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Monday, May 18, 2009

Strange Press Release

I attract a lot of press releases. About half relate to beer, and the balance come from random alcohol producers, food-related products, and some just random stuff. The hallmark of these latter, non-beer pitches (and some of the beer pitches, too) is that they've clearly never read my blog.

Every now and again, I get a weird release like one I got recently, from Estrella Damm, a Barcelona brewery. Here's the first line of the pitch:
Estrella Damm today announced the launch of Estrella Damm INEDIT, a beer specifically created to accompany food. INEDIT was crafted by world-renowned chef Ferran Adrià, Juli Soler, elBulli sommeliers and Estrella Damm, the leading brewer of Barcelona.
Now, I don't write about the pairing of food and beer very often, but I would hope that anyone who spent a few minutes on my blog would understand that I think it pairs very nicely with food--better, in many cases, than wine. So this line not only misunderstands my blog, but apparently misunderstands beer. Not a good start, and things turn south from there:
“INEDIT was developed from the belief that there was a need for a beer that could complement a dining experience," said Ferran Adrià, elBulli Executive Chef. “INEDIT is the fruit of more than a year and a half and 400 trial iterations between the master brewers of Estrella Damm and the team of sommeliers at elBulli.”
Hmmm. Hard to know what to make of a beer company that has just stumbled onto the idea that food can accompany food, that their product does not, and that it took them four hundred batches to get it right. That doesn't mean it will suck. In fact, it sounds tasty:
INEDIT is a unique coupage of barley malt and wheat with spices which provide an intense and complex aroma. It aims to complement food once thought to be a challenge in terms of culinary pairings, including salads, vinegar-based sauces, bitter notes such as asparagus and artichokes, fatty and oily fish, and citrus.

With its delicate carbonation, INEDIT adapts to acidic, sweet and sour flavors. Its appearance is slightly cloudy, and INEDIT has a yeasty sensation with sweet spices, causing a creamy and fresh texture, delicate carbonic long aftertaste, and pleasant memory. The rich and highly adaptable bouquet offers a unique personality with a smooth, yet complex taste.
The release didn't come along with a bottle, but I requested one. After this incredibly bizarre pitch, I'm not sure I expect one. I'll let you know...


  1. Hey Jeff,

    The Inedit is currently available through Columbia Dist. here in town. We tried a sample bottle at a staff tasting a few weeks ago, and the general consensus was "meh." Given the $10/bottle price tag and lackluster reception we decided not to carry it at this point.

    I've noticed the economy starting to hit the higher priced, lesser known expensive beers, and this would fall squarely in that category. The classics like Cantillon, Rochefort, and De Ranke are still selling well in that price range, but people are becoming gun shy about the random $10-15/bottle Italian things that they've never heard of...

  2. "It aims to complement food once thought to be a challenge in terms of culinary pairings".... I love that line.

  3. Oily fish is challenging to pair with? Better not tell all those people who drink Guiness with their fried fish :)

    I have to admit, when I first started drinking beer I bought into pitches like these. In fact I discovered my first Imperial Pilsner through a pitch like this.

  4. The price and the "400 trial iterations" don't surprise me coming from the founder of el Bulli. Adria has brought us nitrogen foam injections on the plate, a rage that will, hopefully, pass in favor of actual food. Agree that there are more than enough examples of beers that work with food, which for many beer producing countries is the point, anyway. Rather than hope for a test bottle, though, I think it would be best to get an invitation to Barcelona for a taste at the source.

  5. A bit of information about this beer being "two" beers blended as one. However, it sounds like packaging over anything else. . . ."bottling in black 750-milliliter wine bottles."

  6. Mark, thanks for the link. I actually received a bottle of this yesterday, so I'll be able to reflect on its character as beer rather than a marketing phenomenon.

  7. Happy drinking and look forward to the review. I believe Chris notes in his comment that at $10/bottle, it seemed a bit of a risk. However, a 750 ml bottle at $10 does not seem out of the range, especially if one is choosing it for a meal vs. a bottle of wine. Besides, that probably puts it somewhere in the range of the Belgian beers I've seen.