Damm Inedit

When we were leaving Spain, we were browsing the duty free in the Barcelona airport, looking at their meagre selection of whiskies, trying to find a nice bottle to bring home with us, I spotted a display of Estrella Damm’s Inedit. Inedit is a beer created by, according the the little booklet that comes with every bottle to hammer home the point you will be purchasing and drinking a truly remarkable beer, “globally acclaimed chef Ferran Adrià, Juli Soler and sommeliers Ferran Centelles and David Seijas from El Bulli Restaurant.”  It also boasts that it is a “beer specifically created to pair with food”.  I first saw this beer when we had lunch one afternoon at a great paella place by the sea.  At a table near us was a family of tourists with a couple of young children.  The dad ordered a bottle of beer; it was apparently some fancy beer despite the Damm label around the neck, because after serving it was kept in a bucket of ice at the end of the table, much like a nice bottle of wine.  One of the kids, who looked to be about six years old, asked the dad if it was dry-hopped, which Anna thought was hilarious because in that moment she saw our future. I was curious about it because while Spain isn’t exactly famed for its beer, I do like to try as many local beers as I can.

I’ve hinted at craft beer’s “wine envy” here and in comments here, and while this isn’t craft beer by any reasonable definition of the term, don’t we have in Damm Inedit the most literal example of beer trying to prove that it is sophisticated enough for wine drinkers?  That finally we have a beer refined enough that it can be drunk with fine food?

This idea is, of course, nonsense.  There are plenty of beers that go excellently with food.  Yes, even high-end food.  Last fall we went to New York and had a superb meal at wd-50. For my main, I had Wagyu steak with barley and malt and it went wonderfully with a malty German lager.  And here I am at Au Pied du Cochon’s cabane à sucre–maybe not fine dining, but gourmet nevertheless–feeding beer to a chicken head:The idea that there is now finally a beer good enough to accompany fine food says more about Ferran Adrià’s ignorance about beer than it does about anything else.  But, hey, it was four euro a bottle, so why not try it?

We decided to try it with one of the best foods to pair with beer: (homemade) sausage on a bun.  Of course, had I looked more closely at the Inedit booklet before starting dinner I would have realised that such a fine beer wasn’t made for such rough and ready proletarian fare as sausage on a bun, but was rather “created to pair with the most exquisite and challenging foods. Foods that contain: citrus and oils: i.e. salads, vinegar based sauces. Bitter notes: i.e. asparagus, artichokes, rucula. Oily textures: ie. salmon, tuna, fatty cheese.” Though from the beer’s website we see that “this beer can take acidic, sweet and sour flavours by the hand. the symphony of flavours in each dish is different, but there can be a common thread capable of unifying them all, for a sense of continuity so there is no need to switch drinks.” So maybe it can go with most foods?  Sausage it is, with a side of grilled potatoes and zucchini.

Maybe we should have eaten something closer to the recommended foods to get an idea of how this beer pairs with food because it brought very little to the complex seasoning of the sausage. It is, in effect, a pretty ordinary Belgian-style blanche with subtle coriander and orange peel notes, and a clean finish that suggests a bottom-fermenting yeast.  The subtlety of the spicing verges on blandness.  It was okay, but not something I feel inclined to try again.  There are far better examples of this style: Unibroue’s Blanche de Chambly is a locally-brewed blanche that far surpasses the Damm version.

I’m struggling to find things to say about the beer because there really isn’t anything remarkable about it. If this was a wine, and the beer and its presentation really do beg the comparison, I can’t see it having a place on a high-end wine list.  There’s just not enough going on with it.  The very idea that there is a beer that can pair with food, instead of a variety of beers with different flavours–bitter, sweet, sour, spicy–suggest a lack of seriousness put into conceiving the ways in which beer and food can work together. This beer and its conception seem completely ignorant of the brewing world, and it basically does a very mediocre job of attempting to reinvent the wheel. I suspect that a large reason why the beer exists, and is distributed as widely as it is (for example, you can purchase bottles in Quebec at the SAQ) is because El Bulli was hemorrhaging money–the New York Times reports here that annual losses of a half a million Euros were what led to the restaurant closing–and the beer doubtlessly generates a decent amount of income.  That doesn’t mean that it’s groundbreaking or exceptional.

