The concept of a house wine is entrenched in restaurant culture, but the idea of a house beer is less prevalent. If you find yourself in one of restaurateur Josef Centeno’s four establishments in DTLA, you will run across the same beer on each tap list: BacöBeer.
SoLArc Brewing brews the beer for the restaurants. Considering the strangeness of most SoLArc beers, BacöBeer is pretty straightforward, a single-hop (Mosaic) IPA that has an addition of sumac berries. Thanks to the beer maven, Genevieve Hardison, I was able to taste the beer and see how it paired with four totally different foods at Bacö Mercat, Ledlow, Bar Ama and Orsa & Winston.
Each restaurant centers around 4th & Main and has a different cuisine focus so this was a stern test for the beer. First stop at Bacö Mercat paired the IPA with a beef tongue schnitzel bacö with harissa. The strength of the beer held up to the big and bold flavors of the sandwich while also adding a touch of berry accented bitterness.
The second course at the next door, Ledlow, worked less effectively (see the Beer of the Week, below) because the chicken liver mousse was too delicate and the kumquat gastrique fought the hops to a standstill. A few steps away, BacöBeer was back in fine form, holding off the onslaught of chile heat from peel ‘n’ eat shrimp.
Last stop was next door at the Japanese tinged Orsa & Winston where again the lightness and silkiness of the dish, in this case bone marrow on amazake toast, didn’t quite fit the beer though the Japanese beer, The Carpenter’s Mikan from Baird Brewing, was fantastic. Satsuma orange flavors melded with the greens garnish to great effect.
You might not want to make four stops in one night but maybe plan to try all four next month and see what dish you think the beer pairs the best with.
The Beer of the Week was paired with Ledlow’s chicken liver mousse toast with kumquat gastrique. You might expect something fancy or filled with crazy ingredients, but it was the opposite. A straight up German lager, Edelstoff from Augustiner Brau, was sparkling and alive with just malt, water, hops and yeast. This is the perfect antidote to our IPA world.
Your Homework is to pick up the phone and dial 1-855-LA-Beers. You will also need a question ready about beer, or beer in Los Angeles, because L.A. Beer Hop proprietor Hal Mooney is manning the phone and ready to answer all sorts of questions about beer. Past questions have included: “What beer would you serve to Arnold Schwarzenegger?” and “What is the best beer and burger combination?”
Find more of Sean Inman’s writing on his blog, Beer Search Party.