Lost Abbey Releases Veritas 010 At 5th Annual Barrel Night
Dedicated Port Brewing/Lost Abbey fans eagerly waited in line on this particularly cold autumn night to claim their bottles of the newly released Veritas 010. As a sold out crowd came out in record numbers after what was a ticketing error on the Lost Abbey website, the Abbey crew rose to the occassion and accommodated everyone as best as they could. For the uninitiated, the release of the new Veritas marks a special moment in a beer geek’s collectible career; making this particular event one of the hottest tickets of the year.
After redeeming tickets and purchasing one extra bottle per person, guests were welcomed into Lost Abbey’s full-functioning brewery and tasting room. Amidst their cozy tasting bar, mashing tanks, and barrel rooms, a little under 300 fortunate souls were seated at long communal banquet tables as six tasty courses made their way out alongside carefully curated pairings. Unlike previous years, Lost Abbey decided to change the barrel night format with a full-service dining experience. Gone are the days of buffet lines and having to stand and find one’s place. Instead, each course was brought out with ample time to taste, talk, and taste again. (See below for the complete menu)
Mingling was limited at this event due to the seating arrangements and tight quarters. However, I was glad to see many familiar faces including fellow Los Angelenos who had made the special trip down to San Diego County for SD Beer Week festivities. In my opinion, this new seating arrangement worked out fairly well. Staggered courses and beers were more easily maintained and guests were able to sit and get to know people they otherwise would have probably never met. In a crowded room, the overall vibe of the evening was jolly; community and a common love of good food and good brews at its best. The Lost Abbey crew spoke minimally in the beginning of the meal, introducing the concepts and allowing the rest of the night to proceed in a very organic and family-style environment.
Stand-outs for the evening included the steamed Carlsbad Aquafarm mussels paired with Project X; a wonderful single-barrel offering from their spontaneous fermentation program that will eventually intergrate into the 2012 Duck Duck Gooze. The mussels were steamed in Avant Garde with a touch of cream, while the Project X provided a tartness and funk that complimented the delicate and meaty shellfish. The third course was a pairing of shitake mushroom soup and Cuvee de Tomme (barrel 002). This pairing was warm, comforting, and was not the least bit overwhelming on the salty end. Lost Abbey sorted through multiple barrels in their cuvee program and selected this particular barrel for its pronounced savory notes, which was harmonious next to an umami-rich Asian-inspired soup.
The star beer for the evening for most people was getting a taste of Veritas 010, which was paired with a simple salad tossed in an apricot vinaigrette. On the pairing front, I could have used a touch of cream or something to cut through the vinegar in the salad, so that I could maximize my Veritas experience (there was very little feta). However, Veritas 010 was able to stand on its own. Brilliantly golden orange in color, this peach sour marks the return of Lost Abbey to stone fruits (as popularized by the mythical creature Yellow Bus). A surprisingly balanced sour with well-rounded tartness and sugars; subtle notes of wood and a prominent peach and lemon rind profile. Mouthfeel was crisp with light sweetness dominating the finish. There was some sulphur on the nose that dissipated after a few minutes and I’m thinking a few months in the bottle would make this beer all the more better.
The main attraction for me this evening was the main course. I’d like to call this pairing a wine-drinker’s dream. Moist and tender porchetta (one of my favorite Italian dishes) on a bed of sweet potato mash with a roasted potato trio, carrots, and squash blossoms. A rich and flavorful dish matched up with an equally lush beer that’s been aged in French oak wine barrels. This barrel selection of Gift of the Magi (barrel 187) was nothing like the other versions of this beer that I have ever had. Aged in oak since August 2008, this version was more sophisticated, nuanced, and had moments of brightness before succumbing to a yielding tannic finish.
Unfortunately, due to the fact that there were more guests than expected, our tables weren’t able to try the dessert course which was Gina’s caramel-nutty ice cream paired with two different barrels of Serpent’s Stout (934 and 935). However, we did get to try both beers and even more bottles were brought out to compensate including some fan favorites like Older Viscosity, Judgement Day, Witch’s Wit, and Inferno. At this point, I think everyone was either too full or intoxicated to even shed a complaint as this event, despite a few hurdles—thus marking this event, quite a success indeed. Mark your calendars for next year, as time and time again, this is definitely one of the best events to look forward to.