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Guest Post: A Wine Cheat Sheet for Morons Like Me

source

As you may or may not have noticed, we are a beer-drinking household. The amount of beer we go through in a given week is a bit alarming. We are also lovers of scotch, and I will admit to having a soft spot for the ever polite gin and tonic, but where Graeme and I really drop the ball is in regards to wine. I like wine more than Graeme does, but both of us are total wine morons and don’t really understand it. I have attended many little intros to tasting wine, and none of them ever managed to penetrate my thick, wine-resistant skull. I am not sure why this is, as I do enjoy a delicious glass of wine, although I am incapable of telling you what I like about it.

I would love to know more about wine generally, but specifically I would love to just feel more confident doing basic things like picking something out at the SAQ, rather than employing my usual tactic of going for the prettiest label within my price range. (Yes, I really do that.) This is where my good friend Petite Chablis comes in. She is not only a lovely person, but she possesses the rare talent of being able to talk about wine in terms that even I, the dumbest wine person there is, can understand.  And she has a wonderful approach to wine drinking that is unpretentious, focused on enjoyment and sociability, and does not tend to do that think wine people do where they compare stuff to urine. So I asked her if she would write a guest post for Braising Hell that was a sort of “cheat sheet” for buying wine when you are stupid and overwhelmed, and she kindly obliged. I love what she’s written and I think it will be super instructive for me in my future ventures to the liquor store. If there are any other wine morons out there like me, I am sure you will be as thrilled as I am to read her advice below.

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Help!  I’m on my way to a dinner party and I’m supposed to bring a bottle of wine and I know nothing about wine.  What should I bring?

Facing wine-store panic as you stare down row upon row of unfamiliar labels?  You’re not alone.

Unfortunately, there’s a somewhat unwelcoming culture surrounding wine, one that seems to be more about obsessing over the wines themselves than making wine an enjoyable experience – part of a meal, part of a social occasion, or simply a source of relaxation and pleasure.  When you’re listening to a friend or acquaintance go on about how this red contains “whispers of lingonberry” or “lacks a sense of terroir,” it can be easy to think, “wow, I really don’t know much about wine.”  Hence the uncertainty that can set in when you’re asked to provide wine for a dinner party or when you’re confronted with one of those encyclopedia-length wine lists at a Really Nice Restaurant.

But the truth is that very few people know much about wine, and those who pretend they do often don’t.*  And you don’t need to pay $50 or read tons of books about wine or travel the world sipping and spitting** in order to pick out an enjoyable bottle.

Well, that’s great, PC.  But I’m still in the liquor store and I still have no idea what to buy.  Can we get to the real advice, please?  Like which wines I should look for? And  now much I’ll need to spend to get a good bottle?

Right, useful advice.  Here we go.

I’m a big fan of looking for wines by region and varietal, rather than by label, especially if you’re in an unfamiliar liquor store.  The problem with getting too attached to specific labels is that when you can’t find them on the shelves, it can be easy to get overwhelmed and give up and leave the store with yet another bottle of overpriced Cabernet.+  Do jot down the names of a few recommended wines, but if you can’t find them in your store, try something in the same price range from the same region.

Below, I present some suggestions for my favorite region/varietal combos. Almost all of the wines I drink are under $15 (most, in fact, are under $10) and so the recommendations I’ll be making will focus on that price range.  I will also mention a few of my favorite wines in these categories, but remember, don’t get too stuck on the labels!

Crisp, light whites (delicious for sipping on hot days, perfect with grilled fish)

  • Grüner Veltliner from Austria – OK, this is pretty obscure.  But most stores will carry one or two bottles of this wine, and they’re delicious – think lemons and limes, a bit of pineapple and a delicious crisp finish.  I like Grooner, which is fairly widely-distributed; I also love the Laurenz und Sophie Singing Grüner Veltliner, but that may be harder to find.
  • New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc – This is probably my favorite category of white wines.  They’re vibrant and fun to drink.  A typical New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc will have lots of fruit (mango, pineapple, melon, pear) and often some green pepper on the finish to give it a bit of a kick.  Our two standbys are Oyster Bay and Nobilo, but I also really like Dashwood.

