Do I really have to add my own howls of derision to everyone else's comments on Estrella Damm Inedit? I think the world could do without yet another blogger pointing out that the marketing of a beer designed specifically as an accompaniment to fine dining should be received the same way as a hypothetical winery announcing that, at last, they have created a wine that goes with food. The guff surrounding Inedit is the point where ignorant snobbery meets cynical niche marketing, and the less this sort of thing is encouraged the better.
So, ranting aside, what's the beer like? I shared a bottle with Adeptus on his recent visit to Ireland (thanks to him for the photo). It presents as a cloudy yellow witbier, and the tag promises all the usual witbier things -- coriander, orange peel -- plus some extra bonus liquorice. The latter does add an interesting kind of herby flavour, but it adds it to something that is otherwise a really really dull, thin Belgian-style wit. More than any of the interesting ingredients, it's the suspended yeast which stands out as the most notable element in the flavour profile, making the whole experience amount to little more than yeast-infused fizzy water with slight herbal overtones. Maybe the methods of production are supremely artisan and the pinnacle of the gastrozymurgist's art, but it still comes out like diluted Hoegaarden at the end.
If you're serious about choosing beer to go with your food, you could do a lot worse than pick up a book along the lines of The Brewmaster's Table by Garrett Oliver, or take a look at some of the many excellent blogs that deal with the subject in an entertaining and mouth-watering way. And if you're running a restaurant and are interested in high-quality beer to go with your food (and you should be), then start with a case each of Duvel and Westmalle Dubbel -- both available in diner-friendly 75cl bottles -- and perhaps some Brooklyn Lager or Sierra Nevada Pale Ale for the spicier dishes. Or, if the wheaty stylings of Inedit appeal, there's always Hoegaarden.
Beer and food: yes. Special food-beer, as I keep saying: no.
Westmalle Dubbel - *Origin: Belgium | Date: 2008 | ABV: 7% | On The Beer Nut: October 2007* It's a longtime favourite today. Westmalle Dubbel goes back to the very beginnings...
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