October in the Beer Garden at SBCAST

This month The Beer Garden at SBCAST will serve Figueroa Mountain Brewing Co Magpie Porter with a Lavender Tea Syrup alongside lighting and décor that references the color purple. The beer and setting is paired with the renowned 1962 cinematic version of Harper Lee’s timeless classic, To Kill A Mockingbird. This story explores the issues of racial injustice, class struggles, and gender identity that continue to challenge our society today. Figueroa Mountain’s Magpie Porter is a strong, Baltic-style porter with a mocha-like flavor and a touch of pepper and alcohol in the finish.

In England, Porter was the beer of the working class. In early America, bottled porter from London was a sign of wealth and sophistication. This beer style became prominent during the Industrial Revolution in the 18th century and represented the movement of brewing as a communal industry to a global market. From the Baltics and India to as far off as the Americas, porter was shipped around the world from the docks of London. Porter brewers rushed to out-produce one another, building larger and larger wooden room-sized fermenters called foudres. While tea was the sought after commodity, porter fueled the trade routes that connected the world and helped establish a global economy.

The blending of lavender and porter was inspired by the Pakala Porter brewed by the now defunct Waimea Brewing Co, located on the small quiet Hawaiian island of Kauai. This refreshing porter had a perfumed note of lavender and plumeria that complemented the smooth chocolate character. The aroma imparted a delicate violet hue that contrasted with the rich cola color of the brew and accentuated the breezy bar surrounded by lush greenery.

Known for its soothing fragrance and healing properties, lavender has been in use for millennia. A lavender tea was incorporated into the syrup to add its distinctive perfume and an astringency from the tea that contrasts with the rich porter while hinting at an imperialist past. As one tastes the beer, the fragrance of lavender implies its corresponding color.

Purple garb and markings have been used to distinguish an individual’s rank and power since the ancient times in western culture. In this month’s Beer Garden, the purple themes reference its regal history and its role in class distinction. Purple tones juxtaposed with the restorative aroma of lavender seeks to balance the astringency of the tea and the robustness of the porter by softening their edges and providing solace.

About The Beer Garden
The Beer Garden at SBCAST takes place during First Thursday of each month. This curated space interprets how color, media, and materials interact with beer’s flavor, culture, and history. Each month’s theme is paired with a singular, specially crafted beer and set alongside an (almost silent) movie screening. Beer has a long history as a communal beverage and has been a facilitator of social interactivity and conversation since its inception. With seating areas placed throughout, The Beer Garden seeks to invoke memories, emotions, and conversation while exploring the flavor of beer and the setting in which it is served.


The Storm Begins

I woke up in a daze. It was the first official day of Burning Man but I had been there almost a week. Hammering, stomping, sweating, just getting dusty, helping build our camp. My legs dangling limp in my sleeping bag, sore from the week’s work. I embraced my pillow, listening to the flow of my blood. The rhythm slow and sluggish. Its tune relaxing me. My thoughts, the lyrics.

The build crew setting up the Stereo.Bot structure

The build crew setting up the Stereo.Bot structure

The Stereo.Bot structure was almost done. This gigantic horseshoe artifact was a latticework of metal, curses, and sweat. Today was the day for us to try and raise this monstrosity fifteen feet off the ground. It would take more than our hands to throw this up in the air. And despite the insistence of the ATLiens, it would have to be done with care. The work order was in and heavy equipment was on the way. Aww machinery, I thought. You always make the job easier. I nestled my bed and took a deep breath.

Something was off. I sat up and inhaled. That smell. The humidity—it’s too high. I started to pay attention to the sounds outside my tent and at that moment my suspicions were confirmed. A flash from outside lit my dome. I waited. Counting to myself. A moment later the shock wave rattled my tent. Fifteen seconds. The tent shaking with the familiar growl of Nature’s roar. Lying back down, I waited. Once again my tent lit up like the flash box of a photographer. I started counting. Twelve seconds. The lightning was getting closer.

