The first one I tried is Duenna. It’s beautifully orange in color and has a good layer of head formed on top. It’s on a smooth side, yet its hoppy finish was quite distinctive. Paired with a plate full of mushroom barley risotto made with truffle oil and paste, Duenna served as a refreshing palate-pleaser. While its ABV (6.5 percent) was the highest among the selection, it was rather velvety and complimenting for the whole dish, leading me to finish both my plate and drink.
There were 4 wine glasses set up on the table. I thought, “Hmm, for a beer tasting?” Soon, the host, Pierre Cohen-Aknine from the beverage importer Kavod, mentioned with a smile: “For the French people, what’s most important about a meal is the quality of time spent with others. So, don’t worry about those glasses; just have fun and enjoy the night.” Growing up in France, Cohen-Aknine was naturally a lot more used to wine. But as he immersed himself in the vast and complex world of beers, he dreamt of bringing a culture for beer comparable to that of wine—a lot of which, for him, is about ‘sharing’ and ‘pairing.’ At the event hosted at Park Hyatt’s Cornerstone, 4 types of pasta and risotto dishes were being prepared for each of the beer—which was quite unusual but certainly exciting.
One of the importer’s choices was Barley Brewery. Founded in Italy by Nicola Perra and Isidoro Mascia, it uses a variety of fruits and herbs sourced from the island of Sardinia to create delicate and complex flavors. One of its distinctive ingredients is sapa, a flavor-enhancer made with Cannonau grapes cultivated in Sardinia. All of Barley Brewery’s beers are non-pasteurized and are fermented twice without being filtered. As I tried to imagine the aromas and flavors created by the unique method, beers—bottled in what seem to be wine bottles—arrived and the 4 glasses started being filled up.