A Greener Mood Lights Up Pike Pub

September 22, 2009

Pike Brewmaster Drew Clulely at a Brickskeller Beer Tasting a couple years ago.

Washington Post Beer Columnist Greg Kitsock (L) chats with Pike brewmaster Drew Clulely (R) at the Brickskeller a couple years ago.

As a result of the first-ever Seattle Carrot Mob (now called “Agent Green”) event held at the Pike Pub, and sponsored by Green Drinks Seattle on Earth Day, April 22, 2009, Pike committed 25% of that day’s sales to energy efficient retrofits.

So they partnered with Seattle City Light to upgrade their lights to LEDs. The upgrade saved 51,584 kWh per year, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by over 30 tons. And they implemented a new composting program with Cedar Grove Compost which they estimate will reduce their waste to landfill by 95%.

The brewery has other sustainability advantages too. Like many traditional breweries, it uses the natural force of gravity (the Pub is built into a hill) rather than electric pumps to transfer beer during the brewing process. They use steam for brewing, that comes from Seattle Steam, a public utility located one block away. Fortunately for Pike, Seattle Steam is introducing a new biomass burner (using urban waste wood), which will lower their carbon footprint (and that of the nearly 200 buildings, including Pike Brewery, they serve) by fifty percent.

Sustainability Is Delicious
Part of Pike’s commitment to sustainability comes in the form of deliciousness. Much of their food comes from local and sustainable producers. Burgers come from Heritage Meats in Olympia, wild salmon is fresh from Kodiak Alaska, and cheeses are all from local artisan cheesemakers: Quillisascut in Rice Washington;  Mt. Townsend from Pt. Townsend;  River Valley Cheese from Fall City, who also use Pike’s spent grain to feed their herd; and Estrella Family Creamery in Montesano who rind wash their Pike Brewleggio with Pike’s Tandem Double Ale. They buy tuna from Joe Malley’s Fishing Vessel, St. Jude, and their smoked salmon comes from Solly at Pure Food Fish, only steps away from the brewpub in the Pike Place Market. Uli’s Sausage makes bratwurst with Pike Kilt Lifter Scotch Ale and Salami comes from Salumi Salami just a few blocks away. Prosciutto travels from Iowa but is from the country’s first organic prosciutto maker, La Quercia.  For dessert, Pike XXXXX Gelato is made by Gelatiamo Gelateria a block away using Pike XXXXX Extra Stout in the recipe. Pike also offers an Ale and Choclate Pairing with Carter’s Chocolates from Port Orchard where Matt makes four truffles with Pike ales. And the Pike bar also features local, northwest spirits.

Whew! I’m full!

Green Drinks Thank You Event
Not all of this was a result of the Agent Green carrot mob, but Pike wants to thank them for pushing them to go greener with the LEDs and composting. With breweries, thanks usually comes in the form of beer. So if you’re in Seattle, stop down at the Pike on Wednesday, October 7th for a Green Drinks gathering from 4-6pm with specials on food and beer.


Chicken Wings for the Beer Drinker’s Soul

September 6, 2009

ChickenWingsLast weekend at the Traverse City MicroBrew and Music Festival, I ran into Bob Maier, who gave me a copy of his book Chicken Wings for the Beer Drinker’s Soul.

The catchy title echos it’s inpiration: the series of Chicken Soup books comprised of heartwarming stories that make you feel better about your life, or in this case, your beer. Bob recasts some of the oft-told beer myths, including the transformation of Enkidu from animal to man by drinking beer in the  Epic of Gilgamesh; and the one about the Egyptian goddess Hathor and how beer prevented her from destroying humanity. Good stories on their own but Bob has a good storytelling flair that makes these short reads a lot of fun.

He also invents some beer myths of his own, including ones about seeing angels while drinking beer in the Mississippi delta, and launching a lawn maintenance company fueled by cheap beer. The last story is title Timmy the Tinkler – I’ll let you connect the dots.

