s a 5-course dinner, if you’re familiar at all with their events, you know there will be some extras.
I’m always game for a Dionicess event. What that means is, pairings of top-notch brews with delicious food. But this time, the ante has been upped and the result looks toÂ surpass anyone and everyone’s expectations.
Late February’s extravaganzaÂ yields not one meal but two – in the same day. It’s Placentia-based Famille Rue’s brewery, The Bruery, taking center stage at The Foundry on Melrose. I think the only way to do justice to this amazing event is toÂ go for all 10 courses and make a day of it, because $115 is sooo worth Chef Greenspan’s amazing food, alone.
And the beer. At this event, only, will you be able to experience 2 beers not normally distributed past The Orange Curtain plus 3 others that are limited release or non-release special edition brews. The Bruery is one of my favorite local breweries – or anywhere – and along with their Provisions store, ties my dentist as the most common reason I will make a drive to Orange County.
Take a gander at the menu below for what is in store on this day:
Duck Breast â€œReubenâ€ / mustard / sauerkraut (Rugbrod)
Dark Chocolate Crepes / burnt orange marmalade / cinnamon and nutella ice cream (Very Rare Dessert Beer)
If you have scheduling conflicts and must only go to either lunch or dinner, separate pricing options are available. So go forth and reserve your space now, because spots will fill up! And do report back so I can live vicariously. Loves are loves,Â and this love of beer and food unfortunately conflicts with my love of snowboarding (I’ve committed to Colorado).
Sunday, February 27, 2010
Tickets: Lunch – $45 (1 PM) Dinner – $85 (6 PM) Both (no repetition in course or brew) – $115
The Foundry on Melrose 7465 Melrose Avenue. Los Angeles, CA 90046
It’s a beautiful thing when you can find a beer – or, what’s more, an entire beer culture – right in our own backyard. And the latter became increasingly evident as L.A. Beer Week events were curated andÂ celebrated around the city. It was a beautiful thing to witnessÂ Angelenos walking away from events, bars and gatherings ever moreÂ appreciativeÂ and knowledgable about suds the past ten days.
Now, there were plenty more people with better stamina than I who attended probably double or even quadruple the number of events that I did – and props to you whether you’re also press or aÂ beer distributor by trade. Whatever the degree of which you decided to participate, one thing was certain: Beer Week is an exciting time to be in Los Angeles. Here’s why:
You may witness a celebrity chef’s decision toÂ revamp his beer program. Nobody is exempt from learning – nobody – andÂ at the first ever Dogfish Head beer dinner held in Los Angeles, Chef Eric Greenspan confessed that his appreciation for craft beers has been renewed since his college brewing days. Now, at The Foundry on Melrose, you can findÂ a highlightedÂ craft beer for the month paired with an entree expressly by Chef Greenspan, himself.
You get to experience the evolution of aÂ dessert that just a couple years ago never even existed. Yes,Â I’m talking aboutÂ the now-popularÂ beer float. There were fourÂ such creative renditions of beer floats at Food GPS’ Beer Float Showdown II with Boneyard Bistro‘s Floris Apple with salted Bourbon and cinnamon ice cream taking the prize. A close second was Simmzy’s cherry pie rendition … oh, was it so hard to vote for the winner!!
It’s a great occasion to try an L.A. beer you’ve never tried and/or visit an L.A.Â pubÂ you have never been to. Beer is really hot in L.A. right now, and Beer Week is only helping. One only needs toÂ reference theÂ entrance of The Bruery a couple years ago and Eagle Rock Brewery one year ago into the foray. Or the opening of Nibble Bit Tabby just last Spring. Naja’s Place, the place where all beer taps go to heaven, ranks up there as one of the only reasons I will visit the South Bay.
You get to experience food-beer pairings that blow your mind. Like the Dogfish Head Sah’tea paired with Chef Greenspan’s Smoked Cod Brandade with potato, cauliflower and eggplant. The juniper berries, black tea, cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and black pepper in the Sah’tea were highlighted so well against the salty brandade (yet tempered by the cauliflower and eggplant), I’m salivating just thinking about it again. Another mind-blowing pairing was the Hot Knivez‘s Brugge Rodenbach cherry-ciabatta grilled cheese paired with The Bruery’s Oude Tart, a sour Red Ale which had dark fruit and oak notes that matched the Rodenbach-soakedÂ cherries in the homemade ciabatta so deliciously. The Hot Knivez-Bruery Symposium at Verdugo Bar was another delightful event.
You may have dibs on theÂ first batch – of something – to exist or hit the West Coast. The beer industry knows that L.A. Beer Week is the place to be, so you best know it, too. The Delawareans at Dogfish Head sent over its 10% ABV Burton Baton, an oak-aged old ale and Imperial IPA blend, to Los Angeles just for this event.
You get to try rare beers you have never tried – or even heard of – before. File this under Category: Obvious. Yesterday, at the culiminating event of all L.A. Beer Week events, the Union Station party in which you got unlimited 4 oz. pours for $40, you could taste a Samuel Adams sour ale in one sip and Craftsman Triple Sage in the next – with Victory Brewing Company’s version of Saison du Buff in the next. Be sure to walk around the party with at least one beer geek on hand (and mini stein in the other)Â to expedite the best recommendations and tastes to your lips.
It’s an exciting time for beer right now in L.A., and with this being only the second beer week – and a super successful one – I can see the excitement only growing. And brewing. 😉 I’d like to thank everyone I’ve bumped into along the way for making it a great few days to suds it up. There’s really nothing like great beer and great company.
