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Last updateTue, 18 Sep 2018 1pm

Beer

16 Apr 2019
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Prime barbecue season is upon us—and barbecuing lends itself to Mexican food. I’ll never look down my nose at Mexican mass-produced beer—it’s better overall than American mass-produced beer, in my opinion—but an even better sensory experience can be had with Mexican cuisine if you step up the beer game. To put it bluntly: You can do better than beers where the ads instruct you to put a wedge of lime in the bottle. (Why didn’t they just add that when they were brewing?) But I digress. Instead of just listing pairings of entrées and beer styles, it would be more helpful to summarize some of the most-common ingredients in Mexican cuisine, and explain why they might be better partners with certain types of beers: Corn: This is a staple in both Mexican food and beer. That distinct corn flavor and sweetness make Mexican beer styles an obvious choice for pairing.…
13 Mar 2019
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For the casual craft-beer drinker, it’s difficult enough to simply keep up with all of the different IPAs that keep sprouting up. Is it a New England IPA or a milkshake IPA? What is a brut IPA? Or a Southwest IPA? What’s the difference between a hoppy sour ale and a sour IPA? Thankfully, I’m here to muddy the waters by talking about obscure beer styles. Some of these have been resurrected by modern brewers who are just too damn curious and greedy (I mean that in the best way possible) to stick with known beer styles. Some brewers have even gone to great lengths to hunt down historical recipes or, at the very least, try to divine how the particular defunct style seems to have been made, and how it was supposed to taste. What follows is a list of styles that you might need to go out of…
14 Feb 2019
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An object in possession seldom retains the same charm that it had in pursuit. —Pliny the Younger (A.D. 61-113), author; imperial magistrate to Roman emperor Trajan; nephew and adopted son of the famed naturalist (among other titles) Pliny the Elder. Almost two millennia later, a man named Vinnie Cilurzo began brewing what came to be considered the first double IPA, in nearby Temecula at his small brewery called Blind Pig. Cilurzo’s name for this beer was Pliny the Elder and was based on a wives’ tale of sorts that the historical Pliny had discovered and named wild hops (lupus salictarius, which were not actually hops, it turns out). The beer itself was undeniable: Despite being brightly dank, catty, citrusy and piney from the generous amount of hops added both during the boil and after, and being 8 percent alcohol by volume, it was all well-balanced with the beer’s malt foundation.…
17 Jan 2019
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Ladies and gentlemen, residents of and visitors to the Coachella Valley: The state of craft beer in our fine desert community is … meh. Let's start where it makes the most sense: Our breweries. I'm going to need to leave much to the imagination here, because I work for one of them, and that presents a conflict of interest. As my colleagues and bosses will attest to, I would never root against any brewery here. I am a fan of craft beer first, and if all of our breweries were pumping out only great beer, that would mean more great beer for me to try. Alas, this is not the case … but it is actually trending in that direction. The truth is that there is room for all three current local breweries to grow when it comes to beer quality. Brew great beer, and I (and many others) will…
14 Dec 2018
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It’s that time of year again: Saturnalia. Sorry, I mean: Christmas. (I think this column’s new Latin name is getting to me. Although, seriously, Saturnalia—the wild ancient Roman winter festival—seems way more fun than Christmas. However, I digress.) I won’t be covering Hanukkah or Kwanzaa beers, although I have celebrated Hanukkah multiple times, because my mother’s side of the family is Jewish; therefore, according to the matrilineal tradition of Judaism, I am considered a Jew. Sadly, there is not a wealth of Hanukkah beers; that, plus my ignorance of Kwanzaa outside of Lionel Richie references in “All Night Long,” means I’m forced to stick with Yuletide-themed beers. I will be doing the very cliché thing of recommending some of favorite holiday beers to you. But isn’t that what Christmas is really about, anyway? (Yeah, yeah, there’s that Middle Eastern guy who people have carried on about for the last two…
14 Nov 2018
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The year is 1994. Nelson Mandela has been elected president of South Africa; Amazon.com is founded by Jeff Bezos; the Chunnel between France and the United Kingdom is newly opened; famed athlete and actor O.J. Simpson is in a white Ford Bronco going somewhere with his friend Al Cowlings; I am a junior at Palm Desert High School, just getting into craft beer. OK, it wasn’t yet “craft beer”; it was called “microbrew” back then, and it was beginning to gain traction with the public thanks to breweries like Samuel Adams and Sierra Nevada. Enter Erik Neiderman. He decided to be way ahead of his time, and opened the Palm Springs Brewing Company in downtown Palm Springs. To put this in some context, San Diego’s craft-beer scene was just getting under way. Today, there are more than 150 breweries in San Diego County … and three here in the desert.…

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