Heavier whites (great with spicy Thai food and pasta with cream sauces)

  • California or Australian Viognier.  Viogniers are unusual whites – they usually have a slightly floral smell (think jasmine or honeysuckle) and taste like peaches and apricots and citrus.  They are lower in acidity than either of my “crisp white” varietals.  Sonoma’s Cline Cellars makes a really nice Viognier, as does the Australian label Yalumba.
  • Washington State or German Gewürztraminer.  Another unusual white wine; the “gewürz” part of the name means “spice” in German.  So, as the name suggests, Gewürztraminer produces a slightly spicy white wine.  A typical Gewürztraminer will have some cinnamon or cloves or nutmeg flavor, along with pears and honey.  Some Gewürztraminers will also have a hint of sweetness, so I think they’re best when paired with spicy food.  Gewürztraminer is usually a German grape, but Washington State has been making some good ones lately.  I’ve enjoyed both the Chateau Ste. Michelle and the Hogue Cellars Gewürztraminer.

Light reds (pair these with pizza, grilled chicken, or really just about anything – they are marvelously versatile!)

  • Italian Sangiovese or Nero d’Avola.  Inexpensive Italian reds make great “table wines” – they are easy and pleasant to drink, with a nice balance of fruit and earth and acidity, and they’re fantastic with food.  Sangiovese and Nero d’Avola are two grapes from Italy that usually turn out affordable and yummy reds.  We are longtime fans of Di Majo Norante Sangiovese and Archeo Nero d’Avola.
  • Côtes du Rhône red wines.  These are wines from the Rhône region of Southern France made from a blend of different grapes.  The most famous Côtes du Rhône wines, like Châteauneuf-du-Pape, will be incredibly expensive.  But down at the sub-$15 end of the spectrum you’ll find a lot of wonderful, food-friendly wines.  We’re still happily working our way through a case of Domaine des Rozets; the widely-distributed Guigal is also a good bet.

Heavier, bolder reds (pair with red meat or a robust cheese, or sip on their own)

  • Argentinian Malbec.  This red grape is originally from France but has found great success in Argentina and became very popular very quickly in the US market. These will be spicy, fruit-forward wines, with flavors like blackberries and cherries and pepper.  I’m a longtime fan of Conquista and Trapiche; recently we picked up a bottle from Zuccardi that we liked a lot.
  • Chilean Cabernet.  Cabernet is my favorite red wine, but lately I’ve had a tough time finding US Cabs under $15 that I’m excited about drinking.  Fortunately, Chile came to my rescue.  Chilean Cabernet will have some raspberry or blackberry quality to it, along with a bit of dark chocolate, black pepper, and tannins.  I’ve had good luck with Casillero del Diablo and Xplorador.

Happy wine shopping!

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*  I am still cranky about the time a guy cornered me at a party to give me a lecture on Malbec.  He assumed I had never heard of it and proceeded to tell me several incorrect “facts” about the grape. Sigh.

**  I’m not a big fan of spitting.  I understand it when you’re going to be tasting a ton of wines and you don’t want to get super-drunk, but I don’t think you can really evaluate a wine unless you actually drink it.  Also, I haven’t figured out a way to spit into a bucket without worrying that I’ll either dribble on myself or splash someone else.

+  A story that describes many of my early wine-buying experiences.

Petite Chablis is an enthusiastic amateur wine geek who loves recommending her favorite bottles to friends, both in real life and on the Internet.  You can read her musings about inexpensive wine, fun cocktails, and other important topics (like Canadian reality television) at petitechablis.wordpress.com.

Sometimes Hipsters Get it Right

In this post, I will begrudgingly admit that there is some awesome food to be had in Toronto. Obviously as a stereotypical Montrealer, it pains me to say this, but there you go. (I am just kidding, folks, please do not take my Toronto ribbing too seriously.)

We all know that charcuterie is very hip right now, which is both awesome, because charcuterie is awesome, and makes me suspicious that it will lead to a lot of mediocre sausages out there in the world. It is without a doubt a wonderful thing that so many people are embracing previously marginalized ways of preparing often difficult cuts of meat; charcuterie is truly an art form at its best, while retaining a certain rustic humility that makes it simultaneously transcendent and comforting. It is also at the heart of current discussions of food ethics, particularly because charcuterie makes use of a lot of offal, which allows us to be thrifty in our meat consumption, and less wasteful. So we are big, big fans, but as I have expressed previously, I do worry about the fancification (if I may be allowed to invent a word) of what is, effectively, “peasant food”. I have found, though, that my dividing line between what “works” and what doesn’t seems to be how good a job people are actually doing with these foods and methods. Make it tasty, and I will have a lot less anxiety about it.

