Monday is here, and it’s time to start another week. Pick of the Weekend is our weekly post where we recap our favorite brews of the weekend past.
New glassware, an old favorite, and the beer of my ancestral homeland in this edition of Pick of the Weekend.
For an early birthday present I was given a pair of the Spiegelau IPA glasses – the ones that were designed in partnership with Dogfish Head and Sierra Nevada, and I excitedly tried them out with some freshly bottles Melrose IPA from Beachwood Brewing.
I actually had second thoughts about using the Beachwood IPA for the initial test of the glasses designed to maximized the hop aroma of IPAs; Gabe (founder of Beachwood) and Julian (Brewmaster) are known for their somewhat controversial position on IPA glassware, and they recommend using a standard American pint glass for IPAs. Their reasoning, especially with Julian’s intensely hopped IPAs, is that any glass that is designed to concentrate aromas will over-whelm your nose and you won’t be able to pick out the more subtle aromas in the IPA’s profile. Their preference ignored, I filled the strangely-shaped IPA glass with the pungent brew.
I’ll have more thoughts on the specialty glassware in the future after some more experience with it, but in my limited, unscientific testing I really enjoyed the glass. Even more so, I enjoyed the Beachwood IPA! The layered and nuanced hop character in the beer is nearly unrivaled. Seek out bottles of this one, and drink it while it’s fresh! Hop heads will not be disappointed.
On Sunday, the taps – and new back patio – at Beer Belly were taken over by Tomm Carroll and a long list of new wave Italian craft beers. It’s a rare treat to see any of these unique brews – many using spices, herbs, and other creative ingredients – around, and Tomm and Jimmy had assembled over a dozen varieties on draught and in bottles. We sampled everything from our favorite Italian beer (and the inspiration for Firestone Walker’s Pivo Pils) – Tipopils, to a delicious wheat saison. The latter brew, Enkir from Birra del Borgo, was particularly refreshing and delicious.
Tomm Carroll is a long-time fixture on the LA craft beer scene, and he’s extremely knowledgeable about the Italian craft beer movement (as well as just about everything else beer-related), and it was great to have him on-hand to talk us through our flight and provide insight on the brewers behind the beers. To me, the most interesting aspect of the Italian beers was how few of them hewed close to traditional styles. There’s much more than Peroni and Moretti being made in Italian Birrificios!
100% The Best
A bottle that I’d stashed in the back of the beer fridge for a special occasion ended up in the recycling bin on Saturday morning. I love sour beers, and krieks are some of my favorite of the style because of the unique bitterness that they can have. To me, the best krieks are those that have a pronounced bitterness on the back of the tongue from the fermentation breaking-down the cherry pits. A completely difference sensation than hop bitterness or the bitterness provided by roasted malts, the almond-like bitterness is a perfect counter-point to the fierce tartness of a kriek, and Brouwerij Cantillon makes my favorite one.
Deep ruby with a fluffy pink head that quickly disappears, the Kriek 100% Lambic isn’t a beer that I’d want to drink every day (okay, I probably would), and it is one of those brews that reminds me just how much is possible when brilliant brewers mix grains and yeasts.
Tough to find but worth the hunt, Cantillon Kriek is one of my all-time favorite beers. Now, if I could just find a bottle of the Lou Pepe version that uses twice as many cherries!