On a more personal note, Bob throws in a story to which I think we can all relate: a beer-fueled teenage romance.

And on a practical level, this slim volume of beer-inspired comfort contains a mittful of recipes as well as the requisite sections on beer appreciation and brewing. To learn more about Bob and to order this book, click here.


One week ’til Savor, an American Craft Beer & Food Experience

May 11, 2008

Move over wine, here comes craft beer. Savor is America’s first modern national event aiming to elevate beer to a seat at the grown-ups table of high cuisine.

For as long as anyone can remember, beer has been the pedestrian beverage that knows its place: the bar, the barbecue grill, and the front porch after cutting the lawn. Meanwhile, we reach for the wallet and the wine bottle when it comes to toasting high occasions: the hot date, weddings, anniversaries, and fine dining.

an American Craft Beer & Food Experience

The Brewer’s Association is launching Savor with the ambitious and admirable goal of raising public awareness of beer’s complexity, versatility and appropriateness alongside the most haute of cuisines.

Beer has a number of characteristics that make it a desirable choice for the linen-draped table. Beer has a far wider range of flavors than wine due in part to the fact that more and more variable ingredients are employed in its production. It is also far cheaper, on average, than wine and therefore can be more economically matched with each course in a meal. Wine, on the other hand, is expensive and discourages diners from pairing an appropriate bottle or glass with each course which means at best one course will be well-paired while the others might clash distastefully. Beer is also a bit more approachable while wine has an ingrained culture of snobbery (despite some laudable attempts to change this).

Savor will bring together fifty of America’s finest craft brewers and offer attendees a food pairing specifically chosen to match their beers. And I do mean fifty craft brewers – unlike many great beer festivals, Savor will not be staffed by volunteers but instead the brewers booths will be tended exclusively by brewers and brewery owners. This is not meant as a slight to volunteers. In fact, there will be volunteers helping with certain logistics, but the intention is to allow direct face-to-face experiences between attendees and the highly skilled and knowledgeable experts responsible for crafting the selections.

In addition to the food and beer pairings, there will be talks and presentations from some of America’s foremost beer and food experts, including a lively debate between Sam Calagione and Marnie old entitled “He Said Beer, She Said Wine” after their new book by the same name. Savor is an event not to be missed. My partner Seung and I will be there during the Saturday evening session. Get your tickets now before they sell out.

SAVOR: AN AMERICAN CRAFT BEER & FOOD EXPERIENCE
WHAT: Fine beer and food pairing event
WHEN: Friday-Saturday, May 16-17, 2008
WHERE: W. Mellon Auditorium, Washington, D.C.
COST: $85 all inclusive
INFO: http://beertown.org/events/SAVOR/index.html


Savor the Beer and Food in Washington, DC

February 3, 2008

Savor

Tickets go on sale online tomorrow for Savor, a first-of-its-kind beer and food event featuring pairings of haute cuisine from Federal City Caterers and craft beer from 48 different breweries.

The event unfolds in three separate sessions, each limited to 700 attendees. Brewery booths will feature one or two specially selected beers served by the brewers and brewery owners themselves in two ounce pours paired up with tantalizing culinary delights such as crostini of figs and prosciutto, a selection of artisanal cheeses, and chocolates infused with unexpected enhancements such as rosemary and tropical passion fruit.

Big names in brewing will provide schedule full of educational salons, such as Garrett Oliver from Brooklyn Brewing covering beer and cheese pairing, and Sam Calagione from Dogfish Head going toe-to-toe with wine-bibbing “cross drinker” Marnie Old from the French Culinary Institute.