In that vein, there is a running theme on this blog where some “next hot foodie thing” is super hyped and I am skeptical of it, until I actually taste said source of hype and come around. See my post on the Au Pied de Cochon Cabane à Sucre , for example. This probably says a lot more about me, and my grumpiness, than anything else. In any case, this weekend I had a similar experience in the great Canadian metropolis of Toronto, where I spent a little over 24 hours on a work trip. Most of my time in the city was therefore spent in a windowless room staring at powerpoint slides, but I found the time to venture into the city first to meet up with my sister and her family, and then to meet up with my college roommate, the inimitable Kevin. Kevin is a dear friend who lived with me back when I was still a vegetarian, and who looks a lot like Captain Highliner these days. For real. Check it:

Apparently Captain Highliner was wringing his hands for weeks as to where to take me for dinner during my one evening in Toronto, because he thinks I’m scary. I’m not really scary, I’m just kind of a jerk to Kevin. He finally took me to The Black Hoof, a new-ish restaurant specializing in offal and charcuterie, which he loves, but he was worried that I would dismiss it as overly trendy. Indeed, The Black Hoof is, as far as I can tell, a current hotspot in the T-Dot, full of well-dressed young things with perfectly tousled hair and expensive clothes meant to look cheap. The Black Hoof folks make all of their own charctuerie and serve it in a”small plates” format, which is also very trendy right now, but like with charcuterie, I kind of love it because I love family style meals, for all their sociability and because they allow you to try lots of different things. (I have a problem with indecisive ordering.) So I was down with some small plates gluttony.

So here you had a place that seemed to have every current food trend all rolled in to one. Of course I wanted to hate it. And of course, I actually loved it. Say what you will about the “hipness” of the restaurant, they make some damn good food, and that overshadows any pretentiousness. To be fair, the actual space felt far less pretentious than what I had expected given their website, which is a little bit precious for my tastes. The service was excellent, friendly, and not too “quirky”, and the portions were perfect (enough but not too much) for a small plates menu. The space is very cool, but not so cool that it will look dated in six months. The whole restaurant felt much more effortless than I had expected, which was nice.

And then there was the food. We had a very hard time deciding, but eventually we shared, while sipping pints of Beau’s Lager (which was good, but not nearly as good, in my opinion, as their ales that we’ve tried):

A plate of pickled vegetables, and their insanely velvety and perfect duck liver mousse, which you can see here just under Kevin’s smiling mug, served with an applesauce that complemented the mousse so awesomely that it made me really reflect on the possibilities of food pairings. I love eating stuff that makes me feel like I’m learning in a way that will enhance my own cooking at home. My only complaint about this mousse is that, as you can see in the photo, the presentation, in my opinion, looked a bit like a turd. The presentation on the rest of the dishes we tried was beautiful, so I am not sure what was up with this one. We seriously ate every bite of this mousse despite a fairly generous portion. It was silky and delicious, as was the bone marrow that we ate next, which was served with a sort of gremolata (I don’t think that’s what they called it), toast and Maldon sea salt, which is pictured at the start of this post. The marrow was melt-in your mouth and addictive as soon as you added a couple of flakes of salt to it. I have never eaten marrow like that and I feel like I could seriously eat it every day. We even mopped up its juices with our bread.

We then shared a pig’s tail pozole, which was a much meatier soup than I expected from, you know, a pig’s tail. With cilantro and lime it was really lovely, although probably the least memorable part of the meal (which is hardly a diss, the rest of it was just so good.)

And finally, we ended the meal with two smoky dishes: the smoked sweetbreads, with fiddleheads and other veggies (left) and beef tartare, with toast, egg yolk, parmesan, horseradish, and other goodness (right, and I have to admit that while the presentation of that dish is lovely, I wish it didn’t hide the meat!). Kevin had warned me that the sweetbreads had been controversial the last time he’d eaten there, as some folks found them too smoky, but we both agreed that while the smoky flavour is certainly strong in them, we love that kind of thing and it was delicious. This is probably one of the only times I’ve met a fiddlehead that I adored as well; generally I find them pretty underwhelming. My only complaint about the sweetbreads was that they could have been fried better; they were not as crispy as one might have hoped, and that would have really knocked them out of the park. But they were otherwise delicious, and had that awesome complex texture that I love so much from sweetbreads and that have made them an obsession for me as of late. The tartare was possibly my favourite dish of the evening; all the elements on the plate worked perfectly together, and I loved the gooeyness of the yolk with the crunch of the bread with the subtle spiciness of the horseradish. It really highlighted how great tartare can be. I was only sorry that it was the last thing we ate because I was so full already by that point. We still managed to devour the whole damn thing though.

