Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Cozying Up to Not-My-Type

I love when this happens. You define yourself in a certain way -- you have your likes, your dislikes, and the things that just don't interest you. But then, thanks to circumstances, and the interests of those around you, you grow, and your definition of yourself changes.

One example for me is the entire continent of Asia (well, actually, not the entire continent. Far East, really, for the sake of this example). Never felt the need to get into Asian culture. I mean, I could see the merits -- obviously a strong, deep-rooted culinary history, great youth culture coming from the more metropolitan cities, and of course centuries of history and art and ninjas and all that stuff. And of course I dabbled in sushi and orange chicken and the like. But I'm a Middle-East-Mediterranean-Latin-America girl. The Far East just isn't my type. But, fortunately, I have friends who hail from this part of the world; and others who don't, but manage to be incredibly well-versed anyway. then, wouldn't you know it, I'm now fascinated with every fun Japanese phenomenon I find, I have cravings for soup dumplings and house special noodles from Mei Long Village regularly, and I've mastered much of the menu at Koreatown's less gringo-friendly pubs. Would I ever have visited Tokyo were it not for friends opening me up to the possibility? Doubtful. I even can handle spicy now, despite being a self-professed wimp when it comes to chilis. Who would've thought?

Same goes for beer. I really never liked it. (Well, not never. Between the ages of three and five, my uncle helped me acquire a taste by sneaking me little sips while he played rummy -- I became such a fan that I would later drink water out of my dad's empty beer cans just to get a taste. And no, I was not raised by a bunch of drunks. No, really.) As an adult, given the choice, I choose wine. If I go to a barbecue, I take cider. Beer really just is not my type. But then comes Library Bar. Then comes Christina Perrozzi, and all her utterly palatable beer tutelage (particularly the Blanche de Chambly, which might just be the illicit love child of beer and Champagne -- mmm). Then comes all kinds of yum contributor Jason Bernstein and his brainy passion for the details of the craft. And, what just tipped it? This interview with Mark Jilg, the brewmaster of LA's own Craftsman Brewing Company.

Friends, after reading this interview, I want to become a connoisseur of Craftsman's beers. A teeny tiny local brewery, a mere three employees strong, that hand delivers its wares in a beat-up/totally rad Studebaker? Who every summer brings back the Triple White Sage, a seasonal brew with the scent of of one of my favorite herbs? That puts out a new specialty beer every month? Truly a civic treasure! (Yes, I know Pasadena is technically not Los Angeles, but humor me here, it's as close as we're gonna get.)

I want to be a Craftsman groupie. I want to have an informed opinion of each of these flavors of the month, so I can spread the gospel of this fine organization. As it stands, they don't sell their beer in bottles, so I'd have to get myself to one of LA's more beer-centric bars to get a taste. But, oh how fun to do so! A new treat every month, fresh from the source, and a barstaff who, on the insistence of the brewery, is educated on the story behind every lovingly crafted brew. This is all right up my alley. Maybe I am a beer person after all.

[thanks dogfaceboy for the photo!]


  1. if you want to really learn about beer, start with really bad beer. The saying "you can learn more about something by seeing it malfunction than you can by watching it work perfectly" applies here.

    Once you taste the really bad stuff you can see what they were shooting for when they make the good stuff. Start with something real bad like Guiness or any of the IPAs and then when you knock back the red and white canned goodness of Budweisers flagship beer you'll realize that you're drinking liquid love.

  2. Answer: Sondre Lerche releases a new album. Superbad is coming to a theatre near you. Tannaz discovers a love of beer.

    Question: What are three events that make 2007 fantastic?

  3. you know, andy, although that big refinery-looking budweiser facility off the 405 does somehow put bud in the category of 'local', i think i'll stick with craftsman for now. thanks for the tip though.

    and jason, i'm excited that you're excited. because you know you're gonna play a large role in the beereducation of tannaz sassooni. (also, i can't freaking wait for superbad! YES!!)

  4. Beer search? I highly recommend the Whale & Ale British pub in Long Beach. The staff there is highly knowledgeable about all the different imports they carry there and I found my love for a good, cold beer at home there!

  5. thanks for the tip, mstinawu. that place looks great! they even have sticky toffee ... mmmm (i know, i know, i'm supposed to focus on the beer, but the sweets distract me!).

  6. DBA. First and Houston. Amazing selection and esoteric taps. Or else the Astoria Beer Garden. Frosty mugs of Staropramen!!