Blending has become big on the barrel-aged craft beer scene. Firestone Walker Brewing Co. and their Anniversary beers leap to mind as do the Gueuzes of Belgium that combine the young and old versions of Lambic into a whole new entity.
But what about blending beers that people are meant to drink separate?
That was the directive during a recent beer blogger assignment from The Session. The Boak and Bailey blog wanted bloggers to make their own traditional beer mix. The challenge highlighted examples to try:
In his 1976 book “Beer and Skittles” early beer writer Richard Boston lists several blends:
Lightplater – bitter and light ale.
Mother-in-law — old and bitter.
Granny — old and mild.
Boilermaker — brown and mild.
Blacksmith –stout and barley wine.
Half-and-half – bitter and stout, or bitter and mild.
Being in Los Angeles and without a huge pool of authentic English ales to pull from, I decided to go California in my beer mix and chose Eagle Rock Brewery Solidarity and Figueroa Mountain Brewing Company Davy Brown Ale. To make a modified British Boilermaker sans a shot of whiskey.
Both brought different aspects to the table. Solidarity had lovely strong notes of chocolate and vanilla while the Davy Brown, though higher in alcohol, brought a lightness and crispness. I tasted both beers separately to give myself a baseline and though it was not a drastic difference, it was interesting to see how the two melded together to create something new.
This British Boilermaker reminded me of the Rotten Orange, which is comprised of 1/2 Orange Wheat and 1/2 Alt-Bier from Hangar 24. Or another Eagle Rock concoction, Populee, which is part Populist IPA and part Jubilee Winter Warmer. Blending is not something that I do often, but it is something to keep in the back of your mind to experiment with. Maybe make your own version of Black IPA or your own California Black and Tan.
The Beer of the Week is brewed at King Harbor Brewing in Redondo Beach, but it may change ingredients if you aren’t attentive. The Quest series of single hop pale ales started with the New Zealand hop, Rakau. I arrived one Saturday to find the El Dorado hopped version. You will be seeing Mosaic, Hallertauer Blanc and Huell Melon hop versions in the future. Whichever you order, you now have a reason to go back and visit again.
Your Homework is to do some beer and burger research. What beers do you think pairs with a classic burger or the more outlandish creations that you can find around Los Angeles? I tried the architecturally themed Blueprint burger at Plan Check on Fairfax which included blue cheese, candied bacon, pepper cress and sauce with an equally strong a Wolf Among Weeds from Golden Road Brewing. What would you match with it?
Find more of Sean Inman’s writing on his blog, Beer Search Party.
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