It all started out with a contest. Hot Knivez, the beer-loving, meat-hating blogger-chefs in town, sent other bloggers and me a proposal. Said the email in my inbox: Pair cheese with beer. And write about it. If we love it, the winner with the best post will get to attend a private beer-cheese pairing symposium at Verdugo Bar with The Bruery.
I love a challenge, and beer and cheese are two of my favorite things. Factor in Verdugo and The Bruery, and I am yours.Â I am a native Wisconsinite-turned-Angeleno, after all. Thankfully, Barrie Lynn Krich of The Cheese Impresario came to my aid by reconnecting me with my roots and her supply from Wisconsin cheese-makers.
Of course, the fun part was coming up with the control – the beer that would be lucky enough to have so much lactic love paid to it. Inspired by a particular Orange County-San Diego beer tour in which I discovered the wonders of sour ales, I found Russian River Valley’s Consecration within walking distance of home. Just knowing there was good beer stock so near was really the icing on the cake. It wasn’t the only sour ale but indeed probably one of the most approachable ones I’ve ever had. It isn’t a beer to smack you upside the head with overpowering citrus. In the 10% ABV Consecration is a blend of five different beers, including dark malts, which are then aged in Cabernet Sauvignon barrels for 4-8 months. Tobacco and fruit are prominent notes, particularly cherry (oh, look at that: currants are added). Carbonation comes from having fermented the beer in the very bottle it comes packaged in – and this further adds punch to its sour, my tasters and I found. Not only was it fun to pair this particular beer with cheese, it served as a palate cleanser as we went from candidate to candidate. Perfect.
Barrie Lynn had given me five cheeses in all,Â which rangedÂ in funkiness with the intention of standing a chance against the sour ale’s…well, sour properties. We tried the first, aptlyÂ nicknamed “Cheese Sex,” – which was an agedÂ cheese spread, or aÂ blend of Widmers Aged Brick Cheese and aged cheddar. No, it wasn’t funky.Â Yes, it was divine; it reminded my friends andÂ me of a really well-executed version of the cheese in the HandysnacksÂ cheese and crackers snack pack we all got in our lunches as kids. That is, probably the best execution that we had never dreamed of. (Seth noted as a parallelÂ that we’re still waiting for the gourmet chicken nugget.) Don’t underestimate the Cheese Sex, okay? As far as a pairing, however, Consecration – and probably any other sour ale – overpowered the dream. The beer was too strong for even its slightly salty aftertaste, but all the same, I could understand why this spread is in such high demand, as evidenced by the sliver we were given. There be rations!
The next cheese candidateÂ was Italico, which was appropriately named because it reminded us of mozzarella. It was an ivory-colored cheese and was even milder than the Aged Brick Spread – without any finish at all. It was almost like there wasn’t any cheese at all. After some research, I found that Italico is better paired with fruit. Truly, there would be stronger cheeses that could hold their own in this tasting.
What better way to celebrate and benefit a charity like Real Medicine FoundationÂ than to pair pizzas with beer? Real Medicine is a charity which provides humanitarian support to people affected by disaster, post-war, and poverty – and Gev Kazanchyan & Stone Brewing Co. led the charge for their benefit one Sunday afternoon at Citysip, a local wine bar located in Echo Park on Sunset. The result was an impressive $1000 check towards research whereby we guests tasted delicious beers with pizzas delivered fresh every single round by Tomato Pie.
We started out with a palate cleanser – Stone Levitation Ale. I don’t know if it’s so much a palate cleanser so much as a beer that simply tastes good. But sure, it’s not heavy – still is a Stone (i.e. strong) brew so it has some weight to it -Â and therefore, a good beer to whet the senses.
The first Tomato Pie pie came out, which was of a breakfast sort with bacon, sausage, spinach, white onion and egg as toppings. I can usually eat breakfast any time of day yet – lo and behold – I had been sleeping on a cemetery lawn a few hours prior. It seemed a proper way to wake amongst the dead. But Stone’s Smoked Porter is one of my favorite beers, and it was a nice, rich start to the tasting and matched the sausage on the pizza well.
The task was simple: Drink beer all day. The task would have also been daunting, perhaps, if not for good company. Indeed, beer tours necessitate teamwork; that is, if you plan to do one well. I joined Joshua of FoodGPS and cohorts in Silver Lake, where we launched from and headed behind the Orange Curtain – Placentia.
For a city whose name I’ve questioned from the get-go, they have a heavyweight yet small craft brewery aptly named “The Bruery” (for family name “Rue”). It’s housed inside – yes, you’ve guessed it – an industrial office park. And what an oasis of fine craft brews it is, a reprieve from Orange County sun and concrete-asphalt wasteland. One can get 4-oz pours for a mere $4-5 – well worth the trip if not already in The OC.
I really enjoyed my first pour, the Snicklefritz (above, center). It was spicy yet refreshing and had good balance for a golden ale at 9.2% ABV. The Orchard White (left) was also very good as a citrusy Belgian but it was probably premature weather-wise for the Autumn Maple (right). Who are these SoCal-ers kidding about “autumn?” It is a heavier beer, obviously with maple syrup as a brewing ingredient, so I will probably have to find a location in the mountains that serves it when the snow starts falling. It’s also brewed with “17 lbs of yams per barrel” which would also explain its weight.