Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Introducing the second annual Pfiff! beer and food tasting - The Italian Modernists

It was last August when we found ourselves sitting around the patio table, weighed down in our seats by the twin burdens of good food and good drink, when the topic of conversation turned to what unifying themes we could explore in subsequent gatherings. But while there's no end to which we enjoy our fill of barrel-aged imperial thises and thats and peculiarly spiced holiday ales and unclassifiable Belgian nanobrewery miscellany, none of the ideas bandied about managed to spark the dim light of inspiration we needed. It just so happens that we're lucky to exist in a time and place where stylistic panel tastings aren't terribly difficult to come by, thanks to some pretty fine watering holes and the odd renegade social group. Putting on a tasting for a tasting's sake seemed arbitrary and redundant. Not to mention, as it turned out, the greatest pleasure we gleaned from the event came from the challenge of pairing each beer with foods that presented them in their best light, seeing as we were pouring some that were potentially challenging to unaccustomed taste buds. It was obvious that whatever guiding principle the next tasting would be focused upon, the food would play an important, if not more elevated role.

But it wasn't more than a few months after we'd closed the books on that day's affairs that the next subject we'd be attracted to became more apparent. If there's one thing that was made terribly clear at Slow Food Nation, it's that beer is taken very seriously as a part of its ethos. Its interesting to note, though, that despite the attention it lavishes on finely crafted beer, the Slow Food movement has its origins in the loosely populated agricultural heart of Piemonte, an area dominated by wine grapes within a country that's perhaps only second to France in having globally established wine as the cultivated palate's beverage of choice, particularly in consideration when pairing with fine foods. But things appear to be changing. Where the Slow movement has taken root, brewers with similar philosophies are beginning to flourish. In a place that's devoted to celebrating their regional specialties, beers are being designed with ingredients true to their own "Ark of Taste", and envisioned in terms of being enjoyed in tandem with the cuisine as an equal partner in the gustatory experience. Hence this year's event: The Italian Modernists.

Like last year, the event will take place in San Francisco, and will be a small, informal affair with the goal of tasting a wide variety of rare beers alongside some tasty nibbles. Festivities will take place on Saturday, August 15, at 3:00 p.m. Seats for this year's dinner are $45. For questions, or to reserve your place at the table, you can either email me at or leave a comment on this post with information about how I can get back in touch (and as I'm generally able to reply to emails within the day, if you haven't heard back from me, it's a good sign your message has been relegated to my junk mail folder, in which case you might want to tap me a second time). I'm also happy to announce that Healthy Spirits will be officially providing all of our beers this year, which helps guarantee you've got a local resource to stock up on any of the beers we'll be pouring, and we'll have the pleasure of their beer manager, Dave Hauslein, also in attendance. If last year was any indication, it'll be a fun, long afternoon of relaxed tasting, and we hope to see some new faces at this one!

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Blogger Unknown said...

I'm interested in this! but I can't find your email addy easily.

12:57 PM  
Blogger Brian Yaeger said...

Rob, will you be posting a menu? And will vegetarian options be available? (Not that I, personally, am one)?

3:54 PM  
Blogger Rob said...

Brian -
Chances are, I'll be able to post a teaser menu a week or so before the event, but don't anticipate having it truly finalized until the day of. And as for vegetarian options, if I have sufficient advance warning, there shouldn't be any problem accommodating anyone with dietary restrictions.

12:52 PM  
Blogger gail said...

Oh, damn... we'll be busy that day. I've been wanting to do some Italian beer flights ever since I had the incredible Nora! Enjoy, y'all.

11:06 AM  

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