As any Dutiful Daughter of Brewing will tell you, there is a heady excitement around researching, via tasting and other means, the beers you plan to brew. To that end, I was forced by Best Practices to explore the Belgian Tripel, which is scheduled to be brewed this week. Peter and I bellied up to the bar at Wurstküche in Venice, California, for the tasting, and ordered up some heavenly sausages, which we slathered with brown mustard, caramelized onions, and sweet peppers. The double-dipped Belgian fries weren't bad either. Life is rough in Los Angeles, where adventurous eating and drinking habits mean a trip to the gym five days a week. Our tasting included Westmalle Tripel, Gouden Carolus, and Chimay White. We plan a return trip to continue the tasting in earnest; a woman's work is never done, and it doesn't hurt to have a buddy who is happy to compare notes with you.
Brewing beer in one-gallon batches is a blast. I can brew as often as I like and the cleanup takes 10 minutes! What's more, this type of granularity in making beer unleashes my baker's frenzy for precision. I give special thanks to my friends, who answer my seemingly hundreds of questions regarding the particulars of small-batch brewing. For this American brown, I plan to use dried mission figs soaked in Bulleit Bourbon. Whenever I use Bourbon, I think of Gwen Conley of Port Brewing/The Lost Abbey, who is a huge influence in my beer adventures.
Last Thursday, I was walking the San Francisco sidewalks and it was hot. Nick Schrader told me that Delarosa on Chestnut Street has a great craft beer selection so I bellied up to the bar and ordered a Belgian Style Farmhouse Ale, Le Merle, from North Coast Brewing. A few minutes later, a customer walked in and asked for a beer from Headlands Brewing, a local brewery. He downed the rye IPA in two gulps. When I asked him why he drank so quickly, he said, "I met the brewer and there could be a job in it for me. He suggested I try the beer." My eyes grew wide. I replied, "Don't let the brewer see you drink his beer! Not if you want the job." The bartender, who had been listening, playfully responded, "There's no wrong way to drink a beer." If you have friends with similar drinking habits or who simply want to explore tasting beer, share this video. It unearths some basics: appearance, aroma, taste, mouthfeel, and character. BTW, what would you have said to the beer-gobbling customer?
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