Voices outside. The storm had caught the camp’s attention. Everything was grounded. The gates to Burning Man were closed. Cars could not drive. The heavy equipment we had requested could not go anywhere. Bikes were useless. Machinery foiled by nature. Take a few steps in the wet gypsum earth and you were wearing your very own pair of clay clogs. Removing my new mud kicks I shuffled back into my tent and the harmony of my bed.

Stereo.Bot structure being built

Stereo.Bot structure being built

For now the pressure was off. Work to be done another day. My consciousness began to wane as the soft pitter patter of the rain strummed my mind. The organic tune singing me to sleep. Blood on the bass, playing backup. No more thoughts in my mind. This was an instrumental. The distant rumble of the fleeting storm continuing on its path towards the emptiness of the desert as I drifted off into my own hallowed dreams.

Beer Matinee: The Princess Bride

The princess brideThe tale that has it all…action, love and plenty of one-liners. Rob Reiner’s classic 1987 film The Princess Bride captures the essence of William Goldman’s 1973 book of the same name. Each pairing follow this spectacular adventure so prepare for a night of sword fights, revenge and true love as you taste beers that follow the quest of these unforgettable heroes and enemies.



Instructions: Gather some buddies and these great beers and prepare for an evening of intoxicating fun. Each pairing is designed to go with a specific point in the movie. Select one, a few or all of them! Drink the brew at the designated time. Feel free to substitute beers and play around with the ideas! Enjoy…

The Princess Bride | Introduction

Anchor Steam
When I was your age television was called books. And this is a special book…

Anchor Steam was the beer that began the craft beer movement and it is where we start our story today. Steam beers are a hybrid beer style and they tie together the fruitiness of an ale with the light character of a lager; creating an experience that is easy for any palate to understand. These simple, appealing flavors and Anchor Steam’s influential role in the beer world sets the tone for the versatility of this tale. So raise your anchor and get ready to set off on an adventure that contains fencing, fighting, torture; revenge, giants, monsters…chases, escapes…true love!…miracles.

Left Handed | 22 min

Troubador Magma

People in masks can not be trusted…

Our main characters have been introduced and the adventure is ready to begin. The Man-in-Black faces his first challenge: an epic duel with Inigo Montoya, master swordsman. The battle begins with Troubadour Magma; created by Brouwerij de Musketiers, named after the Musketeers. This Belgian Triple IPA has an ambidextrous fruit character that balances the strength it brings to the fight. On one hand you have the fruity esters that come from Belgian yeast, and on the other hand you have the rich grapefruit and tangerine peel notes originating from the American hops that are used. Magma’s heated alcohol tones and lively bold flavors can match the lyrical clang of forged steel as these two troubadours play their song.

Sportsmanlike | 26 min

Stone Brewing Ruination

Finish him! Finish him! Your way…

Our Man-in-Black has bested Inigo however he must now face a stone-crushing giant, Fezzik. Yet despite Fezzik’s brute force and elephantine size, it is hard not to like this gentle giant. The same could be said about Stone’s Ruination. This gargantuan brew is elegant enough to at least try and kill your palate like a civilized person. Ruination, an intense double IPA, is said to be “a liquid poem to the glory of the hop,” which fits Fezzick’s great gift for rhyme…at least some of the time. And as insurmountable as this beer seems, it somehow can be triumphed. Your palate may be a bit sore afterward, but in the meantime, rest well and dream of large women because the next beer challenge is not far off..

An Impasse | 30 min

Brasserie Caracole Troublette

So, it is down to you. And it is down to me.

Our mystery man has defeated the giant and has finally caught up with Vizzini. The battle of wits is about to begin. Troublette, a Belgian witbier, is light and effervescent and in stark contrast to the size of our previous foe. Its buoyant citric tones and bright fruit character matches the banter of these two minds as they talk to the death. At first glance the name, Troublette, looks like “Trouble” however it does not mean what you think it means. It is a term for hazy, or turbid, referring to the beer’s opaque color and reminds us that Vezzini must think clearly if he is going to win the battle of the wits. As easy drinking as Troublette is, don’t get too comfortable with this hazy brew because Prince Humperdink can track a falcon on a cloudy day and he is closing in on our kidnapped princess.