Surprisingly, I don’t detect even a tinge of the local and sustainable craze that has been coursing through the foodie community. Witness the growth of organizations such as Slow Food International, the ‘locavore‘ phenomenon, the 100-mile diet, and the continued double-digit growth in organic food. I suppose the simple concept of beer being a partner worthy of thoughtfully pairing with food is revolutionary enough without complicating matters by weaving sustainability into the agenda. Still, it seems a lost opportunity to showcase fine regional and organic foods from small companies that are such natural allies to the small brewing movement.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ll be perfectly happy to slowly savor a “Shell-fish Free ‘Crab’ Cake” with a glass of saison, but wouldn’t it have been nice to feature a real crab cake instead, made with blue crabs from the Chesapeake bay, and thus providing an educational opportunity about the collapse of this species? Lots of brewers are hip to the local/sustainable food phenomenon and it seems like the industry really ought to make a point of highlighting regional delicacies that are themselves in danger of becoming as rare as good beer was a couple decades ago. I guess I just want it all. I should just shut up and be happy that they decided to locate Savor right here in my own fair city.


Les Dames d’Escoffier

October 2, 2007

That means the ladies of Escoffier, which refers, I believe, to George Auguste Escoffier, a French chef and culinary writer. According to the Washington DC chapter website, Les Dames d’Escoffier

“. . . is comprised of influential women of high achievement in the culinary, beverage and hospitality industries. Membership is by invitation only, and DC Dames range from top chefs, restaurateurs and caterers to renowned journalists, authors and hospitality executives. Our members are at the forefront of shaping decisions regarding what we choose to eat and drink everyday. As a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization, Les Dames d’Escoffier, Washington, DC offers scholarships to women seeking advancement in culinary-related fields, and offers grants to non-profit organizations that support women and help better our community. Members of Les Dames d’Escoffier share their expertise by offering educational programs which are open to the public, and volunteering for worthy food-related causes throughout the year.”

I mention this group because one of their members got in touch to let me know about an upcoming event they are hosting called the Octoberfest Dinner and Beer Tasting. Details as follows:

RusticoWHEN: Monday, October 15, 2007 at 6:30 PM

WHERE: Rustico, 827 Slaters Lane, Alexandria, VA 22314, 703.224.5051

COST: Tickets are $75 for members of Les Dames d’Escoffier; $85 for non-members. Price includes dinner, beer, wine, gratuity and tax.

REGISTRATION: Reservations close October 11, 202.973.2168. Space is limited.

Seung and I ate at Rustico about a month ago and were impressed by the atmosphere, food, and absolutely superb beer and food pairing program. They have an option called the “Trio” – tastes of three items each paired with a four ounce sample of beer. We got three of these sets, sharing everything and loving every minute and bite of it.


George Washington, Our Porter-Pounding Founding Father

August 20, 2007

(In a continuing effort to transition the content from my old website fermentingrevolution.com to this blog, I offer you this piece I wrote about George Washington, a version of which appears in my book.)

George Washington“Porter was imported into America, though not in impressive quantities, during the latter half of the [eighteenth] century, but it was not widely manufactured until after the revolution. Certain individuals were partial to this type of beer. George Washington, for example, was one.” (Baron, Brewed in America)

The United States of America owes its political birth to George Washington. Although I suppose you already knew that. But did you know that G.W. was also responsible for kick-starting the growth of a domestic beer industry?

At the heart of the Colonists’ revolutionary gripes was a discontentment with Britain’s unfair taxation policies. Though they tried conventional diplomacy, the colonists had little success in affecting long-lasting and significant change in the unbalanced trading relationship between England and America. The Colonials grew alienated and disgruntled.

Angry Beer Activists Take Action
Their discontent eventually erupted into acts of civil disobedience. In the early stages, it wasn’t so much a desire to break from the Empire, indeed many considered themselves good ale-drinking Brits – they just wanted to be accorded the same rights as every other good ale-drinking Brit.

As relations became increasingly confrontational, and the Revolution began to foment, Americans realized they must begin to ferment as well. As America’s colonial days were grinding to an abrupt halt, the country was heavily dependent on imported supplies of ale.

