Do you know what a cicerone is? Until yesterday I didn’t either. I had never even heard the word, but it turns out that a cicerone is like a sommelier for beer. Apparently, it’s super hard to become a cicerone and there’s only four master cicerones in the world and two of them live in the Bay Area. Crazy, right? I learned all of this last night at a beer tasting at Public House.
The staff is incredibly knowledgeable about all things beer and they love to share their wisdom with enthusiasts like myself. Since I know a lot about wine and not very much about beer, I was excited for the experience. Did you know that there’s a category of brews that are referred to as sours? Or that the best way to make beer pair well with a certain dish is to incorporate some of the beer into that dish?
They’ve got an excellently edited beer list that was recently updated for the winter season. Some favorites include the Heretic Tartuffe, a lemony and light beer similar to hefeweizen, Ommegang Duvel Rustica, a golden Belgian ale with lovely bubbles, and Highwater Brewing Campfire Stout, a dark beer with incredible complexity and s’more aromas.
When pairing beer and food, the staff at Public House practices the same technique that they use for wine and food pairings: they taste a bunch of stuff and see what works the best. The most memorable pairings involve a dish that has the beer in it. For example, the beer-braised short ribs and beer-steamed mussels both paired perfectly with the beers that were used in the dish.
As with most things culinary, the more you practice tasting and pairing beer with food, the better you’ll become at it. So taste away! Public House is an ideal place to begin — especially now that the Giants are in the off season and a more sophisticated menu, complete with a variety of entrees, like halibut with chorizo black beans, is being served.