The Fire Swamp | 41 min

Flying Dog Pearl Necklace

But Westley, what about the R.O.U.S.’s?

Reunited with Buttercup, Westley has found his pearl. But their celebration is short-lived as their  pursuers are not far off. Into the Fire Swamp they must go. Flying Dog’s Pearl Necklace contains elements of the Fire Swamp’s three terrors. The beer is brewed with oysters and this gives it a slight smokey note reminiscent of the flame spurts; making the other flavors seem “singed a bit.” Despite its darkness, the beer is only 5.5% ABV and can go down like lightning sand. The last terror, R.O.U.S.’s are gigantic rodents that can soar through the air like a Flying Dog.

The Pit of Despair | 51 min


The Pit of Despaaaiiirr…

No beer. How’s that for despair?.

To Blathe | 1 hour 10 min

Magic Hat #9

I’ve seen worse…

Death can not stop true love and our Westley is still slightly alive. Like the song Love Potion #9, Inigo and Fezzick must resort to the supernatural if love is to triumph. #9 is described as a “not quite pale ale” and this description seems fitting for someone who is not quite dead. Made with apricot puree this beer has a delicate, pulpy body and a magical aroma of apricot and pears sparkling above the liquid. And with the right amount, miracles may just happen.

Assets | 1 hour 15 min

Uinta Brewing Sea Legs

Let me sum up…

The Man-in-Black is back. But before he can storm the castle to retrieve his beloved Buttercup, the Dread Pirate Robert must regain his Sea Legs. This Baltic Porter has the sophisticated flavors of Westley’s brains, an alcohol content as robust as Fezzik’s strength, and a finish as sharp as Inigo’s steel. It is the beer we need if our heroes are to defeat 60 men and stop the wedding.

As You Wish | 1 hour 21 min

Mission Brewing Amber

My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die…

The Spaniard is about to face his lifelong Mission. He must be both strong and quick to catch the six-fingered man and this brew is brisk and sturdy enough with its clean, crisp flavor to catch its prey. An alt style beer, the Mission Amber has a touch of fruit in the nose and caramel malts with a brief note of toasted grain. These flavors bring the sweet, warm feeling of seeing our lovers ride off into the eve’s opalescent amber skies as our tale comes to an end.

Beer Matinee: The Big Lebowski

The DudeThere are few movies that have such a fervid following as The Big Lebowski. This wonderful Coen Brothers film is about a burn out bowler caught up in a case of mistaken identity and is full of laughs with many memorable lines and personalities. Jeff Bridges’ iconic character, The Dude, instantly inspires one to have a drink so this movie is a natural for beer pairing and it was far more difficult to decide which people to pair beer with.

Instructions: Gather some buddies and these great beers and prepare for an evening of intoxicating fun. Each pairing is designed to go with a specific point in the movie. Select one, a few or all of them. Drink the brew at the designated time. Feel free to substitute beers and play around with the ideas! Enjoy…

The Dude with Allagash White and Old Rasputin
The Dude Abides | Welcoming Refreshment

While not a White Russian, this Black & Tan brings together Allagash White and Old Rasputin, a Russian Imperial Stout, to create The Dude’s drink of choice. The trick of getting the beers to layer is to pour the Allagash White first and very slowly drizzle the Old Rasputin down the side of the glass. The heavier stout will settle in the bottom and leave the two layered. The Old Rasputin provides the inebriating aspects of The Dude’s lifestyle and some of the coffee, chocolate character of a “Caucasian.” The wheat in Allagash White imparts a smoothness to the brew that gives the comfort of a bathrobe. This beer is also brewed with coriander and curacao to provide a citric nose and inspire images of the orange groves and sunshine of California. Together this “White” “Russian” has the intensity of a Russian Imperial Stout with a laid back quality coming from the Belgian-style Witbier.