The Ultimate Sacrifice
Washington, who had a great thirst for English porter, made the ultimate sacrifice for his country. In 1774, he supported a bill drafted by fellow patriot Samuel Adams, called the non-consumption agreement. The agreement encouraged the colonial population to abstain from imported goods such as tea, madeira, and port wine, and likewise encouraged the consumption of American-brewed beer, so as to curtail imports. Boycotting English imports, including ale, was a promising strategy, if somewhat hard to swallow for beer drinking colonists like George Washington and his fellow Founding Fathers.

Washington’s perturbations over unfair taxes eventually lead to his dismissal from the Virginia House of Burgesses. For, in a show of solidarity with Massachusetts, Washington, along with his fellow legislators Patrick Henry, George Mason, and Thomas Jefferson, declared June 1, 1774, the day the Port Act sealed off Boston in a commercial blockade, to be a day of “fasting, humiliation, and prayer.” In an angry response, the Virginia Governor, a loyalist, promptly dissolved the Assembly.

Boycotting Imported Ale
In due haste, George and his mates regrouped at the Raleigh Tavern, where over beers they composed a proclamation declaring that:

“An attack on one of our sister colonies, to compel submission to arbitrary taxes, is an attack made on all British America. That we will not hereafter, directly or indirectly import, or cause to be imported, from great Britain, and of the goods hereafter enumerated, either for sale or for our own use . . . beer, ale, porter, malt.”

Once the Revolution had begun in earnest and Washington was Commander of the American forces, he for a time made his headquarters in the home of George Emlen just outside of Philadelphia. Given Washington’s penchant for porter, one must wonder whether it was pure coincidence that Emlen was a commercial brewer and descendant of one of Philadelphia’s earliest brewing families.

A Well-Supped Army
Washington also made sure that soldiers were well supped under his command. According to a 1775 pronouncement, every soldier in the new Continental army would receive a ration of “1 quart of spruce beer or cyder per man per day.”

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Jefferson’s brewery
Thomas Jefferson also brewed beer. These are the design plans for his brewhouse at Monticello.
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Eventually, after the successful revolution, Washington made sure to never be short of porter again by supporting the growth of the local brewing industry. He grew barley himself, and harvested ice from his ponds to be used, most likely, for beer related cooling.

He described his post-war efforts to boost local brewing as follows:

“We have already been too long subject to British Prejudices. I use no porter or cheese in my family, but that which is made in America: both these articles may now be purchased of an excellent quality.”

According to numerous records, a certain Robert Hare, brewer of porter in Philadelphia, had the fortune to be Washington’s regular beer supplier.

“In the years preceding his assumption to the Presidency, Washington was a steady customer of Robert Hare. Son of a porter brewer in Limehouse, Hare had emigrated to Philadelphia in 1773 with a gift from his father of £1,500. . . in 1774 he started brewing porter – probably the first ever made in this country. (Baron, Brewed In America, p. 114)

George to Voters: “My Treat”
Another noteworthy bit regarding Washington’s relationship with beer appears in Mark Lender and James Martin’s book Drinking in America. The custom of ‘treating’ citizens to drinks at public gatherings was apparently common among America’s early politicians. As Lender and Martin explain:

“One did not seek office at any level without ‘treating’ the electorate during the campaign. Polling places themselves were rarely dry: there was only one poll per county and after making the long trek to do his citizen’s duty, the voter expected some tangible reward. He usually got it. This meant that to count as a Founding Father, George Washington . . . must have provided many a drink for the multitude. (Lender & Martin, Drinking in America, p10)

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George Washington’s Beer Recipe

To Make Small Beer:
Take a large siffer full of bran hops to your taste-boil these 3 hours. Then strain our 30 gall[o]n into a cooler put in 3 gall[o]n molasses while the beer is scalding hot or rather draw the molasses into the cooler. Strain the beer on it while boiling hot, let this stand till it is little more than blood warm. Then put in a quart of ye[a]st if the weather is very cold cover it over with a blank[et] let it work in the cask-Leave the bung open till it is almost done working-Bottle it that day week it was brewed.”
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One Ballot, One Beer
Given the dismal voter turnout levels in contemporary American elections, perhaps this is a strategy that we might consider rediscovering. One ballot, one beer. Imagine the increase in voter participation.

