My day with Beer part 4

October 14, 2009

Today I’ll recap the last two speakers in the Symposium.

Let’s get started, shall we?

Next up was Bruce Patton, Executive Chef at Cathedral Hotel in San Francisco.  He’s famous for beer and food pairings.

{personal note: I like Bruce Patton and I like what he’s trying to do.  But – he’s not a public speaker and his talk didn’t teach me about how to make my own beer and food pairings.}

Beer started as food.  In Europe during the Middle Ages beer was necessary because you couldn’t drink the water.

There are more flavors and variety to beer than wine,  We are finally getting back to this after prohibition and mass production.

Bruce started his food and beer pairings at Barclays in Oakland and then at the Clift Hotel.

It was hard to get people to attend.

Michael Jackson started the revival with his beer dinners.

Michael Jackson, Beer Hunter!{Sorry, I just really like this Michael Jackson.  He wrote about beer and whisky… my kind of guy.}

Bruce calls his meals Dinner with the Brewmaster.

There are a few restaurants that focus on beer and food pairings.

Higgins in Portland, Oregon.

Monk’s Cafe in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Publican in Chicago, Illinois.

It’s all about the white tablecloth food with beer.

When deciding on a pairing, taste the beer first and think of the flavors.  Start from there.

There is a resurgence of gastro-pubs.  Organic ingredients, taking burgers and fish & chips to the next level.

Exciting beer needs exciting food.

Don’t over power the food with the beer or the beer with the food.

If you don’t like the beer, your friends probably won’t like it either.

You can use the beer’s flavors to complement the food, contrast the food, or cut the food (as a palate cleanser).

October 23rd is the last Dinner with the Brewmaster.  Bruce can be reach at

The last speaker was Professor Christine Hastorf from the UC Berkeley Anthropology department.  Her talk was titled “Long Beer Tradition Uncovered”.

Beer’s Ingredients are: Grain, Diastase (sprouting the grain), Yeast and Water.

Beer can be made from MANY different grains – rice, millet, quinoa, wheat, barley, etc.

Every continent has a beer tradition.

Finding the beer in cultures by looking at the remains of the rubbish.

If you can find sprouted wheat residue you can hypothesize about beer production.

An electron microscope was able to show pitting in starch grains that can be hypothesized as beer making residue.

Look for activity areas to find brewing areas… may also be the cooking area.

In 1953 Jonathan D Sauer did anthropological research that hypothesized that grain was domesticated for BEER production primarily and bread production secondarily.

Beer is special and important and trans-formative.  It’s is all of your own work.  You gathered the grain and made it, it took a long process of work to transform it (sprouting, cooking, fermenting) and some magic.  You are transformed / altered by it … well by the alcohol.

There is a hypothesis that says that because we eat ripe and over ripe fruit that has ethanol in it, we are pre-disposed to like ethanol, alcohol.

Between the Old Kingdom and the New Kingdom beer making became much more complicated.

The Incas made corn / maize beer.  The corn plant was sacred.  It moved from Mexico down into Central and then South America around 2000 to 3000 BC.

Ritual Planting ceremony of the Inca.  Beer ritual – one glass for the earth and one for the Inca King.  Gave beer as a gift.

inca-women-working.11Beer remains were feed to the farm animals.

They added hallucinogenic plants to the beer.

Increase of maize and maize beer around 1000 AD with the start of the Incas.

Socialization and coming together (possibly over beer) is what created the Inca culture / society or need for society.  At least that’s one theory.

Tomorrow I’ll wrap it all up.



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