Bunny with Einbecker Mai-ur-Bock
We’re all very fond of her. Very free spirited | 15 min

The Maibock style of beer is often associated with spring, specifically May. This season is known for its fertility and of course, bunnies. This light, crisp bock beer has hints of sweetness with a warm color. A spiciness in the nose comes from the toasted malts and light alcohol tones that embellish the aroma. Mai-Ur-Bock is strong and ripe with flavor, but has a free-spirited lightness that gives it a delicate nature underneath. Similar to Bunny, a small town, runaway cheerleader turned porn star.

The Rug with Uinta Dubhe
Side B. Bob | 29 min
It really ties the room together. But what must that Rug smell like? Pre-pee of course. The pitch black color of this Imperial Black IPA and the addition of hemp seeds to the brew give the impression of The Rug. Which must be soiled and musty from countless nights of being slept on, with roaches, stems and seeds littering its depths. Dubhe is the nickname for Alpha Ursae Majoris of the Big Dipper. A name fitting for The Dude’s favorite spot to get spaced out over a doobie.

The Big Lebowski with Belzebuth
I will not abide another toe | 49 min

At first this beer is golden and sweet with brief fumes of alcohol giving off a volatility that lifts the spirits. Belzebuth’s flavors begin with the inspiring sentiments of seeing a handicapped man who has gone out and “achieved anyway.” Yet as the flavors and plot progress, they begin to exhibit their strength and devilish character. At 13% ABV, this beer is powerful however it has a particular lightness to the body and finish. Showing that underneath all that power, there is not much holding it up. Despite Lebowski’s threats and might, in the end he illustrates his crippled morality and incapability as a human being.

Walter Sobchak with Stone Oaked Arrogant Bastard
You see what happens Larry | 1 hour 09 min

On the verge of tears one moment and smashing a stranger’s Corvette in the next…this arrogant bastard has a soft side. Stone Brewing’s infamous beer encompasses the brash semi-psychotic, but lovable character of this gentle giant. A dense hop aroma and sweet caramel flavor are softened by a creamy vanillin quality that comes from the use of oak chips. The bold flavors with their softer elements are representative of one who will point a handgun at a pacifist’s face, but then care for an ex-wife’s Pomeranian, all in the same place.

Jackie Treehorn with Shipyard XXXX IPA
Gutterballs | 1 hour 20 min

Shipyards and hints of pine bring the log jammin’ spirit to this pairing. Imperial IPA’s are often associated with the West Coast and their overindulgent nature inspires the hedonistic lifestyle of this Malibu mogul. The intense, fruity character of the hops bring a California vibe to the flavors and the rich malts provide imagery of beach parties and living the sweet life. It is not just XXX, this explicit brew is XXXX.

The Flavor of Sound

     Music moves the mood but beer fuels it. Have you ever been to a party without music…? Not much of a party. When you think of the sensory contributions of beer, there is one element missing: sound. It is noise that is not covered by beer. Yes I have heard people argue the importance of the pop of a cork, the crack of a cap, however these experiences are short-lived. And while these brief notes can be reflective of other tunes (i.e. the presence of carbonation), it is little to listen to. The song of your surroundings will be far more influential on your drinking experience. Considering this, beer and music are a natural accompaniment. Music provides beer with its missing element; creating a complete experience. Sensory evaluation is affected by a person’s physiology and psychology. Food and beer directly interact on the palate so their influences on each other are much more predictable than when beer and music combine. These two experiences are meeting in the mind and so are less tied to physiology then beer and food. This means that the pairings face a higher amount of subjectivity. That being said, studies have shown that music can not only affect a person’s perception of food and drink, but also be associated with different taste descriptors. So there are trends that can be made. While I have been tossing around this concept for years, I recently held my first event that tried to approach the daunting task of pairing beer with music. The following is my expedition into understanding beer and music pairing. Held at the funk zone-based Pescadrome, there were four pairings at the event and each one looked at the concept of pairing from a different angle. Artists have their own techniques with color and shape that becomes symbolic of their personal style. On that note, local beers were chosen so that I could coordinate the personality of the brewers with the spirit of their respective musician.

