Aug 2009

San Antonio Winery: Boutique Beer Tasting

Hello everyone, it’s The Astronomer. These days, as my posts become more and more infrequent, I feel obligated to introduce myself at the outset, lest readers become confused and wonder why The Gastronomer has suddenly started talking about herself in the third person.

A few Sundays back, The Gastronomer and I attended our second event at San Antonio Winery in downtown Los Angeles—a boutique beer tasting with food pairings. The Gastronomer wants to appreciate beer with all her frat party-loving heart, but alas, her taste buds have yet to comply. Perhaps an ice luge would help the process along? Anyhow, I have been left with the task of expounding on our experience. I’m no beer expert, but I do know the difference between a lager and a stout, and can recognize a mediocre brew when I taste it. Granted, I may not be able to recall the finer points of a beer the following day, but the only way to improve my taste memory is to keep drinking. Bottoms up!

Upon arriving at the event, most attendees headed straight for food or beer. The Gastronomer and I, on the other hand, made a beeline for the table of aguas frescas in the corner of the room. We can’t resist horchata. Her thirst quenched, The Gastronomer loaded up a plate with Mexican food, including a tamale, a carne asada taco, some Mexican rice, and a side of fresh corn salad. Our favorite was the the taco, which was packed with superbly grilled meat that was flavorful and moist.

Meanwhile, I headed for the beers. We were offered a selection of nine brews from Europe and North America, served in small portions appropriate for sampling. The servers recommended that we start with the lightest beers and work our way up [right to left in the above picture], so my first selection was a Czech Republic Pilsner, followed by a Mission Brewery Blonde from San Diego.

Other food items on offer included tri-tip steak with a variety of sauces, a selection of sausages paired with unusual mustards, and several desserts. The sausages, or wieners as The Gastronomer likes to call them, were the highlight of the day. Some were sweet, some were pleasantly spicy, and all made for ideal drinking food. The garlic and tarragon mustards had The Gastronomer dipping her saucy heart out. The desserts could not be distinguished from grocery store fare; nevertheless, the crowd gobbled them up at an astonishing rate.

The event lasted for three hours, plenty of time for everyone to eat and drink their fill. I skipped a few beers in the lineup and tried a Coney Island Lager next. Finally, I sampled a dark Moretti La Rossa from Italy. All four beers I tried were solid—my favorite was the Mission Blonde.

Unlike the ‘Wines from Down Under’ Australia & New Zealand Wine Tasting Seminar that we attended at San Antonio Winery last month, there was little attempt made to educate attendees on the beverages we were consuming; everyone was simply encouraged to relax and enjoy. Programs handed out at the entrance contained a short blurb about each beer for those interested in tracking down a favorite later. The atmosphere remained lively throughout the tasting—it was clear that the diverse crowd was having a blast. No doubt we’ll be back at San Antonio Winery soon for more good times.

San Antonio Winery
737 Lamar Street
Los Angeles, CA 90031
Phone: 323-223-1401

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4 thoughts on “San Antonio Winery: Boutique Beer Tasting

  1. Astronomer, it’s good that you’re helping the G expand her horizons. Good beer is really a wonderful thing. I don’t think you guys have been in Pasadena long enough to experience it, but the old Crown City Brewery used to make a seasonal beer called Black Rose. It was so, so good.

    I love a good beer, preferably dark and molasses-y. And sausage? Yum!

  2. Hi Vern! It was fun hanging and imbibing with you and the Gastronomer. You make a good team. Hope we can all do it again soon! (with better desserts next time…)

  3. this is a nice post. i’ve bookmarked the winery to see if they have any other beer tastings in the future…it sounds fun, and i’ve been wanting to do that for a while. gotta love that they had some horchata too!

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