Beyond some minor quibbles, my only real complaint came at the end of our meal, when the waiter asked us if we wanted a dessert or drink. I tried to order a mint tea (seriously, after a meal like that one needs to digest!) and was informed that they did not serve tea or coffee. What? It was not explained to me if this was a temporary state of affairs or not, but I hope that it is, because it is pretty unacceptable for a restaurant not to serve such standard drinks, and if it is a deliberate decision then this is the kind of “different for the sake of being different” that I find so irritating about trendy restaurants. Please, hipsters, put some tea and coffee on your menu and I will be loyal to you forever. Don’t try to mix things up when it comes to these sorts of dining expectations. Please.

So there you go. The moral of this story is that I should perhaps learn to be more open-minded about trendiness than I  have been in the past; whatever the “hipster” factor at The Black Hoof, these are folks that clearly take their meat very seriously and do absolutely beautiful things with it. They are clearly very talented and are cooking thoughtful, precise food. It is a really lovely place to eat, both in terms of food and atmosphere, and it was a great space in which to catch up with an old friend. All of that stuff is more important than how cool a place is or isn’t, so good for them. And now I have to go learn how to cook me some bone marrow.

In Praise of Small Beer

My brewing assistant, Susan.

I really love what Anna wrote for this blog about “foodie culture” and the way that it fetishises eating and drinking seemingly without regard for social context. What is true for food is likewise true for beer.  It goes without saying that I love what is usually termed “craft beer”, i.e. distinctive, flavourful, and well-made beers that come from a place of genuine love and passion instead of the dictates of a marketing department. But there is a sense in which the culture surrounding craft beer is, well, too much about the beer itself.

Take, for example, ratebeer.com’s “Best Beers 2011” list, and note, along with Stephen Beaumont, that 39 of the top 50 beers are imperials. The beer writer and historian Martyn Cornell worries about how these lists will encourage brewers to focus on “extreme” beers to the “detriment of those of use who want nuance, subtlety and depth in our beers.”  There’s absolutely nothing wrong with a beautifully complex 10% abv Russian Imperial Stout every now and again, but this isn’t an everyday kind of beer.  What we have here is craft beer’s “wine envy”: the idea that beer can and should be far more than the industrially-produced fizzy yellow stuff and can have a real depth and complexity that rivals the sophistication of wine. While this is not untrue, the problem with “wine envy” is that it only looks at the elite consumption and appreciation of wine for guidance. Sure, wine can be a perfectly aged bottle of Bordeaux from a good vintage, but it can also be a simple bottle of red table wine, enjoyed with friends over a long and comforting dinner, both of which can be great given the right context and company.  And so it should be with beer: a beer shouldn’t have to be mind-blowing and hammer your tastebuds into submission to be the right beer at the right time. Sometimes a less aggressive, thirst-quenching “session” beer is what you want, and it can be just as beautiful and flavourful as an imperial.

And so, partly because I was thinking of brewing one eventually, and partly because my coworker Julien was trying to push the homebrewers at work to brew milds inspired by CAMRA’s “Celebrate Mild in May” campaign, my latest brew is a mild.  With a couple of exceptions, such as Jester King Brewery’s hopefully not accurately named Commercial Suicide Oaked Dark Mild and some hard to find bottled imports like Moorhouse’s Black Cat, mild is a style of beer very rarely seen in North America.  It’s a traditional low gravity, light bodied, lightly-hopped British style of beer that was once favoured by the working classes because it could be drunk for lunch without interfering with work, but it almost disappeared as kegged lager became popular.  It’s now seeing a revival largely because of CAMRA’s tireless campaigning, but I think a large part of the appeal is that much like a lager, mild is fundamentally a refreshing and thirst quenching beer, though unlike lager it has a lot of depth and flavour.

I can’t claim that my version of a mild will be anything close to authentic.  There is a volume of the Classic Beer Style Series devoted to mild, but I haven’t read it.  My recipe is sort of based around my not very clear recollections of drinking Black Cat, though this is all interpretation with nothing solid to back it.  It will be hoppier than is strictly traditional, but this is because I find a nice hop aroma to add to the refreshing qualities of the beer–and hey, this is homebrew, so I have unlimited creative freedom here. I will let you know how it turns out.