The Brewhouse’s Casey’s Black IPA with The Beatles’ I am the Walrus

     It felt necessary to begin the evening with The Beatles. But how could you choose only one song? In the end, I am the Walrus seemed to fit with how I wanted to start the conversation. This pairing was less reflective of the sensory characteristics of the two and more focused on the meaning behind them. There has been much discussion over the interpretation of this song and it is still unsure who the walrus is or what the lyrics even mean. There is a theory that John Lennon added nonsensical lyrics in to confuse people who were trying to analyze their meaning. The black IPA style has a similar debatable nature between beer geeks—from its origin, defining flavors, and even just what to call the darn thing (India Black Ale, Cascadian Dark Ale, etc.). The Brewhouse brewers, Pete and Casey, never take themselves too serious while still producing beers that are flavorful and well constructed. They will occasionally experiment with the grain bill and hop additions to produce small but intricate differences between batches—leaving regulars pondering over how they like a particular batch compared to the previous ones. One of the few certainties within the meaning of the song is the title’s reference to Lewis Carol’s The Walrus and the Carpenter. An Alice in Wonderland reference seemed appropriate way to begin a conversation that deals with subjects as complex as beer and music. In essence both the beer style and song are a bit of a rabbit hole so…how far down the rabbit hole do you want to go?

Santa Barbara Brewing Co.’s Graduation CAP (Classic American Pilsner) with Mozart’s Flute Concerto No. 1 in G Major

     This pairing was an attempt to theorize on how the form of the music can be paired with the characteristics of the beer flavor. Kevin Pratt is brewmaster at Santa Barbara Brewing Co. and as both a Certified Cicerone (beer Sommelier) and Level IV Grand Master Beer Judge, he pays special attention to stylistic definitions and balance in his brews. The calculative thought process that Kevin uses to craft his beers represents the theoretical and formulaic nature of classical music. The timbre (sound texture) of the flute worked with the delicacy of the floral hop aroma and complemented the lighter qualities of the Pilsner style. A respectful bitterness and fuller body in this unfiltered Pilsner was able to match the rhythm of the song while being soft enough to cleanse the mind.

Homebrewed Caravan with Erik Sumo’s Csillag Vagy Fecske (Star or Swallow) & The Real Mustache

This pairing looked at the subjective side of both music and beer appreciation by matching the music I want to hear with the beer flavors I want to taste. The beer had been inspired by my trip to Portland, OR for the 2011 Beer Bloggers Conference where I was introduced to oatmeal IPAs. I partnered with local homebrewer Dan Reyes and we designed an oatmeal Double IPA brewed with New Zealand and American hops. The Czech band, Erik Sumo, is a personal favorite and combines a wide variety of music genres into a sound that becomes self-definitive and extremely difficult to stylize. Two songs were used to match the complex, rather outrageous, flavor of the beer. Both the beer and music illustrate innovation and a fusion of style. These two songs blend Middle Eastern harmonies with a pop-rock edge into an exhilarating exotic tune that is well represented by the succulent citric and tropical fruit aroma of the American and New Zealand hops used. Singer Kiss Ezra’s siren-like voice matches the beer’s silken body created from the addition of oats. The warmth of the alcohol and the brew’s cloudy orangeish hue reminds one of the sun setting over a sand dune and inspired the name of “Caravan”–because both the music and the beer are a trip across cultures and concepts.


