Lucky Peaches: SoCal Brewers Find Inspiration in Masumoto Fruit
Peach beer cocktail
There's no shortage of people who are keen to get their hands on some of Fresno-based farmer David Mas Masumoto's summer peaches. The 80-acre farm is known as being the producer of some of the state's best organic stone fruit, and its output regularly makes appearances on the menu everywhere from Chez Panisse to Los Angeles' Providence.
So when we heard that Public Kitchen in the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel was inviting the Masumoto family down for a five-course meal based around his produce, it seemed like reason enough to celebrate -- but there was more.
Plating a peach course
One year ago several local breweries, including Lost Abbey Brewing and soon-to-launch O.C. brewery Hoparazzi, corralled their efforts to go and pick a huge harvest of fruit from Masumoto's farm and use it to make special peach sour beers, super-funky creations inspired by Belgian fruit lambics.
The dinner was crowded with around 30 people, all of whom had some hand in the process of turning the bushels of sweet fruit into strange, yeasty brews. Beer geeks often tout sour beers as the pinnacle of artisanal brewing -- they're labor-intensive, complex in flavor, and unique from batch to batch.
Over dishes cooked by chef Vartan Abgaryan, which included compressed peach with lardo, seared diver scallops with pickled nectarines, and an addictive curry granola sprinkled on top of peach slices and arugula pureé, food and beer pairings were discussed with an intensity that would put most sommeliers to shame. Matt Biancaniello, who runs the bar next door, created a shiso-infused peach beer cocktail with a flash-frozen peach instead of an ice cube.
Two of the beers featured are commercially available at the Lost Abbey brewery in San Marcos, and another will be a signature release from Hoparazzi when that brewery opens in the next three months. For those looking for a taste of Masumoto fruit, check at Mother's markets and select SoCal farmers markets.
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