San Francisco, California
London, United Kingdom
Reception "Sumac Summer," Tart Belgian-Style Wheat Beer with Sumac and Coriander
1) Fried Okra, with pot marjoram, preserved meyer lemon and fenugreek
paired with -"1903," Pre-Prohibition American Style Lager
2) Beef Culotte, with early girl tomato, lobster mushroom, and fermented diable
paired with - "Cabernale," Ale aged on Cabernet Sauvignon grapes
3) A selection of American Farmhouse cheese and accompaniments
paired with "Triple White Sage (Special Cuvee)" Belgian Style Tripel with hand-harvested aromatic white sage, partially aged in steel for 12 months
4) Black Cardamon Soda Bread Pudding, with caramel cream, and blackberry
paired with "Cave Art" Sour Dark Stock Ale
"Sumac Summer" is the beer I was honored to have collaborated on with Mark. As we were targeting a "height of the summer" release, all of the recipe decisions we made were in the name of making the beer as refreshing as possible. The gravity was kept low, the beer is only about 4.5% ABV. We used a 60% wheat malt grist to complement the fruity esters given off by the two Belgian yeasts we employed and soften the beer's mouthfeel. The beer was hopped post-boil with Mt. Hood, an American grown hop developed to mimic the aroma of German noble hops. After primary fermentation Mark transferred the beer to a large oak fermenter where it stayed for roughly 2 months in the presence of native brettanomyces. With that short of an exposure the brett merely increases the volume on the already tart flavor of Sumac and emboldens some of the fruit in the nose.
*"Sumac Summer" will be making its world debut at St. Vincent on the weekend of 7/27 -7/28
"1903" is my personal favorite American-brewed, "Just Gimme A... Beer" on the planet. Gorgeous in its ego-less simplicity this beer is essentially hand-crafted Yuengling. Prior to Prohibition and rail-car distribution all of the beer we drank was brewed locally in small batches and in-turn consumed fresh. At this time many European ex-pats were attempting to re-create the beers of their homeland by brewing small-batch simple clean lagers with American ingredients like corn, six-row barley and more expressive domestic hop varietals. "1903" now takes up this tradition in era when most of the craft brewing scene seems content to cede the brewing of such beers to macro-brewers. Sadly these national brands have destroyed the style by brewing in enormous batches, using the cheapest possible ingredients and pasteurizing the final product. Tasting "1903" is a poignant illustration of what we lost by letting this happen. There is no reason every town should not have a brewery cranking out a beer like "1903."
"Cabernale" is one of Craftsman most talked about and sought after seasonal releases. More than any other traditionally fermented ale I have ever encountered this beer showcases the nuanced contribution that fruit can add to a beer. Upon harvest crushed and de-stemmed 2012 Central Coast Cabernet Sauvignon grapes were introduced to fermented beer skins and all The blend was then allowed to condition together for five months in steel. The end result is a 8.6% purple/dark red ale/wine hybrid with genuine tannin and fruit character.
* This dinner will constitute the first time this year's batch of "Cabernale" will be poured in the Bay Area
"Triple White Sage" is Craftsman's most talked about and sought after seasonal release. It also the beer that brought the brewery to my attention almost a decade ago. My first taste of "TWS" was a palate-expanding light-bulb moment for me that served to expand my definition of great beer. True to this tradition “TWS” is brewed from a grist of only pils malt and candi sugar. From there “TWS” parts from tradition by combining the characteristically expressive esters of warm, Belgian-style fermentation with the very distinct aroma of Southern, CA’s wild white sage. In lieu of aroma hops the final minutes of the boil see the introduction of copious amounts of hand-harvested white sage that Mark forages from the hills east of LA. The result is one of the most aromatically dazzling beverages I have ever put my nose in.
"Triple White Sage (Special Cuvee)" is a blend of the 2012 and 2013 batches of "TWS" that Mark is doing for the first time this year. It will be making its debut at this dinner.
*This dinner will be the first opportunity on planet earth to taste "Special Cuvee"
"Cave Art" is an Imperial Dark Stock Ale, not totally divergent from the sour Old Ales traditional London area breweries and pubs might have blended into mild Porters and Small Beers to create what was called "The Entire Butt." The beer is over 10% ABV and absolutely bone-dry. It has acquired an intense tart character from spending 14 months in a large oak tank with a variety of wild yeasts and bacteria.
*We are proud to say thatSt. Vincent reamins the only place in the Bay Area that has ever poured "Cave Art"