Telegraph Brewing Co.’s California Ale with a live performance by Waters Risin’

For the end of the evening, and to build off of the the previous personalized pairing, I had Paul Rey, brewer at Telegraph Brewing Co., choose a band that he felt represented the flavors of their California Ale. Paul chose a three piece band, Waters Risin’, that features an acoustic guitar, cello, and an accordion. As one of their flagship brews, California Ale takes inspiration from several sources to form, in what I feel, is one of the most creative beers made in the area, if not all of California. Paul felt that Waters Risin’s “vintage sound” reflects the eclectic mood of their beer and our lovely state. Playing in an alcove adorned with soft textured materials and colors of deep reds and burgundies, the band’s gypsy-like sound worked well with both the area’s atmosphere and the beer’s flavors. The brew’s deep golden color added to the room’s warmth while providing a sweet impression from the fruity esters of Telegraph’s house yeast. The beer’s dryness cleansed the scene and refreshed one for the evening to continue.

Final Words

A recent moment at Eureka! Burger brought a smile to my face and summed up the point of all this. Weezer’s The Sweater Song came on and the instant recognition within my mind was more than just in mine. As I watched damn-near everyone’s head start bopping to the beat, I heard the words being sung underneath a couple’s breath upon their exit. Much like touch, our ears are continually taking in the elements, so the the next time you find yourself with a brew in hand pay attention to what else is around you. The contribution from your surroundings might be adding more to your experience than you’re aware of. And then again…it’s just beer. Goo goo g’joob.

Matching the Moment

While not always a conscious decision, our choices often reflect our moods and surroundings. Think about what drives your beer selections. Are you seeking something strong to spark up your night? Or selecting a lighter brew to refresh you from the day’s work? With the vast array of beer flavors available our choices will indicate where we’ve been and where we intend to go. Beer is about the moment…so shouldn’t you pair it with the one you’re currently in?

This summer the “beer life” returned me to Portland, OR, and as I waited for my conference to begin I was reminded of a particular instant with beer. This momentous experience illustrated to me how a beer’s flavor can reflect those of the atmosphere while teaching me the importance of considering the mood when selecting a brew.
My first trip to Portland was for the Beer Bloggers Conference. With the conference over, I was getting together with an old friend who had moved there. We meet up at a bar close to where I was staying. As we enter the lively atmosphere, a room full of warm color and character(s) strikes us. Dim and din, the place is best suited for forgetting oneself than catching up with someone else.

I pick up a menu and start scrolling through their beers. Most of the names are imperceptible over the clamor however one stands out: Old Rasputin. The intense Russian imperial stout that “Never Say(s) Die” perfectly fits the persistent, blaring mood of the room. We shout our order to the bartender over the soulful music blazing in the background. Beer in hand we squeeze ourselves into an open table.

While barking our reminiscences and new news to one another, the meat and cheese platter we had ordered arrives. As we eat, the brew’s boozey notes cleanse the charcuterie’s richness (chocolate and pate go together a lot better than you would think but that’s a story from a different conference) with the dark malts grasping onto the pungency of the cheese. The vibrant flavor of Old Rasputin meshes with the energy of the room and matches our excitement as we chat on. Our beers finished and food gone, the overbearing nature of the room begins to dominate the conversation.

We exit the bar and allow our hearing to return. It’s lightly sprinkling out; the first rain I’ve experienced in this town that’s known for its wetness. Not ready for the night to end, we continue to talk as we walk along. A bottle shop we stumble upon is closing but the staff allows us to grab a brew before they finish up. A great selection, but only one fits what I’m feeling: Ninkasi’s Helles Belles.

Not the most exotic offering they have but one that could rejuvenate the mind and match the serene scene outside. We sit outdoors under a veranda and watch the soft showers lazily drift downward. Wind gently pushes the sprinkles onto our faces and the dew collecting on my brow gives the sights a sparkle.

As I pour the beer for us, the glittering gold beverage enters the glass and releases a floral perfume into the surroundings. Mixed with the rain, I get the sudden impression of drinking beer in the shower. The cleansing sensation is a stark contrast to the exhausting atmosphere of our previous locale. The gentle malt character brings a sweetness that is finished with a lightly bitter afterthought. Reminding me of the enjoyment of the evening but the reality of its impending end. The last train was about to arrive. We finish our beers then sadly say our goodbyes as the scene comes to a close.