Whiskey Rebels
Unfortunately, there is at least one spot which mars the first President’s record on alcohol and taxation: the Whiskey Rebellion. The new American central government found itself in the uncomfortable situation of needing to emulate the very British behavior which sparked the Revolution.

The budding American government needed cash to fund its activities. As the British well knew, alcohol was a veritable tax revenue jackpot, and so Washington followed their example and imposed a whiskey tax. Frontiersmen making their new lives across the Appalachian range in places like Western Pennsylvania were outraged by what they probably rightly perceived as an unfair tax by a faraway government. These frontiersmen were grain and whiskey rich, but cash poor, making a cash tax a particular hardship.

In addition to homebrewing, Washington was also a voluminous whiskey distiller. It may have been that Washington’s private interests in the commercial whiskey market clouded his commitment to public service in this matter. Multitudes of home distillers producing tax-free whiskey could surely have been seen as competition for Washington’s own distillery, not to mention the many other politician-distillers comprising his first government.

When Pennsylvanians near Pittsburgh rebelled openly and violently against this tax, Washington responded by crushing them with a hastily assembled national army. And so the long tradition of bathtub moonshine and tax evasion began.

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Walter Straib
Walter Staib, proprietor and chef at Philadelphia’s City Tavern, commissioned the Yards Brewing Co. to brew George Washington’s ale recipe.
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The Revolution Lives On
However, Washington’s efforts to encourage a domestic brewing industry were indeed quite successful. By 1873, America boasted 4,131 commercial breweries, plus countless private home breweries. Unfortunately, the country went through a bad hangover after prohibition and combined with corporate brewery consolidation reduced America’s total number of breweries to fewer than fifty by the 1970s.

But the revolution lives on in the modern revival of craft brewing. Today America can again boast as many as 1,440 craft breweries. Visit one today and join the revolution.


Artesanal Cerveza in Chile, part three

June 11, 2007

beer truck(This is part three of our Chilean beer trek. Read part one here, and part two here.)

From Valparaiso, we headed south along the Pacific coast, stopping in Isla Negra where we had lunch at the oceanfront restaurant next to Pablo Neruda’s house (not the Valparaiso “house in the air” mentioned earlier). From here it was lots of driving before getting to the next major beer town of Valdivia way down south. We made an overnight pitstop in Temuco where we attempted to stay at the historic Hotel Continental, where Pablo Neruda is said to have favored room number nine, while Gabriela Mistral (the first Latin American to win the Nobel Prize for Literature) preferred room ten. Unfortunately the place was shuddered, so we settled for a mediano (medium-sized mug) of Kunstman Bock, a fastfood sandwich, and a decent but unnoteworthy business hotel.

Pushing on toward Valdivia we entered Patagonia, heavily forested, criss-crossed by rivers, and speckled with lakes. The area around Valdivia was settled by German colonists beginning just after independence in 1818. Of course, wherever Germans immigrate, breweries must quickly follow. So Valdivia became the first European-style brewing center of Chile.

Compañía Cervecerías Unidas (CCU) began consolidating breweries in the early 1900s and today is the country’s national beer monopoly. CCU is a strategic partner with Anheuser-Busch and also has an ownership stake in Kunstmann Brewery, the largest craft (or artesanal as they say here) brewery, and Austral, another well-known craft brewery here.