Lautering

May Day Mild

For a 3 gallon (11.5L) batch

1.25kg Maris Otter malt
0.25kg 40L Crystal malt
0.15kg Amber malt
0.15kg Chocolate malt

20g leaf Fuggles [5.2% AA] (60 min)
15g leaf Fuggles [5.2% AA] (5 min)

Whirlfloc tablet (Boil 15 min)

White Labs #WLP013 London Ale Yeast

Starting gravity: 1.038
Final gravity: 1.010
BU: 25.5
Colour: 22.0 SRM

Chilling wort

Losing My Religion

Let’s be clear: I am not the beer nut in the house. I like my beer, but it is one of many alcoholic beverages that I choose between regularly. I also like my gin and tonics, single malt whiskies and the occasional cocktail (that Graeme is surprisingly good at preparing). Pictured above, however, is my second favourite beer in the entire world. (I’ll have to save a discussion of my favourite until the next time I get my grubby little hands on it.) It is a Belgian cherry lambic that I picked up when I was in Boston back in January, because lambics are few and far between in this neck of the woods. A lambic is a beer brewed through spontaneous fermentation, which results in a sour taste that is both deep and refreshing. Often, these beers have fruit in them as the mix of sweet and tart works really well together. I love the idea of fruit beers generally, and will try just about any fruit beer I find on a menu, but more often than not they end up too sweet and lacking depth of flavour. This is where lambics rule. And the above Kriek Boon cherry lambic is my favourite that I have tried. (The only other fruit beer that has inspired this level of passion in me was one that I had at the Vermont Pub and Brewery last summer that was so good I sometimes think I dreamed it; but it was a limited edition beer and so I have to live with the terrible knowledge that I will probably never get the chance to drink it again.)

I love this beer so much that it can apparently alter my ability to think straight. This past weekend, Graeme prepared a really nice simple dinner of moules et frites, which is one of our favourite meals to pull out when we want to eat something a little bit special that isn’t too laborious.  As various smells filled our kitchen–mussels steaming, broth simmering, deep fryer bubbling–I set the table and considered what I should drink with dinner. I looked in the fridge and found that lambic that had been patiently waiting for me for over three months, and dug it out from behind seemingly a million of Graeme’s beers. I declared that it would be the perfect accompaniment to this tasty Belgian-inspired dinner, and placed it lovingly on the table.

Graeme looked at me skeptically and said, “You’re drinking a beer?”

I was immediately annoyed, wondering why he was being such a weirdo about my choice to have a beer with dinner, especially one that so obviously demanded it. Sure, I don’t drink beer with dinner every day like he does, but did he have to be such a snob about it? I assumed he was being a sexist jerk or something, and pouted until we dug into our mussels, at which point I was distracted by the deliciousness of the spread in front of me.

The lambic, of course, was as wonderful as I remembered it. There is such a specific sourness to these beers that I am not sure how to describe it, but it’s just lovely and smooth and makes perfect sense. It reminds me of something pickled like kimchi, which I realize is a totally nutty comparison as they taste nothing alike, but I mean in terms of the strong contrast of flavours that makes both so exciting to eat/drink. (Ok, Graeme just informed me that kimchi is also wild fermented, which means that I am some kind of tasting GENIUS.) I devoured the beer (sharing a little bit with Graeme because I’m nice), and waxed poetic on the virtues of lambics until I annoyed even myself.

A little bit less than twenty four hours later, on Sunday afternoon, it hit me. I turned to Graeme and asked, “Wait a second, did you ask me last night why I was drinking that lambic because it’s Passover?”

“Of course,” he replied, “what did you think I was talking about?”

“I don’t know, I just assumed you were being a jerk.”

Whoops. Indeed, I had unwittingly broken my Passover diet without thinking, and it took me almost a full day to even realize it. I proceeded to argue with Graeme about why he didn’t just come flat-out and tell me that I was breaking Passover, but he claimed he figured I knew what I was doing. I did not. Somehow, while I am very conscious about avoiding beer during these eight days, this particular brew was so special that I…forgot it was beer. I never even considered drinking one of the more common bottles we have sitting in the fridge–of course not! No beer on Passover! But somehow the lambic was so enchanting that I lost my ability to think things through.

So there you go: a beer so good it made me lose my religion. I love you, cherry lambic. Look how pretty you are, all rosy and tantalizing:

(And I love you too, bread, which I get to finally eat again tonight! Hooray!)