No matter what match you are making for beer, the decision will need to consider the surrounding sights and sounds. When you’ve had countless moments with beer its interesting to see which ones stick with you. This moment has been imprinted in my mind as a result of more than just an appreciation for good conversation and company (I’ve had plenty of both). But rather, it has impressed upon me the importance of our surroundings and its influence on our tastes. From the energetic greeting of two old friends to the uncomfortable calm before their bitter-sweet farewell, two beers were able to describe an entire evening and every mood. That is truly rare and something to always seek when pairing beer.

Pairing a Pomegranate Wheat

As I made my way around town blending work with relaxation I decided to grab lunch at Santa Barbara Brewing Company (SBBC). Desiring something fruity, sweet, and sour, to compete with the heat of the sunny day, I chose their Chicken Teriyaki Pineapple Sandwich & garlic fries to pair with their Pomegranate Wheat. Of course I couldn’t forget the jalapenos, & once the sandwich was piled high with red onions & chiles the meal was ready to go.
The Beer
The Pomegranate Wheat is a hazy golden brew with an orange-red hue. The malts are bready and have a mild sweetness. Fruity flavors of citrus & pomegranates dominate with the latter providing a tart edge. The high carbonation and sour sensation of the beer have a rinsing quality to any meal and will allow it to work with a wide variety of dishes.
The “clean flesh” flavor from a white meat like chicken will support the softness of a wheat beer without overpowering it. The pineapple and teriyaki provide a wide spectrum of flavors including sweetness, acidity, & saltiness. With its tart fruity characteristic, SBBC’s Pomegranate Wheat brings similar attributes to the plate and overall enhances the tropical fruit quality of the dish. Wheat beers’ high carbonation can cut the richness of the fries and subside the spiciness of the jalapenos. The squishy center of a french fry compliments the creamy mouthfeel of the wheat malts and brings out a pulp fruit quality in the beer. Similarly, the bun emphasizes the breadiness of the wheat malts. Overall
the pairing provides satisfying exotic fruit flavors that compliment the savory qualities from the sandwich & fries.
The Brewery
Located on the bustling street corner of State & Haley, Santa Barbara Brewing Company has been providing locals and tourists with freshly brewed beer since 1995. Within, brick and wood are surrounded by the shine of closely packed fermentors stored on the second floor. Like a child to their tree fort, the brewmaster climbs up & down a metal ladder to reach these shimmering tanks. Serving vessels are lined behind the bar and diners can sit there and order a beer that only needs to move a few feet in order to be served. Large windows in the front let light and sea air rush in while a hallway in the back leads you to a lounge that provides a more sports bar-feel with pool tables and TV’s.

There’s a butterfly in my beer: Morpho Herbal Ale

Morpho Herbal Ale

It is inspiring to watch a butterfly flutter by. They move with the elegance of a scarf flickering on the wind while their wings have the power to redefine color and even create chaos. Yet their delicate existence is contradictory to the bold image they possess. Fortunately there is now an ale that has captured the gripping beauty contained within the petite stature of these winged jewels.

The Story
Morpho Herbal Ale is a collaboration gruit ale brewed by MateVeza and Mill Valley Beerworks. Gruit ales do not contain any hops and therefore are not technically beers—at least not in a classical sense. Historically, Britain used the term “beer” to denote the addition of hops, while “ale” referred to the use
of an herbal mixture as a flavor enhancer and preservative. Sweet gale, yarrow, and wild rosemary were commonly used, however a wide variety of botanicals also found their way into the brew. In the case of Morpho Herbal Ale, yerba mate, hibiscus flowers, and bay leaves are used for flavor. The ale’s bitterness is provided by yerba mate—a naturally caffeinated herb cultivated in South America and served as a tea.
MateVeza specializes in organic brews that are crafted with yerba mate. Although, the founder of MateVeza, Jim Woods, does not just want to make a line of generic organic ales, but rather, he feels that it is important to create new and interesting flavors that offer the benefits of organic beers. It was this
interest in herbal beers and creative flavors that inspired a natural camaraderie between Jim and Justin Catalana of Mill Valley Beerworks. Justin had tried MateVeza’s beers while he was a senior bioengineering student at University of California, San Diego (UCSD). Having worked in a yeast laboratory at UCSD, Justin brews with a variety of yeast strains in addition to experimenting with barrel aging and uncommon herbs at his microbrewery & beer cafe in Mill Valley, CA.