Chris KunstmannSpeaking of Kunstmann, we bagan our Validivian brewtour by meeting Armin Kunstmann himself, the founder and co-owner of the company. We heard various assertions about the ownership split between Armin and CCU, some giving Kunstmann 51% and others claiming CCU has the majority stake. Regardless of how this divides, Don Armin was a gracious host and certainly acted as if the company was entirely his own in every practical sense. He was terse when the subject of CCU came up. “The partnership with CCU,” he stated, “is to get distribution.” He neither praised, defended, nor criticized CCU, but rather avoided the topic, suggesting in my mind that he may feel it is a necessary evil, a sort of pact with the devil that allows Kunstmann beers to thrive.

Several of the other craft brewers here have shared their suspicions that Kunstmann beers must also be brewed at one of the more central CCU plants because their distribution is just too large to all be coming from the original plant, but when I asked Armin about this he was succint and direct: “No. We brew all the beer here. And we are doubling the size of the brewery so we can continue to grow and still do all the brewing here.”

The CCU partnership hinges on one basic reality of the Chilean beer marketplace. CCU controls the market, in part, through the use of exclusivity contracts. Carry CCU beers and they’ll gladly provide signage, chairs, and other sundries, but you must agree to carry only their beers. Obviously this makes it difficult for the many new small brewers trying to enter the market. Another global powerhouse though, namely InBev, is starting to make inroads in Chile since they have the money and wherewithal to compete against CCU with similarly heavy-handed strategies.

Armin KunstmannArmin himself is clearly dedicated to good beer and to preserving the history of brewing in Valdivia. He bagan homebrewing after discovering a homebrewing store and a copy of Charlie Papazian’s Complete Joy of Homebrewing during a business trip to Milwaukee’s Red Star baking yeast company. That was twenty years ago and he’s been brewing ever since. Papazian apparently came to the brewery earlier this year, and also visited a few of the other Chilean craft brewers I’ve met along the way.

The Kunstmann brewery is fronted by a German-style restaurant complete with an outdoor biergarten (enclosed by a tent in the winter) run by Armin’s wife Patricia. The building also houses what is perhaps the most complete museum of Chilean brewing history. The town of Valdivia also has an antrhopological museum that is, appropriately, situated in the Andwandter mansion – former home of the town’s most celebrated brewer! Next to the museum is the site of the original Andwandter brewery, sadly destroyed by an earthquake in 1960.

Armin and his brewery administrator Mauricio Delannoy Iversen generously invited us to dinner in their restaurant, but we had already scheduled to meet with one of the proprietors of Valbier so instead we just did a beer tasting and accepted their invitation to come back the next day for lunch. The beers on offer included: unfiltered versions of their lager and Torobayo pale ale (other brewers had rightly advised us to try these brewery-only beers); a bock, one of their staples available on draft in pubs around the country; a new version of the Torobayo brewed with elm honey, a specialty honey apparently only available in this region; and a new amped-up Gran Torobayo, with 7.5% ABV. We also tasted a three-scoop parfait glass of the house ice cream made with one scoop each of Torobayo, Torobayo with raspberry, and Torobayo with honey.

Carne crudosRunning a little late, we hustled across town to Fuente Valdivia (Valdivia Fountain), a small pub restaurant on the main drag featuring all artisanal foods and beers, operated by two of the four owners of Valbier. Francisco, the brewer and only full time worker at the brewery, was ill in bed so his partner Maricio Silva joined us for a couple glasses of Valbier red ale. Wow! The floral hop aroma on this struck me right away, a marked departure from the rest of the beers I’ve tasted in Chile – this one has some hops in it! At the moment this is the only style they are brewing but it is available in supermarkets.

The food at Fuente was a highlight for both Seung and me. We had been awaiting the right moment for a proper completos – a Chilean specialty that is basically a hot with all the fixins, including loads of fresh avocado spread. We tried one in Vina del Mar and it was horrendous, an uncooked hot dog on a nasty hard white roll, slathered with appallingly artificial mayonnaise and nary a nip of avocado to be found. This one was a completely different story. It was hard to tell due to translation difficulties, but what we understood was that everthing was “artesanal” – from the dog to the mustard. This, our first true completos, did not disappoint.

