April 17, 2007
Roll Out the Barrels

For a dining column that is to be in The Bee's Ticket+ this Sunday, I surveyed five chefs to find out what's new on their menus, where they have been eating lately, and so forth. In reply to a question about what beverage is selling briskly these days, two of the five said beer, a surprise to me, given the proliferation of wine bars and the fact that we aren't yet at the hot days of summer, when beer is most welcome.

Another sign that beer is having a renaissance is that Restaurant 55 Degrees on Capitol Mall, inspired in large part by wine (55 degrees is its ideal storage temperature), has launched a series of Wednesday evening beer tastings. Last week's debut tasting included a hard cider, a brown ale and a chocolate stout, all from England. The theme for this Wednesday's tasting is saison-style beers, saisons being complex and sturdy farmhouse ales traditionally brewed in the winter for consuming during the summer, says Kassidy Harris, the restaurant's wine and beer director. All three saisons are from Belgium. The cost to taste the three is $10, with the tasting to be from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Despite its new beer program, Restaurant 55 Degrees isn't abandoning wine. Thursday nights, the restaurant also is staging wine tastings. This week's theme is Rhone-style wines from California and France. The cost to taste three is $12. Same time and same place - 555 Capitol Mall.

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