This post is going to ruffle some feathers among my craft beer friends. The thing is, S.A. Damm is a large scale commercial brewer of lagers from Spain, they are marco all the way. Macro beer is awful stuff, Heineken, Budweiser, Molson Canadian and on and on. These beers are loaded with adjuncts, fillers that make them cheap to produce, taste bland (and all the same) and quite bad for you. Corn and rice have no place in beer, period. Then Damm goes and does something awesome, they bring in world renowned chef Ferran Adria of and his team from the greatest restaurant to ever exist, el Bulli, and let them work their magic on a limited run beer.
For those of you unfamiliar with Chef Adria and elBulli you can check them out HERE and HERE. Chef Adria was joined by his business partner Juli Solar and elBulli Sommeliers Ferran Gentelles and David Seijas to create Inedit for Damm. Inedit translates to “Never been done before” and I tend to agree. There are beers that are made to pair with food but none that I can think of have this kind of talent behind them.
The beer itself is a lager\wheat beer blend with coriander and orange peel added to the brewing process to give it its desired flavour profile. It pours a cloudy pale yellow with a light, large white head and a nice amount of carbonation. The flavour is light and delicate with orange and coriander playing off the subtle hop notes. This beer is meant to be served chilled in a white wine glass ( yes, I know mine wasn’t in a wine glass…) and left in an ice bucket after it is opened. By itself this beer is quite nice but not extraordinary. You need to pair it with food to see what it’s really meant for.
I paired it with sashimi (tuna and salmon) and it was outstanding. The slightly oily yet delicate fish made the citrus notes of the beer sing like an opera. Beer pairing is quite different than wine pairing. Craft beer pairing is like hammering a nail into a piece of lumber, the flavours are often intense and need intense foods to balance with. Wine pairing is more like a finishing carpenter dovetail joining two pieces of a high end cabinet together, it takes a lot more finesse to get it right. Estrella Damm Inedit takes beer pairing and makes it as sophisticated and subtle as wine pairing, it’s quite an achievement. There are pairing suggestions in the little booklet that comes on the bottle and they’re spot on.
Like I said, my craft beer pals will not like this post but at the end of the day isn’t this what all of us want? A macro brewery trying to make unique and interesting beer? Doesn’t that mean that craft beer and its popularity are forcing the big guys to change their ways? It does.