CompletosEven more noteworthy, however, was the next snack: carne crudos, i.e. steak tartar. I’ve never tried this, mostly because the very idea of it makes me feel quesey. According to Mauricio, this is the typical homestyle meal for Valdivianos. So, slightly buzzed and enjoying the company, the moment for consuming raw meat had finally arrived. Mauricio says the trick is to squirt fresh lemon over it and wait exactly three minutes for it to marinade. I topped mine off with some homemade caliente sauce and had a taste . . . and another taste. Hmm, not bad. So good, in fact, that I ate the whole plateful and didn’t get sick! If I wasn’t a badly-lapsed-but-still-philosophically-vegetarian this could become a habit. With the generous hospitality we’ve found typical of Chile’s artisinal brewers, the whole affair was on the house. But Mauricio has a day job (he asked me not to say where) so we called it a night at around 11pm, feeling happily buzzed on one of the best beers I’ve found in Chile so far, and with my tummy full of two “food-firsts.”

Bock cakeBack to Kunstmann for lunch with the other Mauricio (who used to work with the above Mauricio at “the company not to be named). What a meal: more carne crudos (with more homemade sauces), fresh biscuits with local honey, grilled local trout covered with raisins, mashed potatoes with peppers, and a slice of Bock cream cake to finish it off.

During our rambling, two-hour lunch we learned that the brewery has a new waste water treatment plant out back, so after eating we headed out back for a tour. It’s a dual system handling human waste and brewery waste seperately. Both are treated with living microbes before being redistributed into the ground. This is a variation on the type of “living machines” pioneered by John and Nancy Jack Todd, whose ecological water treatment systems are in place in several breweries in the U.S. Very cool.

Mauricio informed us that J. Bello, another craft brewer, is just down the road from Kunstmann. We’d heard about this beer but didn’t know where it was located, and unfortunately we had to miss it since we had another meeting scheduled with Eduardo Aquilar at Calle Calle brewery located on the other side of town on a marsh feeding the Calle Calle river.

 

Calle Calle beers
Calle Calle boasts the most diverse range of beers I managed to find in Chile.

Chileans, in my limited experience thusfar, project an aura of serenity. They never seem to be in a hurry, but they are not averse to hard work, as if they are aware of the useful of clocks but not beholden to them. Eduardo R. Aquilar Carrasco, though exhibiting the same attitude towards time, is a whirlwind of activity. He claims his brewery is “just for fun.” Yet he employs five people and produces five regular beers, plus seasonals and experimental batches – comprising a more diverse set of offerings than any other Chilean brewer as far as I can tell: Cutipay ale made with elm honey, Naguilan porter made with real chocolate, Tornogaleones wheat beer, Llancahue lager, and Cau Cau pale ale. Among the seasonal selections is a cranberry ale, and he also bottles and markets a straight cranberry juice “for it’s health properties.”

Eduardo AguilarBesides the brewery, Eduardo runs a large machine shop across the street where a handful of staff fix “everything.” Everything was one of his favorite words. The brewery and tasting room/bar are filled with odd trappings, such as lamps made from trees and windows made from ship portholes. Each time we asked about an item, he would smile broadly, point to himself, and say “everything” – as in “I made everything here with my own hands.”

And he really means it. The entire bar/tasting room was refashioned by him from a used truck trailer! It sits on the edge of a marsh onto which the back of the place opens up with an indoor/outdoor picnic area filled with handcrafted wooden tables and chairs, a floor window for observing the fish below, and a brick oven where Eduardo bakes bread. Oh, and I almost forgot to mention, he makes three styles of beer-infused ice cream too. His “real job,” as it turns out, is building ships! That’s him in the photo holding one of his mugs – sporting his hand-etched logo of course.

Okay, we visited a few more places but this whole post has been rushed as it is and I’m ready for a beer (I am on vacation after all) so I’ll save the remaining breweries for part four in the series.


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