Their common interest in the book, “Sacred and Herbal Healing Beers” (Buhner, Brewers Publications) got them discussing a collaboration beer. The first batch combined Jim’s yerba mate experience with Justin’s bay leaves brewing techniques. But there was something missing, Jim suggested hibiscus flowers to add an exotic tartness, and it was then that the ale was completed. To keep everything organic they had to source the hibiscus flowers from Egypt and the bay leaves from Turkey while the yerba mate is provided by the Argentinian family farm that Jim uses for MateVeza’s other beers. With the recipe completed, they only needed a name to identify the complex array of flavors. Moments before falling asleep, Jim saw the image of a morpho butterfly appear in his mind. He knew then that only the brilliantly blue South American butterfly that feeds off of fermenting fruit could represent their work.
The Flavors

In 3 Words: sour-strawberries & tropical spice
Jim feels that this brew contains the visually striking and magic-like quality of the Morpho butterfly. With a huge hibiscus-lemon aroma accompanied by an enchanting pinkish glow, it certainly does possess a mystical presence in the glass. The initial flavor is reminiscent of strawberry & rhubarb followed by a lemon-pepper note that leaves an herbal warmth in the chest. The mate becomes more present in the aftertaste but provides a gentle bitterness throughout. The layers of flavors quickly evolve in the mind, changing as rapidly as the glimmer of color in a butterfly’s wing.
Food Pairings
The balanced sweet & sour flavor is the driving force behind this brew and gives you plenty of pairing options for food. The acidity can break up fattier meats while the hibiscus and berry-like sweetness can enhance fish and lighter proteins. The tropical-laced tartness makes the ale a natural accompaniment to
Hawaiian-style burgers, Polynesian flavors, and even stands up nicely to fruit dessert—especially a strawberry rhubarb pie. Jim suggests using the herbal-pepper notes of the bay to accent red sauces and work with the natural acidity of tomatoes. For a quick meal, try oven-broiled sweet potato fries seasoned with oregano and topped with red onions, feta, and a spicy barbeque sauce.
Entertainment Pairing
“The Science of Sleep” is directed by the imaginative Michel Gondry who has produced such movies as “Eternal Sunshine on the Spotless Mind” and “Be Kind Rewind”. The story follows Stéphane as he begins a fresh life with a new job and apartment. He becomes enchanted by his neighbor, Stéphanie. Their relationship establishes itself around similar creative minds with a charmingly awkward wooing that ensues. As Stéphane’s artistic mind is challenged with the burden of the surrounding mediocrity, his world becomes a mixture of reality and fantasy—affecting his work and his romance with the neighbor. Both in French & English, “The Science of Sleep” captures Morpho Herbal Ale’s exotic creativity and fantastical flavors. Mixed in moods and tastes, this movie is sweet at moments with sour tones accenting the dream-like imagery. Morpho Herbal Ale was not only named after an image produced in a near-dream-like state, but it was funded by Boston Beer Company’s new microloan program, “Samuel Adams Brewing the American Dream”. Together, this movie and ale are representative of how your dreams can encroach on reality and affect the flavor of life.
Try MateVeza’s Other Offerings
In addition to Morpho Herbal Ale, MateVeza makes a Yerba Mate IPA featuring flavors of mangoes, tangerine peels, and an earthen herbal quality. Their Black Lager is brewed with toasted mate and has a crisp chocolate character with smoked fennel notes. MateVeza retails their beers throughout California, Oregon, Washington, Nevada, and Colorado and can be found at such markets as: Whole Foods, Fred Meyer, BevMo, local co-ops, and many natural food stores.