Pitch Black at the Beach (& I don’t mean the BP oil spill)

This time last week, I was drinkin’ at the Irish Mist in Sunset Beach, Califas, where I always enjoy my smooth, properly-poured pints o’Guinness and Kilkenny. But then my drinkin-at-the-beach-buddy showed and up and we relocated to Neptune’s (http://jkingneptune.com/). It was a good move. Although known as a good place to grub on seafood, as usual, I’m goin’ for the beer. Having never been, I kept an open mind and knew I’d find something worth drinking that could possibly follow such Perfect Irish Pints. I was curious to see something called W’10 Pitch Black IPA by Widmer Bros. (http://www.widmer.com/beer_w_series.aspx) in Oregon. Now most people recognize the big “W” on the pullhandle because Widmer Bros. is famous for their Hefeweizen, a style of beer I’m not particularly fond of. And now they’re making a black IPA!? WTF, IPAs aren’t black! Back to my mantra of the night: open mind, open mind. So with my mind open, I asked Juan, the guy workin there that night behind the bar, what is this Pitch Black IPA and what does it taste like? Juan told me that the W’10 Pitch Black IPA is a one-of-a-kind brewmaster release, which means it’s not brewed all the time and usually is experimental and new. When he poured it, it looked just like an imperial stout or a porter, but it tasted like a great IPA. They weren’t kidding by calling it “pitch black.” I was all excited about the W’10 that I had two pints because who knows if I’ll come across it again, being a limited release ‘n’ all. The W’10 Pitch Black is the kind of beer that is so unique and different in a way that’s actually good and drinkable, and it entices me to want to try the other line of ales offered by Widmer Bros. Too bad all we usually see in bars by Widmer Bros. is their hefeweizen because they have so much more to offer–at least 8 other styles, like a ‘regular’ IPA, an amber, and a pale ale. More of that good stuff, please.

Speakin of good stuff, yesterday I found myself at TAPS in Brea (yes, the OC) and had a pint of Brewmaster Vic Novak’s version of a Biere de Garde, a style of beer not widely popular stateside though it can be found. When the biere de garde is on rotation at TAPS, it’s a treat and I make sure to have one. Biere de garde means “beer to keep or to store” and comes from the northeast part of France (French Flanders). A seasonal beer, it was typically brewed in the spring and imbibed in the summer. Vic Novak’s biere de garde is 6.6% alcohol and is a nice full-bodied amber beer with nice malty flavors. Very easy to drink given its fullness and complexity. Other styles of biere de garde can range from golden to copper to brown colors with medium- to full-bodied flavor. A quick glance at Beeradvocate.com shows that two domestic breweries–Flying Dog in Maryland and Lost Abbey in San Marcos/San Diego, CA–make a biere de garde. I will find them and drink them. Not a bad homework assignment for next time.

Meantime, cheers! And checkout the latest beer finds at Queers & Beers on Facebook, a lil beer education&appreciation community-building effort put together by me, Mellie Von Bierbutch, and my two lovely partners in crime, St Luie Girl and Blue Luna. Our next event is at Eagle Rock Brewery, so stay tuned for more write-ups on some tasty local L.A. beer.

Til then,

mel.

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