Tender Greens, the seasonal, socially conscious, eco-friendly chain from Erik Oberholtzer, Matt Lyman and David Dressler, continues to stack up customers in California. Yes, it takes systems for a fast casual concept to grow, but one of the reasons I appreciate the company is because they give chefs opportunities to showcase their individual talents, whether that’s Pete Balistreri, who makes salumi in Point Loma, or Eric Hulme, a homebrewer who’s based in Hollywood and teams with local breweries as part of his “passion project.”
Last year, Hulme’s first professional beer was Schot in Het Donker (Shot in the Dark), a saison brewed with farmers market cherries at El Segundo Brewing Co. This year, he’s teamed with Cismontane Brewing Co. on Belgian Apple Pie Dubbel, a beer that combines two of my favorite culinary pastimes. The 7.8% ABV beer arrives in a 13-ounce goblet, costs $6, and draws from a batch that incorporated 300 gallons of fresh pressed apples, picked locally at Calico Ranch Orchard. The tasting notes tout “yeasty, bready, dark, hazy brown” characteristics. I’ll vouch for at least three parts of that harmonious quartet. Tart apple predominates, with a malt backbone and warming finish from vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg.
According to Tender Greens literature, Chef Hulme’s “dream is to have his own line of craft beer called Abide Honest Ales (A-HA!)” Considering his first two fruity efforts, A-HA! would be a welcome addition to the L.A. craft beer scene, falling somewhere near the Almanac Beer end of the spectrum, minus the major commitment to barrel aging.
A framed informational panel near the register suggests ordering the Belgian Apple Pie Dubbel with various dishes, but really, this beer is a pairing unto itself.