As I said last week, I am going to have a recurring feature on the blog (which I am very excited about). I have two FANTASTIC people whom I love dearly, writing about their experiences with beer, now that they live out in California. I would like to introduce you (sort of) to Beatnik and McMatherson. I wanted to make sure that you had some background on these two, so I sent Beatnik some questions.
Getting to know Beatnik and McMatherson (or the west coast team)
What was your first beer “a-ha” moment? When you decided you loved beer?
I think it was when I decided to order a Guinness ..I may be aging myself here, but back in the early 21 and up days of my life all that was available typically was your cheap domestic easy drinking beers. Guinness was the antithesis of anything offered typically at the time.
What are your top 3 favorite beer styles to drink?
Dunkleweiss, Imperial Stout, and Dark Ale in that order...
Do you homebrew?
I've done wine, but I have yet to do beer...
What are your top 3 favorite breweries, either to drink, or to visit?
Right now, Russian River (Santa Rosa Ca.), Three Floyds (Munster In.), and Ayinger brewery (Aying Germany)
In your opinion, what are some of the best resources (books, websites, programs, institutions etc…) for people learning about beer and brewing beer?
BeerAdvocate is great for getting a bead on a beer, although it's ultimately your own opinion that stands the final test...I'm also a fan of reddit's homebrewing section. If you type reddit homebrew in google it'll pop up.
What beer would you give someone to get them “hooked” on beer?
I would probably do "La Fin Du Monde" by Unibroue, or "Ayinger HefeWeiss" by Ayinger...both easier drinking varieties that are much more complex then your typical bar beer.
Any words of advice to people who are just starting to get involved with beer?
Enjoy the experience around the beer, just not the beer itself...look into the history, the people, and the notion of why they put those ingredients together. It makes a great story.
What is the beer culture like in California? Is it much different from the Chicago region?
Well out here, they are all about the hoppy beers...it's the number one focus. Although out here most of the hoppy beers tend to be less bitter and more floral...unlike many I've encountered in the midwest. As for the people, they follow craft just as rabidly as those in the Midwest...but they do also share a love of wine as well naturally. It's not the Beer vs. Wine battle royal I would have thought. In fact, anything that pushes the limits be it wine, beer, or culinary cocktail...is rewarded handily.
How do you choose how to pair food with beer? (and will you share some recipes with us?)
There's one of two ways for a great symbiotic pairing. You have the pairings that rely on choosing ingredients that may be similar in make-up (is there raisins in the beer and the dish?) or in volume (lighter beers with fish, darker beers with meaty items). And then the more uncommon approach is you have beers that balance the meal. This takes much more time in the sense of menu preparation because you are counter pointing the menu and including the beer as one of the ingredients of dish...for example if you have an overly sweet dish, a hoppy bitter beer may bring a balance when married with this...Or if you have astringent items you may go with a more savory beer.
As for recipes....time will tell :)