It takes a special brewery for me to include 5, yes, 5 of their beers in my 100 beers. 30 days. challenge! And that brewery, folks, is The Bruery in Placentia, California. Committed to creating beers "with character and depth" and utilizing "unconventional ingredients", The Bruery pushes the envelope of beer in the most delicious way. And I knew with their lineup of Belgian-style offerings, a field trip up the road was in order.
When I was told that New Brew Thursday was hosting a Master Pairings with Dr. Bill and Anat Baron from BEER WARS at the Whole Foods in nearby Tustin Saturday, it was a no-brainer! Meeting Anat was an honor. I found her an incredibly engaging and kind woman, whose insights were wonderfully helpful to me. For the event, Dr. Bill fashioned a delicious beer and cheese pairing:
Hopf Helle Weise with Purple Haze from Cypress Grove Chevre: The wonderful clove and banana notes of the beer complement the creaminess of the lavender and fennel pollen dusted Purple Haze, which is both tart and sweet.
Saison du Pont with Chimay Biere cheese: The earth and citrus of the Saison pick up the earthy funk of the cheese, while the citrus brightens the creaminess.
Humboldt Hemp Ale with Unie Kass 5 year Gouda: Mmm, aged Gouda. I love its caramel and nutty flavors. The Hemp ale also had strong notes of the same, so it was a lovely pairing.
North Coast Old Rasputin with Point Reyes Blue: One of my favorite blues, the Point Reyes is mild, creamy, and downright delicious. The Old Rasputin's coffee notes come to the forefront with this pairing.
Stone 2009 Old Guardian with Bourough Market Stilton and the 5 year Gouda: The fruity notes of the beer, apricot, peach, and nectarine bring the earthiness of the Stilton into relief. When paired with the Gouda, the fruity aspects of the cheese emerge, along with its lovely caramel sweetness. Wonderful!
After a satisfied tummy, it was on to The Bruery:
7 Grain Saison: 5% ABV: Talk about an easy drinker! And you guessed it, 7 grains were used in production: barley, wheat, rice, oats, corn, rye and spelt. Will this be the beer equivalent of one my favorites, 7 grain bread? I sure hope so!
And of course, it does not disappoint. That wonderful complex grain character shows in both the nose and palate. But it remains mild and balanced. This is one for a hot summer day. Not very yeasty, this might be a perfect brew to start guiding people over to Belgian beers....
Orchard White (Witbier): 5.7% ABV: Vibrant spice, with tons of lavender on the nose, like walking through the gorgeous purple fields of Provence. Have you ever had lavender ice cream or creme brulee? It's like that, seriously. Meaning there is a complexity beyond just the floral aspect. An almost creamy, fuller depth to the profile. So I ask Dr. Bill, with what would you pair this interesting and unusual beer? His answer: Chevre, sweet stone crab, and halibut. Perfect!
Saison de Lente: 6.5% ABV: Lighter than the Saison Rue, this is a Saison for the summer, sitting outside, and enjoying the sunshine. Spicy, with white pepper and herb on the nose and palate. Nice and drying on the palate, with a refreshing hoppiness. This one goes down easy, yet has enough complexity to keep your interest throughout the experience.
Saison Rue: 8.5% ABV: Tons of fall, autumnal spices. Meaning cinnamon, allspice, and other baking spices. It reminded me of those wonderful Southern Christmas shops where cinnamon brooms, spice candles, and baking-scented potpourri wafts through the air. Add to that fascinating notes of anise, lemon mint candy, spearmint and eucalyptus. I reallllly like this brew. Will be drinking many more of these!
Trade Winds Tripel: 8.1% ABV: Wow, incredibly complex and interesting. Every time I stick my nose in the glass, I get new aromas! The Thai Basil used in the boil definitely shows itself on both the nose and palate, with the addition of cardamon pod, marzipan, candy shell, and dried pineapple. But, I tell you, I needed help on this one. There were so many notes, it was hard for me to nail them all down!
Looking forward to trying the expanding range of beers from The Bruery. They are a brilliant brewery producing inventive and delicious beers, and are quickly becoming one of my favorites.
And a special thank you to New Brew Thursday for a fantastic event at Whole Foods!